Furniture Store Marketing – When Everyone Is Your Customer, No One is Your Customer!

One of the biggest challenges home furnishing owners must overcome, in order to be successful in this new economy, is the dreaded I-offer-everything-for-everyone syndrome. On the surface this looks like a sure-fire way to get more customers, but it is already proven time and time again that it is not always the most successful way to prosper in your store.

If you are an independent home furnishing retailers, then chances are you have a limited budget and limited space to work with. So, if your store offers several contemporary collections, several ultra-modern collections and some eclectic pieces as well as some early American collections scattered through you store, do you really think that you have enough of any of those styles to satisfy the type of customers who are looking for a specific style? However, style is only one way to target your customer.

In fact, the most successful furniture retailers in my area focus on a couple of things to attract a specific type of customer:

  • Complete living room packages for under $ 2,000 or furnish your entitlement home for under $ 5,000.
  • Long-term low or no interest financing
  • Fast delivery within 3 days or less
  • Lower prices for packages

So, by narrowing down their advertising, they attract a customer that wants to purchase multiple pieces, which in turn, drives the average ticket sale and profits up. They then offer attractive financing terms which attracts customers with good credit and income, while enticing them to spend more money because the customer has longer to pay for it.

Most importantly, they save the customer money by buying more and can get it in their homes in a couple of days. There is also another twist to these retailers. They reward their salespeople handsomely for NOT selling the financing, but getting customers to pay off their balances in less than 90 days.

There is a common slogan in marketing statute, "There are riches in niches." Simply put, this slogan means determine who your most profitable, enjoyable and easy to attract customer is, and then specialize in getting more of those customers to come into your store and buy. You do this by creating a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) that compels your most profitable customer to come back into your business again and again.

What if you reviewed your business over the last couple of years and discovered the following trends about your customers and prospects:

  • Wives initially visited the store without their husbands.
  • Recently married
  • Had three kids
  • Lived within five miles of your store
  • Spent between $ 800 – $ 1500 on sofa, loveseat and tables.
  • Paid by Visa, MasterCard or Discover

Once you have this information, you can redesign your store and business to cater to more of the same types of customers that are currently spending good money in your store.

However, you can only use this information to your advantage if you take the time to find out who your customer is, what is important to them and what they really want.

It may come as a surprise to you, but your customers want more than just a sofa. If you are just selling a sofa, you are missing out on a ton of business. Here are a few of the keys I have discovered over the years:

  • Do not sell mattresses, sell relief from back pain.
  • Do not sell home theater seats, sell the entertainment experience.
  • Do not sell sofas or loveseats, sell comfort and warmth.
  • Do not sell furniture, sell status and prestige.
  • Do not sell interior design, sell ENVY and the WOW factor!

Once you know what your customers really want then, you could use that information to create a USP that attracts more of the same type of customers. For example:

  • "Do not hire expensive interior designers, use our 23 point design checklist and give your home a million dollar look for FREE!"
  • "Discover how to give your home an extreme $ 20,000 makeover, on an $ 8,000 budget."
  • "Your family and friends will say" Oh my gosh! Your home is simply amazing! "In 27 seconds flat … we guarantee it!"

But I Don’t Feel Like Working Out!

Do most people actually feel like exercising? Think about it. Who do you know actually loves to work-out as often as they can? Probably not many because if most people felt that way there wouldn’t be an obesity epidemic.

As I write this, even I’m putting off the inevitable. I have to work-out. I’m a Personal Trainer. Shouldn’t I be counting down the seconds until I get to hurt and sweat to the classic rock channel and my dumbbells? Nope. I have spent the last hour or so lollygagging around the couple of sites I tend to frequent, posting a few status updates and commenting “great pic” here and there while working up the motivation to get moving! I have a holiday party to attend tonight and I can promise you…the food will probably be pretty good. So how can I take my love of fabulous cuisine and my obvious Sunday morning laziness and somehow use this combo to get me up off the sofa and into the work-out room? Well I’ll tell ya….

I’ve been fat and I’ve been fit and I promise you that fit feels better! I just typed a paragraph or so about my own vulnerabilities above to let you know that I relate to your lack of desire to exercise. We aren’t that different from each other. I live in the same fast world with the same fast food and email vs. snail mail and instant gratification benefits as everyone else. The only problem with this is that permanent and healthy weight-loss and weight-management take time, perseverance and yep, hard work.

