January 7/14, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 16
By Steven Feldman
Let me begin this first column of 2019 by wishing our readers a Happy New Year from all of us at Floor Covering News. Here’s hoping 2019 brings you everything you wish for yourselves both professionally and personally.
As I’ve done the past few years, I thought it would be appropriate to use this first column of 2019 to reprint a portion of something that lands in my email every year from Pami Bhullar, retail trainer extraordinaire from Invista. Bhullar continues his tradition of creating his New Year’s resolutions for flooring professionals. He believes if retailers can implement at least three of the following 10 objectives, they will see improved results. The foundation of this year’s resolutions is the belief the industry will continue to shrink due to the longevity of the hard surface replacement cycle and many other factors. It may be harder for the smaller retailers to strive without alignments. Therefore, the success of retailers may depend on the ability to sell better flooring.
Without further ado…
- Vision 2020: Ask yourself where you want to be at 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 31, 2020. Vision 2020 means having a clear vision. Set your goals for the end of 2020 and plan how much you want to accomplish in 2019. This is a great way to inspire your team. You can make your projections monthly or quarterly.
- Be organized: Everyone tells you to be organized but very seldom does someone shows you how. Here is a simple process: Create an electronic list of your daily tasks (using a tool such as Microsoft Outlook, Word or PowerPoint). We are wired to do the easy things—we can do more and feel good. Look for the difficult ones that create the most value for you, your company, your customers and for society, and do those first. Take care of the big rocks first; the smaller ones will find their place.
- Upgrade three of your favorite products to newer and better ones: Most of us have our favorite products and gravitate toward those. If so, find new favorites that are better and get to know their benefits for customers. Practice your pitch and be comfortable with it.
- Avoid five big mistakes: There are five mistakes many sales pros make: No. 1, not making a systematic presentation with a plan; No 2, not asking for permission to ask questions; No. 3, not telling your story detailing your competitive advantage; No. 4, taking the customer to product too quickly without understanding her needs, wants and values; and No. 5, getting into the price discussion too prematurely.
- Ask for money the right way: Most salespeople have a hard time asking for money or a deposit. I have heard so many times, “We require a 50% deposit.” Require is a very harsh word. I recommend you talk about all the benefits you have offered and then say, “It comes to $$$$. How would you like to take care (not pay) of it today?” You may be surprised by the outcome.
- Partner with manufacturer reps: Your mill and fiber reps are a great source of knowledge. The better the relationships, the higher the odds for success. Get to know them, and ask questions to gain confidence.
- Impossible vs. I’m possible: A very small effort changes something from impossible to I’m possible. Nelson Mandela once said, “Everything seems impossible until it’s done.” Figure out different ways of doing it instead of just thinking it can’t be done. You get results when you focus.
- Be the change: We all like others to change, which is hard. Why don’t you bring the change in you? The world is changed by your actions and examples, not your opinions. Now change one thing to be a better you in 2019.
- Try, try again: We have heard throughout history that winners keep trying until they succeed. Perseverance prevails. Remember if you “FAIL” it is First Attempt In Learning; if you get to an “END” it is Effort Never Dies and if you get a “NO” it means Next Opportunity.
- Live a principled life: Honesty, integrity and hard work should be the hallmarks of one’s life. We can always leave more than what we got so this planet becomes better every day. Worry not whose favor the outcome is if you work on your principle. Worry not who gets the credit. The world will know one day all your contributions.