I had a huge epiphany yesterday about how optimal sales are achieved.

I started sales training more than 20 years ago in the interior design industry.

I have worked with and observed hundreds of sales people over the years. These are very capable, strong, people. Many with larger than life personalities. They were all beloved in the industry and many had been doing this a long time, you could say seasoned. And naturally their managers think they are doing everything they can because they are all hard workers, putting in the hours, and had been doing this a long time.

And yet, the sales RESULTS remain inconsistent. That is just a fact. And most showrooms have high and low performers or territories.

They have up months, down months, big orders that helped them to achieve their yearly goals, but only produced even more inconsistent months by focusing on those big orders. Some come to fruition, others don’t. I hear this all the time when I ask how sales are doing and owners/managers thank goodness they got a few big orders. That’s really volatile for a business.

I used these exact same metrics when I was a sales person (as did all my supervisors). I went on all those sales calls. “bonded” with my clients, hauled out ALL that beautiful, new product, artfully arranged it in front of the designer and dutifully gave them anything they desired. And by doing that I was lulled into thinking that was how you sold. I was never told anything else.

I was proud of the fact that I was considered to be the top in my field. But looking back and since the marketplace has changed permanently, I now see those same metrics no longer work, yet many keep using them, sometimes even fearful to change. They just think, this is as good as it gets.

Fast forward to today…

The showrooms and sales people that have taken my e-course or that I have worked with based on a new business model of selling have all been successful. Because I always want optimal results for all my clients, I began to look closer at why some had greater growth than others. And it came to me!


The showrooms and sales people that had the most growth and consistency routinely applied ALL of the principles I teach. The ones that didn’t have as much success cherry picked what they wanted to incorporate. That’s it! That makes perfect sense.

Then I began to think about all those sales people I observed and worked with and I realized it was the same reason.

They were using some of the principles they were most comfortable with but not all of them. And that always produces the “teeter totter” effect in sales I always talk about.

That brings me to my epiphany.

When I first started my sales e-courses and coaching, I started talking about my “sales training course”. Then it changed to a “training system” because I realized it was the complete system that had to be implemented for optimal results. But that still didn’t say that ALL of the steps need to be implemented or this system that I have come up with to increase sales will not work OPTIMALLY. There will be increased sales, of course, but the results will not be OPTIMAL. This has to be the “NEW NORMAL of the way we sell. As many sales people say, “Oh you reminded me of doing things I forgot about”. It still wasn’t the whole system.

Here are the seven core principles:


  1. Sell with intention
  2. Be the solution
  3. Pull don’t push
  4. Change your focus
  5. Give them what they NEED first
  6. Follow up with purpose
  7. Make time count

This forms the system that is completely inter-connected and inter-dependent. These core principles are building blocks and are not effective if used by themselves. If you do some, your results will be less than optimal.

But it’s not as difficult as some may see think. It is built on some things many sales people already do. It’s a different, more effective approach.

Even top performers do better. I saw that, first hand with a major multi-line showroom I recently worked with.


I’ve been told so many times, our sales people are good, but the sales are lackluster, low or inconsistent. I don’t doubt this, I was considered a top sales person, too. The difference is the system for most remains the same , the marketplace has changed. And my approach has now changed with the times.

Based on documented increased results after I work with sales people to incorporate ALL the principles, I will risk being a minority voice and continue to call attention to this process that meets the requirements of the vast changes in our industry.

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; after implementing this 4 part ecourse system, your sales people increase their sales from 10% – 30%? What would THAT mean to your bottom line? That’s what her client’s all get. Click here to get that right now!

For information on booking Deborah for your next sales conference or her ecourse, “Powering up Your Sales NOW! The future of selling to interior designers, email at deborah@dialogue-consulting.com or call her at 773-281-9448.