I know what happens when we put important tasks off. They either never get done or if they eventually do, there is usually a hefty late penalty. It’s no different with our bodies. To develop and keep a fit physique, consistency is the key. To stay consistent, we have to change our minds.

The truth is that the next hour or so WILL go by regardless of what I choose to do within that time. The last hour is over and I chose to sit on the computer. Now even though I really did more productive things other than post silly stuff online, the fact remains that there is still a work-out to be done. I will have calories to burn off for later. I have a metabolism to speed up for the indulgences I will partake in tonight. I can choose to sit here for the rest of the afternoon and not get my strength training session in and I probably still won’t put on any significant weight from tonight’s foods. The reason for this is that while most often I would prefer not to work-out, I do it anyway because I ALWAYS feel a sense of pride, joy and power by the end of that hour of exercise than I would feel by not doing it. I feel AMAZING when I finish an exercise session. Did it happen overnight? NO! I had to make myself continue to experience it for a good long time until I realized the power behind a regular fitness routine. The result is a faster metabolism which burns my calories for me while I do nothing at all. In real estate, they would call this cash flow from a rental property. The investing, rehabs and negotiations are done yet the pay goes on. Brilliant!

Think about where you are right now. Do you have any regrets over the things you didn’t do? Have you noticed any negative circumstances in your life that could have been kept small and insignificant if only you had tackled them sooner? What about any goals you would have accomplished had you acted sooner (or at all)? When you take a moment and honestly think about any of these regrets, are you convinced that if you only had the chance to make a different decision you would have done it and then you would have everything you’ve ever wanted by now? How much would you give to change the outcome of any of the scenarios I just mentioned?

It’s been 2 hours since my last paragraph. In that time, I worked-out AND prepared all the vegetables needed for my few days worth of healthy salads. I’ll be honest here. I absolutely didn’t feel like doing ANY of that. It’s time consuming and labor intensive as far as I’m concerned. Given that thought process, here’s another one which is equally true. I just finished my work-out and prepared my lean and nutrient dense post exercise replenishment not just for today, but for the next several days to come. It was labor intensive, but I FEEL AMAZING! The hard work is done and I’ll reap the benefits of 2 hours worth of work for the next few days! The technical term for this is delayed gratification. Let’s say it together. DELAYED GRATIFICATION. It’s a way of life we don’t experience much of these days and I believe it’s why our bodies suffer from malnutrition and limited physical capabilities.

You see, most of us don’t feel like doing a lot of the things we need to do and I’m no different. The only way to experience the other side of this particular coin is to just do it. Whatever it is. With exercise, the more often you muster up the strength to get it done, the more you’ll understand the rewards. Don’t get me wrong, you still may want to put it off, however, you’ll have a valid sense of what you’re missing out on if you do. You’ll get how powerful it feels to spend that hour or so doing what you’ll feel proud of rather than nothing at all, which you could easily regret much longer than a measly hour, possibly the rest of your life. This way of thinking creates pride and a healthy self-esteem. It also helps to abolish any feelings of restriction since when we take care of ourselves the majority of the time, we can enjoy our indulgences without guilt.

Well, now that I’ve done the hard work, I’m gonna relax. As I had mentioned earlier, it’s Sunday. The only day of the week that I don’t have to be something to someone. The day that’s reserved all for me. Rather than spending all of it vegging, I gave myself the best gift I could….peace of mind from good work well done. I took that hour, doubled it and now I feel free!

So what about you? What did you get from this?

Wishing you a lifetime of smart choices and self-pride!

Technical Writing – How to Write Project Justification Documents

As part of building the overall project scope a technical author will first need to lay out the justification documentation. This document which can also be considered a “business case” lays out the fundamental reasons for implementing the project. Here’s a simple guide on creating a project justification.

State the Problem

Businesses don’t carry out projects for fun; they perform them in order to solve a specific issue or issues. You need to describe the problem clearly and accurately at the start of your document so that you can then present the solution to that problem.

For example if you intend to implement a new HRMS (Human Resource Management System) your problem may be; “The HR team currently spends nearly 80% of its time on non-productive administrative tasks, reducing the effectiveness of the function dramatically.”

