Tuesday, July 06, 2010

A Theory About How Women Buy, Part 2

We received a very nice email from Joe Capillo (who said we could share it) who wrote the article A Theory About How Women Buy in "Furniture World." Joe writes of our post:
Nice to see someone actually reads this stuff. I read your article carefully to see where I connected and where I missed. If you think I'm "worried" about the 40% of shoppers who don't buy, I am in this respect. I spend most of my time on the floor in furntiure stores observing behavior of salespeople, customers, and alleged sales managers, so my observations are not pulled out of the air. My concerns about those "non-buyers" isn't that I believe they should have, or could have been sold. Rather, it's that in virtually all stores, for nearly all salespeople, when those customers leave the building they adopt a "They're dead to me!" attitude, and no further effort is made to cultivate those potential buyers.
This is so true and even we are guilty of dropping the ball on people who stop in and then leave. We have four sources of leads for new business: obviously walk-ins, buyer inquiries from our web site, telephone calls and emails requesting information. We do a real good job of staying in touch with those who come in, outline projects and request pricing. Those are like grapes to Bev, just waiting to drop into her hand. From this group she can look plan ahead to potential business. We do not do a good job of keeping in touch with buyer inquiries and calls and emails.

Good follow up, I've found, demands some type of CRM or customer relationship software or at least some way to keep track of the conversations. When I was just a young stockbroker, I used five by three cards. Each had the prospect's name, the date and what we discussed and a time to follow up with another "touch."

Joe continues:
My point is that there is a tremendous potential for new business in the 60%, 70%, or 80% of shoppers who don't buy, and that most companies have no strategy to deal with those non-buyers.

Yet, we know that many home furnishings purchase decisions take along time to make, and if you can connect to the person, and the project, during those early visits, and gain permission to stay in touch until the time for action has arrived, you stand a better chance of making the sale in the future. There are some simple truths that my three-decade mission in this business has proven: first, in the area of fashion, say, upholstery purchases, first-time shoppers (in a store) make their buying decision that day less than 20% of the time, but on their second visit, they make their purchase 60% of the time. Weaker salespeople don't connect and therefore don't get that second visit. Stronger salespeople do.

In every retail furniture company I've ever worked with the variance in results from the top performing salesperson to the lowest, when measuring ROI, is greater than 40% and often nearer to 50%. So something ain't right.
Joe Capillo is right and these points weren't emphasized in his article. However through this conversation with Joe Capillo, we recognized a flaw in our treatment of new leads which will soon be corrected. I hope you will look at your business and see how you are doing with CRM. It's much cheaper to convert a walk in or call in to a customer than find a totally new person to call or walk in!

BTW, this works for interior designers, too. How many of you keep tickler files with the names of your clients and people who ask about your business? How often do you send them a newsletter or place a phone call? How many of you have a file of potential customers who say to you that someday they are going to remodel their kitchen or get rid of that old sofa? You know what I hated the most? I would hate to hear a potential customer say, Oh I did that last month and kick myself because I hadn't called back or kept in touch. I had missed the time when the cold lead went from warm to HOT!

BTW, did we mention Joe Capillo's new book?

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