Salesmanship: Selling in a recession

Home Columns Salesmanship: Selling in a recession

by Warren Tyler

“We refuse to participate in the recession” is a common refrain in advertising nowadays. While I appreciate the attitude, you have to recognize that we are indeed operating in a strange and harsh economic environment. More and more rules are regulating our personal and business lives. Lines are painted on the street to tell us exactly where to drive as though we couldn’t figure it out. More and more people are relying on the government to tell us how to live our lives.

Believing the hype

Those on the East Coast just endured the greatest coverage of a rainstorm in history. People were urged to evacuate in the name of “safety,” like we couldn’t figure this out? Newscasters were trying desperately to make this out as something it wasn’t. Reporters were assuming awkward stances outdoors while civilians were strolling comfortably in the background. TV stations were begging people to send them photographs of a branch or leaf that fell to the ground to no avail. If it weren’t so pathetic it would be laughable.

When we were children, our parents would drive us to the beach to witness the storm. Now we quiver in terror.

Why do I get into this? Because many of our customers actually believe that anything the government does is good and anything private business does is bad. So forget the fact the public (as well as corporations) are terrified to spend any money, we are almost to the point that people won’t buy unless they get an OK from “Big Brother.”

How to get a buyer

The good news is that 90% of the people are working and need home furnishings, but when they come into your store they are more cautious than ever before. You must allay their fears before they will make a buying decision. You have to win their trust.

How do you do this? People trust people they like. The art of being liked is speaking to them about their issues and interests, never yours. I have preached this for years, but today it is more important than ever. Intimacy is the key: More time and effort has to be devoted to this than all other steps of the sales process combined.

Customers see ads from Empire at 70% off (What the heck is its regular price?) and free installs from Lowe’s and Home Depot.

If you explain why your regular prices are lower than Empire’s and “free” at the boxes can cost hundreds of dollars, if they don’t like you they won’t listen. However, if they do like you and you can assure them that your bottom line price when you leave the house will be less, they will at least give you a chance to measure.

Be the professional

The characteristics of a professional are more true and useful now than ever:

Sincerity. People must perceive you are trying to help them, not sell them.

Enthusiasm. You know you will treat them right and give them the best products for the best price and are excited about doing it.

Self-esteem. You love yourself enough to be able to put others first. Heed these principles and sell more. Remember the “new sell” is “no-sell.”

Warren Tyler has 52 years of retail flooring experience. He is one of the industry’s most sought after speakers, and his training materials are among the most requested. Call 804.384.7588 or email

Must Read

Shaw Contract launches carbon neutral carpet tile

Cartersville, Ga.—Shaw Contract launched New Path, its first carbon neutral carpet tile collection constructed on the company's StrataWorx backing. Utilizing EcoSolution Q100 fiber technology...

How to combat credit card fees

It’s no secret that in recent years credit card fees have been nipping at floor covering retailers’ profit margins. According to the Merchants Payments...

Shaw Industries, Encina announce carpet recycling partnership

The Woodlands, Texas—Encina Development Group, a producer of ISCC+ circular chemicals from end-of-life plastics, has announced a new recycling partnership with Shaw Industries Group....

What’s new with moldings, accessories, sundries

As flooring professionals know all too well, a job isn’t complete until the proper finishing touches—moldings, accessories, sundries—have been installed. With so much importance...

Pergo Extreme expands product offering

Calhoun, Ga.—Pergo Extreme is continuing to expand its portfolio with 16 new introductions and advancing its existing waterproof warranty by adding WetProtect technology to...

How some flooring dealers make ecommerce work

The idea of ecommerce is still in its infancy within the world of flooring. While the concept has found success within some home improvement-related...
Some text some message..