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sales & sales management

Journal of the Western Home Furnishings Association


july 2008


Western Home Furnishings Association 500 Giuseppe Court, #6 Roseville, CA 95678 CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED

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Emerald Home Furnishings Tacoma, WA • High Point, NC • Las Vegas, NV • Customer Service: (253) 922-1400 • Fax: (253) 922-3747 • Toll Free Fax for Ordering: (800) 605-6304

Journal of the Western Home Furnishings Association

table of contents



EDITORIAL STAFF Managing Editor: Melissa Dressler................................ Publisher: Melissa Robinson............................................ Art Director: Rebecca

President’s Message...................................................7 Editor’s Message........................................................8

2008 WHFA OFFICERS AND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE WHFA PRESIDENT Keith Koplan - Koplan’s Furniture, Vancouver, WA.............................(360) 695-3388 PRESIDENT ELECT Marty Cramer - Cramer’s Home Furnishings, Ellensburg, WA...........(509) 933-2172

Feature Article:................................................ 12 WHFA’s Retailer of the Year — Jerome’s Furniture

VICE PRESIDENT Claudia LeClair - Fiesta Home Furnishings, Scottsdale, AZ...............(480) 951-3239

Breakthrough Recruiting Methods.............................20 Turning Web Clicks Into Visits....................................26

TREASURER Angel Lopez - Dearden’s, Los Angeles, CA........................................(213) 362-9600

The Be-Back Bus Isn’t Coming Back...........................48

SECRETARY Chris Sanders - Everton Mattress Factory, Inc., Twin Falls, ID..........(208) 733-3312 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE CHAIR George Nader - Nader’s La Popular, Gardena, CA............................(310) 327-8585

Firing Up Your Salespeople in a Down Economy.......55 Using Liquidity to Stay Afloat in a Downturn Economy Part 2 of 4.............................................................65

PAST PRESIDENTS Marvin Kerby - Kerby’s Furniture, Mesa, AZ.......................................(480) 834-3888 Cherie Rose - The Rose Collection, Los Gatos, CA...........................(408) 395-7773

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. The Customer . ...................................69

EXECUTIVE director Sharron Bradley - WHFA, Roseville, CA.............................................(916) 784-7677


AT LARGE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBers Bob Ammirato - Design Galleria By Valentine, Sacramento, CA........(916) 922-2200 Taylor Ganz - McMahan’s Furniture, Los Angeles, CA....................... (310) 473-8411 Howard Haimsohn - Lawrance Contemporary, San Diego, CA.......... (619) 291-1911 Lael Thompson - Broyhill Home Collections, Aurora, CO...................(303) 360-9653

Industry Beat..............................................................10 Retailer Notes..............................................................10 Charity Events