State the Solution

This should be a simple statement to define your project. This enables your reader to understand what it is you’re proposing.

“We intend to implement an automated HRMS system to reduce manual administration by half.”

Supply Supporting Information

The problem and solution aren’t going to justify your project to the stakeholders and decision makers, so you need to provide the right level of information to enable them to support your recommendation.

Examples of the kind of information you should use:

  • Market Demand – Not always the strongest argument, but if you can show that all your competitors are implementing similar systems, it certainly suggests that it may be worth considering in your organisation.
  • Business Need – In this example the business need is clear, the HR team are spending the majority of their work time on non-specialist tasks and that costs money.
  • Customer Demands - what is it that your customers are screaming out for? Don’t forget to include internal customers as well as external ones.
  • Technological Progression – what’s going on in the world around you, is there are compelling case to be told in terms of the way IT and systems are developing?
  • Legal – Don’t forget the all important obligation to the law, if you can show that your project brings compliance or makes it easier to comply with those requirements you have a stronger case.

Writing a business case or project justification is an essential part of the larger project scoping process. Ideally you should write this early in the lifecycle of your project to help you obtain funding and support. You will also then be able to clearly identify the objectives of your task so that team members have a clear message to take away.

Real Estate Agent Job Description

Real estate agents liaise between home owners and buyers to conduct the sale, purchase or rent of properties. They work for brokers and play a major role in assisting people buy or sell residential, commercial or industrial property. They keep and maintain an up-to-date account of property listing and other relevant housing information to stay abreast with properties available on the real estate market. They subscribe to several listing services to advertise and market properties up for sale. They also contact property and market properties up for sale. They also contact property owners to obtain information regarding a property.

As part of their responsibilities, estate agents present sales and purchase offers to clients for consideration. They advise them on property rates, legal requirements and general market trend. They also interview clients to determine their property preference or specification. Usually, they prepare a list of properties that best match the needs and requirements of clients. They visit and inspect properties in order to establish precise property value. They also proffer recommendations to clients on properties that best suit their budget and preference.

Most estate agents oversee the preparation of closing statements, purchase agreements, representation contracts and other necessary documents required for estate trade. They conduct negotiations between property sellers and buyers to establish price and other terms of sales. They also liaise with pest control operators, home inspectors etc. to ensure the terms and conditions stated in a purchase agreement are met prior to the closing of sales.

In fulfilling their role, real estate agents oversee the closing of property sales, they ensure payment is complete and appropriate documents signed. They maintain contact with clients to offer them real estate services/products and assist with the resolution of issues. They also provide consultation services to clients to recommend strategies for the speedy sale of property. They often conduct training programs for junior/trainee sales agents to enhance their sales skill. This job position requires at least a high school diploma, state license for practice and an aptitude for sales. Qualities needed for the job include persuasion, interpersonal skills and problem-solving skills.

Real Estate Agent Job Description Sample

Given below is a sample of the job description usually handed real estate agents by most employers:

  • Act as liaisons to conduct real estate trade between property buyers and sellers
  • Present sales offers to clients as well as bid on available properties
  • Carry out investigations to determine client credit status and ability to complete payment
  • Inspect properties to appraise its value and estimate the worth on the property market
  • Interact with clients to identify their requirements and proffer recommendations on properties that best suit their budgets
  • Assist home sellers in promoting their buildings on property listing services to attract clients for purchase
  • Prepare and deliver sales pitches to clients in order to secure real estate contract
  • Provide clients with a list of properties available for sale to assist them in making choice selection
  • Conduct price negotiations between property buyers and sellers to ensure a fair bargain for both parties
  • Provide clients with a tour of residential, industrial or commercial properties to showcase and explain property features
  • Carry out investigations to confirm clients have clear property titles
  • Provide appropriate reply to client’s enquiries concerning property appraisals, financing, maintenance etc.
  • Examine property premises to recommend maintenance measure required to improve the face value
  • Assist clients in evaluating mortgage options to obtain the best rate and terms
  • Attend conventions, conferences and seminars to improve existing job knowledge and expand personal network.

If you are a recruiter needing the best real estate agent to hire, you can use the sample job description above in making one for your company, for use in hiring and assigning duties to the successful candidates.