What is the future for product companies and showrooms selling to interior designers?

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Well, would you be surprised if I said GOOD AND BAD?  BAD if we continue to sell like we have been taught the last… however long sales people have been selling to designers. GOOD if we decide to have a different approach to how we currently sell.

Here’s what has changed in the way interior designers do business today.  Maybe I should make a list of what has not changed.  Oh no, that would be almost nothing!  What has changed?

  1. More companies vying for the same sale are now out there.
  2. Online research (if they are looking for you, they might come across your competitor)
  3. In one word…RETAIL!  Don’t believe me?  Look at  this…Restoration Hardware opening in Gold Coast
  4. More product from which to choose than anyone can ever use (or choose).
  5. Designers are going for product in the library less and less.
  6. Designers having more and more work to do resulting in less time to see reps who just want to show new product that they cannot presently use.  There’s no value..
  7. Hard getting and keeping meaningful appointments.

There are even more reasons than I listed, but I think you get the picture.  We have just been letting way too much up to chance.

I was recently in a large design firm.  They had every single leather company’s sample box in their bookshelves.  Even ones I had never heard of.  When I asked the designer how in the world did she select from the wall of samples, she said she didn’t.  She would ask another designer who they use and she would then go to that box.  That’s a very true story!  Those are odds even Vegas doesn’t want.

So, is it all doom and gloom?  NOT AT ALL!  The answer is we have to really change our approach to sales.

The old methods of showing up and just showing another collection, another binder, another chair, another collection of anything no longer works.  I call this the “flip show”.  You’re actually making the designer’s work even more tedious!  They have to “find” the use.

If you are showing a designer something they cannot use, no matter how much business they have or how many letters in their name or how many times they have topped the Interior Design top 100, you don’t have a sale!  And isn’t that what our goals are; to get sales?

And did you know that research shows only 20% of sales people have top notch skills.  80% are mediocre and 10% should not even be in sales. (Tas Force survey of 100 sales companies)

So what is the antidote to these meaningless old techniques?

Be completely client focused.  That doesn’t mean just knowing the client and doing tons of sometimes meaningless follow up work (the 50% or more that don’t end up in a sale).  It means find out exactly what the client needs AT THAT MOMENT; when you are there!  Make their job EASY!  That’s client focus.

Walk into the design office with nothing except a pad of paper and pen and just sit down and ask, “What can I help you with today”?  Just watch the reaction!

I know it may sound a little odd, but it WORKS!

There’s always time to show new collections..but if you just do this ONE thing, on your sales call, I guarantee you will increase your sales!  Isn’t that the result you, or in some cases, you and your boss want?

I just gave my ecourse to a Kravet, Atlanta showroom and one top sales people said with just  this one techniques.

This technique just opened the floodgates to sales.  It works!”

And now this showroom is on target to have an unprecedented year in sales.  Increasing their furniture and carpet sales which can only be done by using the techniques I now teach!

With the owner saying, “You helped me succeed!”

Oh there’s more to it than that, but just start out with this and tell me how it works!  Just comment below.

Deborah Flate, founder of Dialogue Consulting, has trained hundreds of sales people in the interior design industry, after her own sales career with high end product companies and showrooms.  

She most recently increased sales by 32% for one of her clients by them using these techniques. 

She is a sought after keynote speaker on revolutionary new ways to Power up Your Sales NOW! and has a four part e-course based on her ebook: 10 proven strategies that will POWER UP YOUR SALES NOW! 

For information on booking Deborah for your next sales conference or her ecourse, email at deborah@dialogue-consulting.com  or call her at 773-281-9448. Or to learn more log on to:  The Future of Selling in the Interior Design Industry.

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