WHFA/NHFA Liaison David Harkness - Harkness Furniture, Tacoma, WA...........................(253) 473-1234 WHFA Board Members Gary Absalonson - Walker’s Furniture Inc., Spokane, WA.................(509) 533-5500 Eric Blackledge - Blackledge Furniture Co., Corvallis, OR.................(541) 753-4851 Dave Cavitt - Furniture Enterprises of Alaska, Anchorage, AK...........(907) 264-5210 James Copitzky - Bassett, Tukwila, WA..............................................(206) 575-8877 Gene DeMeerleer - Furniture West, LaGrande, OR...........................(541) 963-5440 Jack Fendrich - Brenner’s Furniture, Eugene, OR.............................(541) 345-4451 Greg Follett - Follett’s Furniture, Lewiston, ID....................................(208) 743-0177 Eric Foucrier - Linder’s Furniture Mart, Garden Grove, CA................(714) 210-4848 Giff Gates - Gates Furniture, Grants Pass, OR..................................(541) 476-4627 Ron Hoesterey - Royal Mattress Company, Inc., Orange, CA............(800) 987-6925 Paula Holt - Home Collections/Dining Collections, Salem, OR..........(503) 589-4358 Jerome James - Hafer’s Home Furnishings, Manteca, CA.................(209) 823-2122 Julian Jeppe - Reeds Furniture, Agoura Hills, CA..............................(818) 597-7800 Doug Kays - Premiere Home Furnishings, Los Angeles, CA.............. (310) 268-0811 Chuck Kill - Bedmart, Tucson, AZ.......................................................(520) 887-7039 Tim Koerner - Koerner Furniture, Coeur D’Alene, ID..........................(208) 666-1525 Karen Kohlman - West Harvard Furniture, Roseburg. OR.................(541) 673-4221 Don Lemieux - Naturwood, Rancho Cordova, CA..............................(916) 638-2424 Sandy Lundgren - Olsen Furniture, Shelton, WA................................(360) 426-4702 Robert Myers - Ashley Furniture HomeStore, Chico, CA....................(530) 345-2616 Michael Nermon - Ergo Customized Comfort, Irvine, CA...................(208) 326-3407 Ray Nunez - Furniture Savings Center, Sacramento, CA...................(916) 487-6005 Sally Servidio - Silverado Home & Design, Napa, CA........................(707) 251-0888 Tom Slater - Slater’s Home Furnishings, Modesto, CA......................(209) 522-9097 Valerie Watters - Valerie’s Furniture and Accents, Cave Creek, AZ....(480) 483-3327 WESTERN HOME FURNISHINGS ASSOCIATION STAFF Executive Director: Sharron Bradley................................................(916) 960-0345 Asst. Exec./Marketing Director: Kaprice Crawford..........................(916) 960-0346 Business Manager: Janice Carlson..................................................(916) 960-0347 Events Manager: Cindi Williams.......................................................(916) 960-0277 Operations/Warehouse Manager: Jef Spencer...............................(916) 960-0386 Communications Planning Manager: Melissa Robinson................(916) 960-0349 Creative Director: Rebecca Arnn......................................................(916) 960-0350 Managing Editor & Webmaster: Melissa Dressler...........................(916) 960-0385 Membership Manager: Michael Hill..................................................(916) 960-0263 Member Services Specialist: Margie Jacobs...................................(916) 960-0199 Member Services Rep: Adam Gardner............................................(916) 960-0291 Accounting Assistant: Melody King.................................................(916) 960-2476

Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.

Fast Forward...............................................................24 Seven Essential Traits for Leaders Board Member Q&A....................................................29 with Don Lemieux Retailer Resource Center Guide.................................31 Program of the Month................................................43 Mystery Shopping Meet the New Members............................................45 New Program.............................................................47 MyStore 2008 Conference Wrap Up.........................................58 Industry Dates............................................................75 Tips & Tricks...............................................................77 Fun Facts & Figures....................................................78

contact est.1944

Phone: (800) 422-3778 (12 western states) (916) 784-7677 Online: Fax:

(916) 784-7697


500 Giuseppe Court, Suite 6 Roseville, CA 95678 Western Home Furnishings Association is the western affiliate of National Home Furnishings Association


July 2008


Property Liability Commercial Auto Commercial Umbrella Workers Compensation Employment Practices Liability Loss Control Services Retail Furniture Advantage Endorsement

WHFA and Argo Select Specialized insurance services for the furniture store industry The Western Home Furnishings Association is pleased to endorse Argo Select as the preferred provider of insurance and loss prevention services to its member stores. As a specialist in retail insurance, Argo Select offers coverage and safety resources customized for the furniture store industry. Call to learn how Argo Select can increase your comfort level when it comes to protecting your store. For additional information, please contact: Jerry Landers 866.428.0730  WHFA  800.422.3778  Argo Select is a division of Argo Group, Inc. est.1944

