26 May 2024, 15:55
By Adam Hankinson Feb 22, 2024

Taking the sales process one step at a time

It takes most consumers a good deal of thought before they buy a big-ticket item like furniture – and if you can guide them through that decisionmaking process, you’re much more likely to secure the sale, explains  industry training specialist, Furniture Sales Solutions’ Adam Hankinson …

Buying furniture, or any big-ticket item, is a considered purchase. This means that there isn’t an immediate transactional decision to buy, but that the process involves some type of thought process, as you ‘tick’ various things off in your mind – such as wants, needs, essentials, affordability, overall cost, value, etc.

Let’s imagine we’re thinking about a new sofa. Some of the quyalifying questions we might ask ourselves before we purchase are:

• Is it leather/pleather or fabric? 

• What combination do we want?

• What combination will work in the room?

• Corner or sofas?

• High back or low back?

• Scatter back or standard?

• What colour?

• How practical, with the kids and pets?

• When do we need it?

• How urgently do we need it?

• Do we trust the retailer?

• What are the guarantees?

• How will they get it into my home?

• Is it good quality?

• Will it stand up to our family usage?

• Will it look fantastic?

• Will it have the ‘wow’ factor?

• How long will it last?

• What size will fit in the room?

Most customers haven’t got these questions written down, and they don’t come in a linear list. They come out as questions if we get into a conversation with the customer – or may not come out at all if we don’t engage with the customer or ask them the right questions.

The art of selling – the right approach to our customer – is to ask them good questions before we download any product knowledge, and ensure that our solutions (or potential solutions) for consideration match the answers they’ve given us.

After asking great questions, we should always be narrowing or funnelling the customer options effectively, to help them see things more clearly.

If we do this one step at a time, the approach might look something like this:

• “Is it leather or fabric you’re thinking of?”

• “Definitely fabric.”

• “OK, great. And what combination are you thinking?”

• “Probably a three-seater and a cuddler chair.”

• “OK, great …”

And you then carry on narrowing down the wants, needs and must-haves.

By doing this, we will make it easier for the customer to make small decisions one at a time, that lead them to make the final decision to go ahead and order – they’ve ticked all their boxes, so they now feel confident and comfortable to proceed with the purchase. Simple!

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