We’re halfway through the summer and smack in the middle of what people in baseball call the dog days of summer. Except for a few sectors of the industry, summer is generally a slow time, especially for the residential side, as most consumers are too busy taking vacations, going to the beach, attending little league games and so on, to think about redecorating their homes.
Just because business might be slow this time of the year doesn’t mean you should sit there twiddling your thumbs. Rather, this is the perfect time for owners and managers to take stock of their stores and staff so everything and everyone is better prepared for the traditional fall selling season and beyond.
Granted this is something management should be doing on a daily basis but when times get busy it is easy to push certain things to the back burner. Now is the perfect time to step back—all the way back—and take a fresh look at your store, from the parking lot to the showroom to the warehouse to the way your salespeople look, including their desks, and, even your restrooms, something consumers place a high value on when it comes to the places they shop.
Put simply, this is the time of year when you should take stock, not of your inventory, but of the overall store and how it looks and functions.
In fact, you are best to ask a couple of family members or friends to stop by for a few minutes and let them give you their assessment of the store in terms of how it looks—from the time they drive up to when they first walk in—and how it “feels,” meaning does the store convey a professional atmosphere, a place where a mother with child can feel comfortable in, a place that appeals to today’s younger generation of shoppers, etc. It goes without saying, the people you ask to visit the store should be ones you know will give you an honest opinion and not sugarcoat things.
Without realizing it, it may be time for a makeover—and it doesn’t have to be the entire store. You may need a few of today’s more modern displays, or it may be time to put some of the newer products on the showroom floor to replace yesterday’s designs.
Beyond the store’s image, this is also the time to assess your personnel, from the salespeople on the front lines to those answering the phones to the people going to your customers’ homes to measure or install. Do they look professional? Do they act professional? Are they in need of training?
Truth is, in this industry and the constant change of products and technology, there is always room for someone to learn more about their craft. And while there are training sessions held throughout the year, and especially at the industry’s major trade shows and conventions, now, when times are slow, there should be no excuse to take advantage of the numerous educational and training courses available across the country.
Yes, the dog days of summer can drag for what seems an eternity but you can be proactive and, before you know it, the leaves will be changing and the fall selling season will have you running around helping customers once again.