You walk into
a store knowing that you will be greeted by a sales
associate. With visions of a used car salesman in a fedora hat, plaid
jacket, and a pinky ring, you step through the door anyways. He will barrage you with snappy patter and
try to high pressure you into
buying something you don’t want or need. Suddenly, you are trying to NOT buy
something from a store you walked into on your own free-will. This
doesn't seem quite right...
So, you do what most customers do. You brush off the associate and browse on
your own becoming more confused with each passing minute. Does that 75%
Off Today Only! sign apply to everything in the store? Is there an
ottoman to go with that chair? Where's the
restrooms? It quickly becomes apparent that you need someone to help
Don’t panic. I’m going to give you some tips on how to choose someone that
you’re comfortable with and who has the knowledge and skill to help you with
your selections. The associate should greet you warmly and look you in eye.
They should be social in the beginning, not pushy. If you want to browse
they should give you the space and time to enjoy the store, while remaining
nearby so you can find them when a question arises.
The most important
indication of their intentions is directly related to the amount of time
they spend talking about you, your room, and your needs. They should not try to sell you anything initially, since professionals know
that they can't give good advice without knowing what you are trying to
accomplish. A great salesperson is like a great doctor. They never
prescribe without doing a thorough diagnosis.
The professional may try to sketch your room to get a clear understanding of
what you are looking for. If they do, we recommend that you share your room
plan and provide any decorating portfolio with color choices and clippings
which you may have brought. Treat the helpful associate as a valuable source
of information for correct product choices. If you did not make a floor plan
the associate should be capable of laying out the room. After a sketch and
thorough needs analysis, they should show you selections that fit your needs
If they appear intent only on helping you make the best decision possible,
feel free to ask questions. It’s important to make a good decision now,
before you have to look at bad furniture in your otherwise beautiful home,
so take your time. Take advantage of the associates expertise, partnering
with them to make a great decision.
After you have made your choices is the best time to ask about financing and any
cash discounts. Good designers might bring these incentives up early in the
conversation, but won't try to sell you a financing plan or an incredible
discount. The best designers know that you want nice furniture that meets
your needs, and will focus the conversation on that.
Remember that you don’t have to make your decision right away. Stay in control by not
worrying that the sale ends Monday. While some sales events are in fact time
sensitive, don’t rush because there is a deadline. If you’re not comfortable
with your choice or need more time to make your decision there will be other
If you don’t receive the level of service described above, get a different
associate to help you. The only way to do this is to ask for the sales
manager, and simply request another salesperson. Never worry about the
salesperson's feelings when they don't seem to care about your needs. The
associate doesn’t own you, and a conflict of interests may stop you from
getting a great price on the perfect furniture for your room.
Keep in mind that the products you purchase are going to enhance the quality
of your life and that you will have them for a long time. Don’t settle for
second best when it comes choosing a sales associate.
I manage and train sales associates every day and know the level service you
should be given. Be demanding. Great stores and associates will give you the
service you deserve.