What You Should Be Doing as a Flooring Salesperson

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A good salesperson needs to build confidence and become the leader in every customer interaction.
A good salesperson needs to build confidence and become the leader in every customer interaction.

When I started out in sales, selling lumber wholesale out of my garage, I never dreamed of having a store. Thirteen years later, we have locations in Dallas, Fort Worth and Austin. I learned a lot about sales and selling in the process of building my business. Here are some tips and reminders about what I believe you should be doing every day to improve as a professional who sells wood flooring for a living.

Get in ‘salesperson mode’ 

I understand that sales can be uncomfortable, but it’s only uncomfortable when you don’t embrace your position. You’ve got to put yourself in the other person’s shoes, and that means putting yourself in your own shoes first: You’re a consumer—do you want to go into a furniture store and have somebody who is timid and not helpful, or do you want somebody who is confident and knows what they’re doing? Because when a customer comes into your store, they want new flooring. It’s not like walking into an antique mall, where you’re maybe just browsing. Someone walks into your flooring store because they want new flooring, and they don’t want to spend a lot of time going from store to store. So make sure that they have so much confidence in you as a salesperson that they don’t need to go anywhere else.

Read (or listen) to sales experts

One of the biggest things that helped me along the way is reading books (see a list of my favorites on page 22). Most everybody has a commute, and you can either fill that commute with nonsense, or you can fill it with education. Audiobooks are so easy to come by. How can you be a salesperson and not be reading books and listening to podcasts? It is un-freakin’-limited how much knowledge there is on podcasts. Can you imagine going to your doctor and saying, “Hey, when’s the last time you learned about a new medicine?” Every Monday morning a football player is watching film to learn to get better. If sales is your livelihood and you’re going to be an expert, you have to be feeding the beast. Learning the skill is the difference between being a mediocre salesperson and a great salesperson, and a mediocre salesperson sells on price.

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Be knowledgeable and take the lead 

In a sales situation there are two people—and one is the leader. You can let the customer take the lead, but they don’t have the expertise. That’s where a good salesperson can lead in a way where everyone comes out a winner. If I’m looking for something new, I want to deal with somebody who can offer me more than Amazon can. Because I can read a #@% package; what I need is a human to tell me what to expect in real-life scenarios, and whether, based on my lifestyle, this selection is going to hold up. 

Get comfortable asking questions

It goes without saying that you’ve got to ask open-ended questions. If you’re leading with, “How are you doing today?” or “Can I help you?” go back to the drawing board. Ask them a question like, “Tell me about your project?” or “How did you hear about us?” At the same time, make sure your questions are conversational and also relevant. I had a situation recently where one of my sales guys was having a long conversation, and when they finally got to the price, the customer was like, “Oh, that’s way out of our budget!” We can save ourselves a lot of time by asking, “Do you have a budget in mind?” Every time you ask a question, the answer gets you further down the funnel.

Stand out and make yourself memorable

You need to be promoting yourself on social media. This must be done in conjunction with the company that you work for, of course, but you need to show your customers before-and-after pictures and be proactive in growing your social media following and group involvement. If a contractor asks a question in a Facebook group and you give them a competent answer, that goes a long way to turning them into a customer.

You also need to be sending simple hand-written thank you notes after sales. It’s easy to get custom stationery, and letters are also a great time to ask for a referral. I bought something recently that was so simple, but I got a handwritten letter in the mail. I guarantee the next time I need to buy that product, they’re going to be my first call—and when somebody asks me where I got it, I’m going to refer them. Your customer’s referral might just say to go to the company, but you need to be branding yourself so the customer says go to the company and ask for you.

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