As I begin my next sales training ecourse with Kravet in New York, I review my presentations and reflect on what has changed in the industry or in selling techniques. Some of the reflection includes methods that I was taught and used for so long that I now realize just don’t work anymore, but most still continue to do. I observe it every day.

I’m also becoming more aware every day, that this is not just a problem with my industry, but with many more! There are good and not so good in every industry.

As sales people, for years we have been told to make lots of calls with lots of new product. Then we ask a few questions (don’t push TOO hard, after we would rather be liked than to want to appear pushy), tell them all the features and benefits and leave with a list of products that the designer fell in love with and even swear they have a project for (or not..they just love it “for their library”)!

At this point, we ask what the project is. They may or may not want to share that information…no problem (don’t push too hard!) and we take off for our next meeting.

We leave with such a sense of accomplishment that the designer acted so positively to our product and put that call into our so called pipeline, after all they took samples for a current project. We may even report it to a higher up as a project we are working on because they took sampling.

What is the missing piece from this? Do you know, FOR SURE, that this is really going to turn into a SALE? Or is it a pipe dream? Did we ask all the right questions to assure this is really going to be a sale?

I’m reminded of a story of a rep who worked for me when I was a sales manager. When she returned, I would ask how the appointments went to which she replied, “Oh they loved everything and I gave a bunch of samples to them for projects.” I was excited until I started to look at the SALES RESULTS from those clients, and the sales were just not there.

It was then I realized that I don’t care what they LIKE, how much they LIKE the sales person, even how much sampling they took. or telling you it’s going on a project. That’s the PIPE DREAM!

How sure was that sales person on what that designer would PURCHASE! That’s the PIPELINE!

Liking something and promising they will use on that “elusive project” and you not sure of what that project may be or anything else about it is a pipe dream. Good qualifying questions before anything is given is a pipeline. Even quotes without asking the right question and qualification goes into the pipe dream!

As you are reading this, you could say to yourself, of course I ask everything I need to. I’m a good sales person. Or I often hear..sure, I’d like to increase sales, just not sure how. This is what we know how to do and think it works.

I’ve looked at way too many sales reports and spoken with way too many showrooms and product companies and find out their sales are “soft”!

To me that says there is way too much in PIPE DREAMS and not enough in PIPELINES!

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 teaches people HOW TO SELL! Deborah increased sales by 300% for one of her clients using these techniques to train their sales people.

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: THE FUTURE OF SELLING TO INTERIOR DESIGNERS!

Picture this. Your sales people, after implementing this 4 part ecourse system increase their sales from 10% – 30%? What would THAT mean to your bottom line? Click here to get that right now!

For information on booking Deborah for your next sales conference or any of her ecourse, email at or call her at 773-281-9448.