president’s message As I begin this month’s column, I am flying at about 32,000 feet; interestingly, this is a level where most of us should spend at least 20 percent of our time when working on our business instead of in it; more on this later. I promise that I’ll get down to earth before I finish! My second comment is that I am returning from the WHFA annual conference, and I cannot emphasize strongly enough how valuable it was to attend. The current economic climate is tough, and I heard dozens of owners speaking about lower traffic, lower close ratios and the resultant drop in sales. Considering the number of stores that were represented, it is safe to say that if anyone was experiencing good business they were pretty quiet about it. Nearly everyone I talked with, and there were many, commented that they could hardly wait to return home and begin to implement something new. Having been in the business for over 40 years it still surprises me how many new and refined ideas can be learned when working with peers that share common problems. With all that was learned while having fun with friends, it is truly disappointing that such a small percentage of our membership took advantage of this wonderful networking experience. To those that were there and didn’t make it to our closing party in our room; I didn’t kick anyone out until midnight. You missed a lot of fun and we had two terrific piano players on the baby grand. Start making plans for next year’s conference at the Maui Westin on May 17 – 19. Flying at the 32,000 foot level is all about taking the time to make plans and work on new ideas. School superintendents don’t clean erasers, bank chairman don’t work the teller line and hospital CEO’s don’t change sheets… in other words you shouldn’t be “dusting” the store. It’s ok, you can admit you still do it and in many cases started out that way; now it’s time to change. I am certain our Retailer of the Year, Jerome’s Furniture has grown to a successful five store chain by looking at the big picture and planning well into the future. Now is not the time to hunker down, rather make plans on how to grow after this downturn. Try something new and different; it’s a cinch and many of our current ideas aren’t working the way we would like. There is a lot of information on sales performance in this issue. One of the most common themes of the conference was the importance of “touching” your customer. It is all about relationships; in most cases, your customer wants them and they are good for business. Well, the flight is about to make its descent so it is time to close this month’s article. Try something different and plan to attend the next conference. Here’s hoping you will elevate your thinking to a higher level and of equal importance, have fun doing it.

Keith Koplan 2008 WHFA president Koplan’s Furniture Vancouver, WA

ON THE COVER Archic sofa, Club chairs, Vertigo Cocktail Table and Console by Roche Bobois Intl. For more information, please visit Photo coutesy of Roche Bobois. Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.


July 2008


editor’s message I’m a Target Junkie I have to admit, this letter has been one of the hardest to write — this is the sixth issue that I have done about sales and sales management and while there are always great article ideas on the topic, it is a little difficult for me to think of a new experience or story to tell you about. I actually wrote one letter about a recent shopping experience that I had, then decided it was boring, so I trashed it. So I decided to think about myself as a consumer. Let’s face it, I love to shop. If I have an extra $20 in my wallet, I want to spend it. One place where I seem to have no self-control is Target. I will walk in needing a toothbrush for $2.99 and spend $50 on items that aren’t necessities in life. It happens every time. For the sake of this letter, I totaled up how much I spent at Target in the last month and it was $384. I didn’t buy anything special, and I visited the store five times during the month, spending an average of $76 each trip (I must admit, I was a little shocked at how much I have been spending.) I am not sure why I spend so much at Target — maybe it is the variety of merchandise, the deals or their stores are always clean and nicely displayed. I don’t spend a quarter of that when I visit similar retailers like Wal-Mart or Kmart — I get in and get out as quickly as possible, but I like to roam around Target and see what’s new. While I am only one consumer that is a self-proclaimed “Target Junkie” there are other people who have their own stores that make them weak in the knees. What can you do to build up your store’s fan base and get people to spend money every time they visit? While an extra $384 is not much on your bottom line, overtime it adds up and in this slow economy, anything helps. Find additional items that you could sell in your store like accessories or gift items. People don’t often look for new furniture every week, but they do like to update their accessories for the season or find unique gifts for family and friends. If your store starts offering different products outside of furniture, it will open your store up to new possibilities and customers and differentiate your store from the competition. Think creatively about what you can do to get your customers to come in for something small and walk out with a new bedroom set. This issue of Western Reporter is full of great articles on how to improve your store’s sales and sales team. There is also an in-depth article on WHFA’s Retailer of the Year, Jerome’s Furniture. Read their story and find out what has made them successful for the last 54 years. I hope you learn a lot from this issue and take away a few ideas to help you think creatively about improving sales. Enjoy — I am off to Target!

