The "S" Word


If you’re going to compete as a home furnishings retailer, then profitability is a must. And what makes for outstanding profits? Exceptional sales . . . except that no one wants to be known as a salesperson.

Somewhere between slick used car salesmen and the sleazy in-it-for-me dealers, sales got a bad reputation. And rightfully so! But, in order to succeed, you and your staff must reframe sales and refuse to be stymied by the stigma.

Reframe the Role

One of the biggest roadblocks to sales success is the “closing” mentality. In order to see sales in a new light, see it for what it really is – connecting a customer with a product or service that solves a problem or fulfills a need. When you and your team shift from “close” to “consult,” life gets easier and just feels cleaner.

Seek Understanding

When someone comes into your showroom, one way to reduce “sales” pressure is to remember that 70% of people start their purchase journey online. So, it’s quite likely that they know as much, if not more, about the products you sell as you do! As the train passes through transformation station, this is now a fact-finding conversation. Find out what your prospect knows about XYZ product or service, learn a little about their lifestyle – kids, dogs, aging parents, etc. – and what problem they’re trying to solve.

Armed with this information, you’re better equipped to help the person find something that best suits their needs. You’re a true (sales) consultant – helping them find a supremely soft, apartment-sized, grommeted sofa in peacock blue that will stand up to a German Shepherd and 2 kids every other week.

Perhaps the sofa they found via search is the perfect solution for their situation. Or, perhaps the less expensive alternative that’s treated with stain guard and wasn’t listed online might be a more attractive option. And, for the truly savvy, mention that the sofa and the coordinating rocker – the one that their toddler will love during story time – together costs the same as the one original sofa.

Why do this? You add value by respecting their financial situation, you help solve the problem in a consultative way and you build trust by not stripping a newly single parent of their entire paycheck. That feels a lot better than “selling,” right?

When you and your team approach the sales process differently, the energy changes and begins to attract customers - rather than repel them.

Practice Makes Perfect

Easily the most cringy of our tips, practice your sales speak in the mirror (or with peers) helps improve your delivery. When your delivery sounds natural with an easy cadence and relaxed speech pattern, you build better rapport. Your new delivery sounds approachable and friendly. Think about it – isn’t a friendly conversation much more interesting than a hard-driving pitch read from a print out? When you practice, you no long sound like a “salesperson,” you sound human . . . and that’s delightful.


Whether you apply the creative or entrepreneur label to yourself and your business, it never hurts to invest in yourself and your team. Sales training is available in a variety of forms – with costs ranging from free to small fortune! And while not all training will work for all individuals, it’s good to expose everyone to as many thought leaders and professional development coaches as possible.

Read books, listen to podcasts, subscribe to virtual sessions – with the technological power you carry in your pocket, there’s no excuse to skip professional development. A few staff favorites: The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone, Hacking Sales by Max Altschuler, Difficult Conversations by Douglas Stone and Bruce Patterson and the classic and always relevant The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey.

A well-equipped sales team promises to keep your business on the competitive edge. Now, you don’t have to feel stifled when it comes to saying sales. A renewed definition and perspective open a world of possibilities, so shout it out!!! Don’t be stymied by the stigma – embrace the “S” word.