Flooring Sales Tips: More Closes that Work
There is a misconception among many store owners and salespeople that those who close effectively have some mystical ability to make sales. Research shows otherwise. The best salespeople recognize that closing is a guided series of little sales that the customer helps direct, thus keeping your prospect in a comfort zone. We accomplish this one step at a time by getting feedback from the customer allowing both the salesperson and the customer to navigate toward a decision to buy. Still, sometimes it takes something extra to close a deal. Here are some more closes that work
The Measuring Service Close
This is easily my most utilized and effective close. Measuring services can be an invaluable asset to your company and an important foundation for closing a sale. A measure is simply asking the customer to make a minor decision, which will eventually carry the major decision.
Measuring services provide scaled diagrams correctly measured with seam locations, the type and condition of the subfloor and any needed floor preparation. Good measuring services also note excessive furniture, and appliances including unusual ones. Even the light direction (for better seaming) is indicated—all signed off by the customer. A good independent measurer may also clarify any unusual customer habits or unforeseen practices (i.e. wheelchairs.). Independent measurers save your company costly estimating errors especially when inexperienced salespeople are involved. Trained measuring services are your “eyes” on the job site.
Once a customer agrees to a measure, move quickly and get the prospect out of the market. “Let’s set it up right now” is a good reply. Begin by getting all pertinent information on your measurement sheet—name, the address, a convenient time to measure, rooms to measure, type of product, etc.
Next, saved for the end, comes the careful phraseology, “Although we do not have a charge for measuring, we require a small deposit before measuring; all I need from you right now is a partial deposit of $20.00—completely refundable to the balance. If that is agreeable to you, we can move forward and have our independent, professional measurer out to your home tomorrow,” or whatever time has been established as convenient. Brief customer silence may meet this statement because you are asking for a financial commitment though small in nature. Say nothing more; let your customer muddle over your proposal and be the first one to speak. This is a pivotal moment for everyone.
If you have handled all other parts of the sale well, rarely does she refuse to give this small deposit, and if she does, it is your opportunity to discover her reason for not doing so. Remember, if you still see a strong sales potential, you can always measure yourself at no cost.
Asking for $20.00 covers a sizable portion of the measuring expense, and you now have a degree of financial commitment from the customer. Furthermore, it is not such a great deal of money that she cannot walk away from the order if she feels the need to, but it never ceases to amaze me how strongly customers will wish to hold on to $20.00 and give you the final order.
The Interior Designer Close
Most of my customers do not enter my store with architects or interior design experts; if they had these experts, they probably would not be in my store. Many prospects desperately need design help, which brings me to the next close along with an invaluable service to your customer.
Commonly, interior designers work as independent contractors. Building a portfolio and client base can be challenging for a beginning designer. As independent contractors, interior designers are paid handsomely via retainers to go to the home, create expert design services, enhance interior spaces, create renderings and rescue and retrieve revised colors.
A professional flooring salesperson should develop a working knowledge of design and stay abreast of current trends and colors. Still, few flooring salespeople are trained well enough to fabulously pull off these college educated design services. I confess that my degree in marketing and accounting has not prepared me to be a professional interior designer.
Occasionally, customers may need help from a member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) when they are bewildered by colors, styles and other design elements. Bewildered customers will keep shopping until they feel un-bewildered. To remedy this, flooring stores should consider retaining an independent interior designer with a reciprocal arrangement whereby the salesperson sends referrals and the designer in return helps needy customers.
When I see that my customer needs design services yet has not considered them, I offer a one-call initial design service with an ASID designer. The salesperson receives the normal commission on the floor covering sale and the designer makes a prearranged basic design fee from the customer. From there, added design services may be arranged based on the needs of the customer.
As another benefit to this arrangement, the designer may enter the store, preferably by appointment, with their own clientele. With a reciprocal arrangement between the store and designer, the designer uses the store showroom and manufacturing accounts with a built-in profit margin.
In these cases, it is important to maintain an acceptable salesperson commission to provide compensation for setting up measurements, installation and other necessary store functions. These designers may prefer to handle pricing themselves to generate greater revenue for themselves. This close creates upscale business that store owners and salespeople may ordinarily never see.
I have often witnessed the rapport between my customer and the designer develop to the point that the customer refuses to make a design move without a discussion with the interior designer.
Closing techniques help bring all the loose ends of the buying process together to create an order. In the next issue, other closing techniques will be presented that will further help cement an order without being too high-pressure.
Good selling to you.