Resolutions to build success
What better time to set new goals than when the calendar changes? Practice these 12 tactics to make 2017 your best year yet:
BY GERRY MORRIS
Why do we make New Year’s resolutions? It seems we are endowed with a desire to improve our lives. It’s as simple as that. A new year offers an arbitrary opportunity to turn over a new leaf. It’s arbitrary because one can do it at any time, but there’s something about a calendar change that motivates us to discard the old and embrace the new. Having hope—and looking forward to an improved life—compels us to make the commitments we need to achieve new goals.
The most common reason why people fail to follow through with their New Year’s resolutions is setting unrealistic goals, not keeping track of their progress and/or forgetting about them. About one in 10 people make too many resolutions to keep.
Still, according to experts, people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who have goals but don’t explicitly make resolutions.
For mattress retail sales associates, we likely can agree on one obvious resolution: to increase sales. But just stating that as a goal will not produce significant improvement.
Resolutions that are vague, broad or nebulous are the most likely ones not to be achieved. The more specific the better, and the more accurately they can be quantified the better, as well. One must change behaviors and attitudes, as well as increase knowledge and skills, to achieve tangible success.
That’s what this column will offer. It provides 12 specific suggestions, one for each month of the year and all with the potential to make quick and substantial improvement not only in sales volume but also in increased average tickets, reduction in return rate, overall customer satisfaction and higher income.
Pick one each month and focus on it each day. That way, you will assimilate it, and it will become a habit. I recommend beginning with the first four in order—sleep on a quality mattress, track your sales, keep a journal and relearn product knowledge—and then select the remaining suggestions in whatever order you prefer.
1. Improve your own sleep.
If you’re not already sleeping on a quality mattress, plan to buy a new bed as soon as possible. Using and believing in the products you sell is the single best selling tool of all. Not only will you feel and perform better because you’re getting more restorative sleep, but you also will be able to speak from experience to your shoppers by telling them how a new mattress has changed your life and you desire the same for them.
2. Track your sales.
Keep a daily record of number of ups, (shoppers you help), number of sales you close, number of sets you sell and the total dollars sold per day. From that, you can figure your closing rate (sales made divided by number of shoppers) and the average ticket price (dollars divided by sets). By doing this, your sales will increase. It’s human nature: When people document their performance, they find ways to improve on it.
Similar to tracking sales, keeping a journal helps bring awareness to new ideas that can inspire creativity and growth. Make a habit of recording your successes and failures when interacting with shoppers. Build on the things you do well and learn how to overcome customer objections. Write down questions to ask other retail sales associates, management or manufacturer’s representatives. Brainstorm for ideas to capture, assimilate and share.
4. Relearn product information.
Spend a few minutes each day lying on floor models and study the specifications to help associate the construction with the feel of each. Work your way around the floor, taking as much time as you need to objectively get the feel of the models with the goal of being able to pitch any one of them at any given time. Don’t get into the habit of showing and selling the same models because you’re good at doing so. That’s not fair to the shopper.
5. Prepare daily.
Look your best. Fuel and hydrate with healthy choices to maximize your energy. Get to work early enough to check floor samples, pricing, inventory, sales and promotions. Take a few minutes to mentally prepare and be ready, willing and able to focus your full attention on every customer.
6. Keep informed.
Do what shoppers do: Spend time looking at sites such as GoodBed.com to learn about available brands, research your competition to better equip yourself to deal with shoppers and learn about consumer likes and dislikes. This should be a must for all RSAs.
7. Keep things tidy.
Remember the adage, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” In other words, always keep your store clean and don’t leave housekeeping to others. Look at yourself, your products and your store through the eyes of a shopper seeing them for the first time. Some “just lookers” see things they don’t like and then go to another store.
8. Improve your attitude.
Try imagining that every customer you talk to will choose to buy a top-quality set from you. Of course, you can’t win them all, but imagine how differently your demeanor, attitude and enthusiasm would be with someone you knew was going to buy, as opposed to someone who wasn’t. Which would be more likely to produce good results? Imagine everyone you talk to may never have slept as well as she could on a quality mattress. You can change that for her.
9. Engage, equip and empower your shoppers.
Instead of making a sales presentation, engage your customers in a goal-oriented conversation that empowers and equips them with the knowledge to choose to invest in a top-quality set for their own benefit. Talk with people rather than to shoppers.
10. Close the sale.
While imagining that all shoppers are going to buy from you, you must close the sale for that to happen. It’s unfair to the shopper, as well as yourself and your store, not to try to close the sale. It’s all a waste of time, except for the competitor that your shopper surely will buy from. Your odds of closing will be greatly increased by engaging the shopper as described above.
11. Always recommend add-ons—but don’t call them that.
Encourage your customers to protect their investment and warranty, as well as maximize their enjoyment and the longevity of their product, by purchasing pillows and protectors. Use a positive approach: “Protectors help keep your mattress clean, fresh and sanitary.” And don’t forget to suggest upgraded frames. Even better, recommend they invest in adjustable bases. This is the fastest-growing trend in the industry—one that can tremendously increase your income, as well.
12. Follow up.
Make sure your customers are happy by following up to ensure they received their new products in good order. Remind them of the adjustment period for a new mattress. Ask for referrals, future needs and endorsements. Word can spread quickly on social media. Make sure they mention you—in a good way!
These are great suggestions, but, of course, there are many others. Create your own and don’t stop there. Maybe another productive resolution would be to learn and use knowledge and skills every month from now on. By consequence, your sales would continue to increase.
Happy New Year! Sleep well and help others do the same!
Gerry Morris is an author, consultant and training coach with more than 20 years of experience in the mattress industry. To learn more about him and to buy his books, including the new “Mattress Matters,” visit SellMoreBeds.com. Morris’ Inner Spring training company has a strategic partnership with The Furniture Training Co. to offer a premium online training course, “Sell More Mattresses with Gerry Morris.” For more information, check FurnitureTrainingCompany.com.