Melissa “Mel” Dressler Western Reporter managing editor

looking forward

to August 2008


J o u r n a l o f t h e We s t e r n H o m e F u r n i s h i n g s A s s o c i a t i o n

Topics include:


june 2008

Expense Management

Renegotiating Your Lease

Presorted Standard U S Postage PAID Permit #604 Sacramento, CA

Training Warehouse Employees

Last month’s feature articles are available online at

Staying Afloat in a Slow Economy ... and much more!

Western Home Furnishings Association 500 Giuseppe Court, #6 Roseville, CA 95678 CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED


July 2008


Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.

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beat Southern California reps honor Reed’s Furniture Reed’s Furniture was honored at the Southern California Home Furnishings Representatives Guild’s annual golf tournament and dinner. Dru Wickman, president of Agoura Hills, CAbased Reed’s, accepted the award for the company as 2008 Furniture Retailer of the Year. The tournament and dinner at the Yorba Linda Country Club raised $15,000 for the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles to further the charity’s efforts in helping critically ill children.

A Bold New Move in Home Furnishings Logistics

Introducing World Wide Logistics Responding to the evolution in the home furnishings industry, six leading home furnishing carriers advised by Sequence Investment Partners headquartered in Charleston, SC, have agreed to

merge operations into one new organization, World Wide Logistics. The new company brings together specialized furniture carrier Four Truckers of Morganton, NC; Furniture Transportation Systems (FTS) of Pomona, CA; Milwaukee Delivery Service of Jefferson, WI; Palmer Transport of Ontario, CA; Rudisill Transportation of Hickory, NC; and Warren Trucking of Martinsville, VA. Building on the strengths and reliability of each individual carrier, World Wide Logistics (WWL) covers the largest geographic footprint of any asset-based specialized furniture transportation company. With combined revenues of approximately $100 million World Wide Logistics (WWL) offers a onestop solution for warehousing, distribution and logistics management to meet all of the transportation needs of manufacturers, importers and retailers. Warehouses and distribution centers strategically located throughout the U.S., including four on the West Coast, one in the Midwest, one in the Southwest and three on the East Coast, meet the international and regional transportation needs of customers.

retailer notes from Mary Liz

Charity Events

Lulu, holds charity events. One of our Instead of traditional marketing, my store Leon & fited the local community theater company recent charity events, Decorating the Throne, bene uction, Urinetown – The Musical. We had Stagecrafters and was based off of their current prod a toilet seat company donate toilet seats, and then local artist decorated 30 toilet seats that we displayed throughout town. We sold tickets for the event that a we held in our store, and people could either buy ee V.I.P Cheap Skate ticket or a V.I.Pee ticket. Every ticket included unlimited bathroom access and the Cheap Skate tickets incurred a small fee to use the bathrooms. During the event, we held a silent auction and 100 percent of the auction money and 10 percent of all sales during the evening was given to Stagecrafters. Every year we try and do a different, fun event to support a local charity, and in the last two years we have raised $150,000. When we first opened our business, we did not have enough money to ed successfully market our name. Instead, we decid name store our to partner with local charities to get out to our customers without it costing a fortune.


