Lessons learned: Honoring the shopper’s ‘home-field’ advantage

January 24, 2018

January 8/15, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 15

By Tom Jennings

 

When training our sales staffs’ desirable behavior, we seem to place virtually all of our emphasis on the proper ways to conduct ourselves while in our showrooms. This is both understandable and necessary since this is typically where most first impressions are formed. However, it seems the majority of managers spend very little time coaching winning behavior at the place where a great number of the sales are consummated—in the customer’s home. While some may perceive that selling in-home is much the same as in our stores, this is not the case at all.

I have found most of the rules change when we are the guest and the customer has the “home court advantage.” Well-trained salespeople realize there needs to be focus placed on everything from initially approaching a customer’s door to making an impressive exit. A customer will respond very differently sitting at her dining room table than she will sitting at the design table in your store.

A common trait all successful in-home salespeople have is they arrive prepared. Before they approach the customer’s door, they always make sure they are giving themselves every opportunity to succeed. They check their grooming and freshen their breath. They are dressed respectfully and professionally. They turn off their phones to focus solely on the task at hand. They carry sufficient samples in their vehicle to make a quality presentation. They arrive with the correct tools and supplies to help gather information. They always have an ample supply of sales agreements, collateral materials, etc. They do so knowing they cannot just go to their desks to retrieve simple items like they can do in the store.

Most importantly, they examine their attitude. Remember: Your customer

doesn’t care how your day has been going so far—she’s just concerned about the next few minutes. They recognize that she’s paying their wages today. They focus on her, not the samples.

In short, they prepare to be successful. Small details, yes, but by no means are they insignificant details. Pros know any small detail that slows down the flow of the sales process will always work against them. Remember: One of the measurements by which the customer is judging you is how important you are making her feel. Being properly prepared shows her this appointment is important to you and conveys respect.

It is important to remember you are in the customer’s home to not only examine the conditions in which the flooring will be installed, but more importantly to learn about who will be using these products. Take time to meet the family dog. Learn more about the children and their activities. Ask about the pictures of the grandchildren hanging on the wall. How old are they now? Do you get to see them often?

While this may seem to be a waste of time to some, I feel there can be no better use of the first few minutes in a customer’s home. Don’t forget the customer buys based on emotion first, then she justifies the purchase using logic. Remember there is only one opinion that matters here, and it’s not yours. Only when you take the time to learn these emotional hot buttons can you sell the customer what she really wants as opposed to just what she needs.

 

Tom Jennings is vice president of professional development for the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA). Jennings, a retail sales training guru, has served in various capacities within the WFCA.

Share

Related Articles

Floor Covering News

Press Release

Swiff-Train names Shane Calloway president, CEO

Houston, Texas – Swiff-Train has promoted Shane Calloway to the position of president and CEO, effective May 21. In his new capacity, Calloway will assume responsibilities of all key functions

Read More

NTCA names winners of Five Star Contractor Project of the Year

Atlanta—The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) named the winners of its sixth annual NTCA Five Star Contractor Project of the Year Awards at Coverings 2018 here.  NTCA’s Five Star Contractor

Read More

Crossville names Shelby Ferriter as Common Thread for the Cure contest winner

Crossville, Tenn.— Crossville Inc. has named Shelby Ferriter as creator of the winning design for the company’s biennial Common Thread for the Cure scarf design contest. Ferriter’s scarf concept, one

Read More