18 May 2024, 21:43
By Adam Hankinson May 03, 2024

The balancing act of management selling

The furniture store manager is often the person best equipped to make the sale – but at what cost? In this month’s article, industry training specialist Adam Hankinson (Furniture Sales Solutions) looks at the pros and cons of managers getting ‘hands-on’ with the shopfloor opportunities …

In the busy and ever-changing world of retail leadership, managers of furniture stores often find themselves at the intersection of management and salesmanship. Their roles encompass a myriad of responsibilities, from overseeing operations to managing staff and ensuring customer satisfaction, while still delivering high performance.

It’s also common practice in many furniture stores for managers to take on the role of selling directly to customers. While this approach has its advantages, it comes with its own set of challenges.

Let’s explore the pros and cons of managers of furniture stores selling …

Pros

1. In-depth product knowledge


One of the primary benefits of having managers engage directly in sales is their in-depth knowledge of the products. Managers are often well-versed in the features, materials and benefits of the furniture they sell. This expertise enables them to provide customers with detailed information and recommendations, helping to guide their purchasing decisions effectively.

2. Authority and decision-making


As managers, they possess the authority to make decisions on behalf of the store. This includes providing discounts, negotiating prices, and offering special deals to customers. Having the power to make such decisions can streamline the sales process and make it easier to close deals.

3. Building customer relationships


Managers who are actively involved in sales have the opportunity to build strong relationships with customers. By taking the time to understand their needs and preferences, managers can create a personalised shopping experience that fosters loyalty and repeat business. Building rapport with customers can also lead to positive word-of-mouth referrals, further enhancing the store’s reputation.

4. Being excellent at selling


Many managers have been promoted through the ranks and are very skilled in selling. With the added authority that the customer can feel, they can often ‘sell’ better to customers than some of their colleagues. Indeed, if they didn’t engage with that particular customer, the store might not even get the order! Many managers lose this ability once they’ve been promoted.

5. Meeting sales targets


Direct involvement in sales allows managers to closely monitor and track sales performance. They can set ambitious sales targets and work actively towards achieving them. By leading by example, managers can motivate their sales team and instil a culture of excellence and achievement within the store.

Cons


1. Time management challenges


Balancing managerial duties with selling responsibilities can be a daunting task. Managers often find themselves pulled in multiple directions, juggling customer inquiries, staff training, inventory management and administrative tasks. This can lead to time management challenges, as managers struggle to prioritise their responsibilities effectively.

2. Limited focus


Spending too much time on sales can detract from other essential managerial responsibilities. Managers may find themselves neglecting tasks such as staff training, performance evaluations, and strategic planning. This lack of focus can have long-term implications for the store’s success and profitability.

3. Conflict of interest


There is a potential for a conflict of interest when managers are directly involved in sales. They may prioritise their personal sales goals or commission earnings over the store’s overall success. This can lead to tensions within the team, as staff members may feel that their manager is more concerned with their financial gain than the wellbeing of the store.

4. Risk of burnout


Juggling multiple roles can take a toll on managers’ mental and physical wellbeing. The constant pressure to meet sales targets, coupled with the demands of managerial duties, can lead to burnout over time. Burnout can adversely affect performance, morale, and job satisfaction, ultimately impacting the store’s bottom line.

In conclusion, while there are clear benefits to having managers of furniture stores actively engage in sales, it’s essential to recognise and address the challenges associated with this approach.

Finding the right balance between managerial responsibilities and selling duties is key to ensuring the long-term success and sustainability of the store. By effectively leveraging their expertise, authority, and customer relationships, managers can drive sales and create a thriving retail environment.


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