July 2008


Mary Liz Curtain owner Leon & Lulu 714 Lexington Boulevard Royal Oak, MI 48073 (248) 288-3600 In our travels to visit WHFA members we ask questions regarding retail furniture operations that may provide ideas for other members to try. If you have a question you would like to suggest, email Melissa Dressler at

Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.

feature article

WHFA 2008 Retailer of the Year


estern Home Furnishings Association’s 2008 Retailers of the Year, Ann Navarra, Jerry Navarra and Lee Goodman all understand the importance of family. All three grew up in their parents’ and grandparents’ home furnishings businesses and operate Jerome’s Furniture as if every employee and customer is a part of their family. Jerome’s has grown and evolved since its doors were first opened in 1954, but the close-knit family atmosphere is still present. The family-owned business began when Jim Navarra and Alexander Strep opened the first discount furniture warehouse in downtown San Diego, called Strep’s Warehouse. The business was an instant success but came into hard times during a recession in the 1960s. While struggling, Jim bought out his partner and created the framework that would lead to the store’s future success. In 1968, he changed the name to Jerome’s Furniture Warehouse and Jim and his wife, Esther, began to build the foundation to their San Diego furniture empire. In the 1970s, Jim and Esther’s children Jerry and Ann joined the family business and over the years helped transform it into one of the leading furniture stores in the country. “We learned the business at the dinner table, and we did our time dusting furniture, sweeping floors and pretty much anything else around the store,” said Jerry. “I think we had a basic understanding of the business in our teen years even before we were professionals.” Having the second Navarra generation in the business added a new energy and through the 1980s and early 1990s, Jerome’s added four additional locations in the surrounding San Diego communities of San Marcos, Chula Vista, El Cajon and Scripps Ranch. “Our first branch location was in San Marcos, which is located in North San Diego County, about 35 miles from our downtown location. At the time, that area was growing very quickly, so it made sense for us to have a location there so our customers wouldn’t have to drive 35 to 45 miles to visit our store,” Jerry said. Today, the store is owned by Jerry, chairman, and Ann, vice president of finance. As a fourth generation retailer, Lee joined the business as president and CEO in July 2007. Having spent his entire childhood working in his grandfather and father’s store, the industry has become ingrained into his DNA. “When you grow up in this industry, it becomes a part of your DNA. It’s just in your blood,” he said. “My earliest childhood memories all involve my grandfather’s store and family celebrations at Washington’s

Birthday sales. The industry has been my family ever since I can remember.” Over the years, Jerry, Ann and Lee have cultivated a comfortable shopping environment and made furniture buying easy for their customers. By offering everyday low prices, onestop shopping, convenient locations and same day delivery, Jerome’s Furniture has become synonymous with retailing success. This great success, partnered with their successful business practices and commitment to the community is why Jerome’s Furniture is the 2008 Western Retailer of the Year.

Melissa Dressler managing editor

Furniture Superstores In the early 1990s, Jerome’s began to evolve the look and feel of each At a Glance store. The original Jerome’s Furniture was a warehouse operation that had Store Locations: San Diego, CA concrete floors and furniture lined Type of Store: Full-line up in rows. They came up with the Year Founded: 1954 furniture superstore concept, a place Number of Employees: 370 where customers can come and find anything they needed to furnish their Number of Store Locations: 5 homes. “In 1990, we made the decision WHFA Member Since: 1981 to change how the stores looked and Website: how the merchandise was presented,” said Ann. “We added carpet, color and Top Manufacturers: Wickline, made large, open vignettes. The stores Michael Nicholas, Ashley, First that were displaying vignettes were easy Ocean, Douglas Furniture to shop and easy for our customers to walk through and identify the items they wanted to purchase. The new design was also a lot easier for our sales staff to sell. It made the furniture look better and gave it more perceived value.” The stores were also named superstores due to their size. Before the superstore concept, the Jerome’s Furniture store in San Marcos was about 40,000 square feet and today it is 70,000 square

Strep’s Warehouse opened in 1954. Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.


July 2008


feet. “The reason we call them superstores is because we went from 40,000 square feet to 70,000 square feet, which is quite a bit larger. Today, all of our stores average around 70,000 square feet with the smallest being 68,000 square feet,” said Jerry.

