Nick Williams, sales manager at Sweet Dreams, has the Last Word
Sales agents have a lot of information at their fingertips – information that can be very useful to independent stores, as what works for one will often work for another. I’ll be using this week’s Last Word to offer my five focus points to help retailers sell.
1. Ask for more: Ask agents what beds are selling best elsewhere, especially in stores of a similar size, location or ‘feel’ to yours. They’ll be happy to oblige. They’ll also give you inside information on what other stores are doing to promote these products, and what’s proving most cost-effective for them. Ask them too about product trends, about materials such as special fillings – gel, latex – or particular kinds of bed, like for instance high spring count beds such as our Pocket Air collection.
2. Consult your own sales history: Sometimes in the general rush of retail business it’s easy to forget that you, too, have a lot of useful information at hand that could make decisions easier and more cost-effective. You’re bound to have records of orders and if these are detailed then they can be a useful source. Take time to examine which beds sold best when; i.e. was there a promotion on a particular model or range when most sales were made?
3. Maximise manufacturers’ sales tools: Many manufacturers provide items such as foot mats, info totems and point-of-sale. It’s often difficult for consumers to make choices about mattresses, and having more information about its features and benefits can definitely swing a sale, especially with luxury models.
4. Use the free product and sales training from agents: There’s nothing like establishing a rapport with customers, finding out what they want and, through good product knowledge, being able to show it to them, face-to-face. Independent retailers can gain a competitive edge by asking for training by sales agents. Agents are going to be more than happy to provide this on the products they sell, because an informed salesperson is a successful salesperson. Our agents, for example, are fully genned up about our beds and are themselves trained to explain.
5. Communicate with your supplier: Yep, it’s obvious. But it can be overlooked. Talk to your sales agent about products, or about questions your customers or your staff have raised. Never be afraid to ask for more information. If your agent can’t help, ask the sales manager: that’s what we’re here for.
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