Yes, you can make 2008 your best year ever. Take an hour or two to plan and you will be astonished at the results. The issue is rarely “how to,” it is much more a matter of “want to.”
This article is to make you want to do it and to discover how easy it is. If you really need the how to part, you can see a great form and detailed instructions in a previous article, “Goal Setting is Powerful” (see D&WC, December 2005, page 56, or read it online at www.DWConline.com/DWC/2005/dec/money.html.)
Now, let’s talk about why you want to plan your sales this year. You may feel you have little control over your sales with the upheaval in the housing market. But you do have control over who you market to and, with education, you can control your selling techniques.
IT ONLY TAKES THREE
You can have a really great business with only three appointments a week. Anyone serious about growth can achieve that level of appointments with a reasonable advertising budget and promotional activities. If marketing is a challenge for you read some of my articles from back issues online or look for courses in marketing that are affordable and easy to study at your home. Neil Gordon, WCU president, has some great ideas for increasing appointments through low-cost referral programs.
But here’s the point: With the flight to luxury, top sales consultants are averaging more than $4,000 a sale! That means they can sell nearly $500,000 on just three appointments a week!
When you have three appointments a week your sales will likely fall between $90,000 a year and up to $360,000. That is a multiplier of four times on the same number of appointments.
Check out the chart to see how much you could be selling with the right closing rate and average customer sale. You will note the red numbers as a common level of performance with 65 to 70 percent closing ratio and average sale of $1,500 to $2,500. If you sell blinds and hard products primarily, you should be at the lower range of $1,500. If you sell a balanced mix of draperies and hard products you are probably in the upper range, about $2,500
WHY SUCH A DIFFERENCE?
Why do some people sell $100,000 to $150,000 a year on three appointments a week and others sell nearly $400,000? It really is shocking to see the difference. And, actually, the difference is even greater today.
How do they do it? There are two key ingredients: The first is awareness of numbers, which means you know your current benchmarks—your current number of appointments per month, closing ratio and average size of sale. Once you know where you are you can set plans to improve. You don’t have to go all the way the first year. Allow yourself time.
With better marketing and better selling techniques you may improve your sales 20 percent on the same number of appointments.
That’s where the second ingredient comes in—education! With education you learn to target the right customers and you learn the words to impact them so they buy more. With better marketing and better selling techniques you may improve your sales 20 percent on the same number of appointments.
Do I have your attention? Are you starting to see how you can make 2008 your best year ever? Are you getting the “want to” fired up to a white-hot passion? If you want it, you can do it. Here are three easy steps to get there:
1. Know your numbers. Check where you are now, then you can plan where you want to be.
2. Set your goal for modest improvement. If you don’t have three appointments a week, start there first. If you do, work on your average size of sale even more than your closing ratio.
3. Educate yourself. If you are selling only hard products, learn to sell draperies. Allow yourself a year or two to learn and build confidence. If you already sell draperies, start selling more top dressings, fringe, trims and add-ons.
It really is easy to make 2008 a great year. Set your plans for growth now. If I can help, please drop me an e-mail to steveb@ExcitingWindows.com. If education is your need, consider the many avenues in our industry. With planning and education you can make 2008 your most successful year ever. All it takes is the “want to.”
This article is based on Steven C. Bursten’s actual experience with sales and financial information working with hundreds of window coverings businesses. Whether you are a sole manager who aspires to higher sales, or you manage 50 window fashion decorators in a multi-million dollar business, this series will help you manage sales better and increase your profitability. Bursten is the retired founder of Decorating Den Interiors and author of a how-to book on new business start up, “Bootstrap Entrepreneur,” and is a leading expert in window coverings marketing, sales systems and sales management through his company, custEmers.com. Questions and comments welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (888) 333-8981.