Reading the Customer About 10 months ago, Jerome’s decided to make many changes to their sales process. Every salesperson went through new training classes that taught them the hard and soft skills of selling furniture. The training also focused on greeting the customer and learning how to read people. “We are trying to create a welcoming environment and make sure our customers feel welcomed and valued when they get here,” Lee said. “We are trying to balance the idea of service by giving them the amount of time that is right for the customer. Some customers need more attention and some customers need less, so we are spending a lot of time training our salespeople on how to identify different types of people.” Along with learning the new sales process, each salesperson goes through new hire training and their performance is closely monitored and tracked. If a person’s sales drop below 20 percent of the store mean, then they go through additional training. “We have many key performance indicators that we measure,” Lee said. “To help manage poor salesmanship, we put a program in place for minimum sales per hour. We are really focusing on salespeople who are 20 percent below the mean of our sales staff for a particular store. We bring them in to retrain and talk to them to see what we can do to bring their numbers up. We have had about a 90 percent success rate with the program, and it is a good process to go through to make sure everyone is in the right job for them.” Most of Jerome’s salespeople don’t need additional training and excel in their field. Many have been with the company for years and are able to share their selling experiences with others. “We have tremendous longevity on our sales crew, and we have many people who have been here 10 to 25 years,” said Jerry.

Jerry’s Price When it comes to advertising, Jerome’s sticks with what works. For them, it is using Jerry as their spokesperson. For the last 35 years, Jerry has been telling generations of San Diego furniture buyers about Jerome’s Furniture. In January 2007, Jerome’s made a bold move and stopped having sales promotions. Instead they focused their energy on having everyday low prices, also known as “Jerry’s Price.” continued on page 16

Jerry Navarra advertising “Jerry’s Price” in one of Jerome’s TV ads. 14

July 2008


Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.

Congratulations Jerome’s Furniture

Diakon Logistics is proud to be associated with WHFA’s Retailer of the Year. As a valued client of ours for the last 5 years, we appreciate the true partnership Jerome’s has created with us. We experience first hand the spirit and dedication of Jerome’s in providing its customers a retail experience that is second to none. Congratulations to the Navarra family, Lee Goodman and all the employees of Jerome’s Furniture for an honor well deserved.

Bill Jarnagin & Charles Johnson Diakon Logistics

continued from page 14

“Our new marketing plan is predicated on our belief that people will pay for service, and our service is convenience. What we have is one-stop shopping,” Jerry said. “Our stores are fairly large, so people could furnish their entire homes with one visit. Also, we try to have furniture in-stock, and we have a target in-stock goal of 90 percent or better, which we pretty much maintain, so items can be immediately delivered. Lastly, we don’t have sales, so it is the same price all of the time. People can shop when they want, whether it is at 10 in the morning or 9 at night, Monday or Saturday. They don’t have to be there when a particular item is on sale because it is the same price all of the time. So the customer can now shop when it is convenient for them.” Sixty percent of Jerome’s advertising budget is allocated for television advertising. This year they are also starting to experiment with radio and online advertising. “Web advertising and the radio are two new initiatives for us,” said Jerry. “We are doing pay per view ads on the Web where our customers are viewing flash media. Usually it is a 15 second spot before an online newscast.” The remainder of Jerome’s advertising budget goes to four page mailers. Through their advertising, Jerome’s is able to tell their compelling family story. Instead of focusing on sales and deferred payments like many of their competitors, Jerome’s is able to use

their history to pique their customer’s interest. “We believe we have a story to tell, a better story then our competitors. We have a story about Jerry being our spokesperson, the three generations of family, decades worth of vendor relationships, 70,000 square feet of furniture and same day delivery. We believe we can, and have, used the Navarra name to our advantage and nobody can compete with that,” Lee said.

The Best Seat in the House Six years ago, Jerome’s partnered with the San Diego Padres and created their Best Seat in the House giveaway. As a unique way of thanking the San Diego community and getting the Jerome’s Furniture brand out to thousands of ballpark attendees, they raffle off two tickets prior to each home game for field level seats on recliners provided by Jerome’s. “We have a drawing before every game where people can win those seats. The winner also receives $40 of Padres bucks and a grab bag with items like a baseball cap, balls, a sports watch — little goodies,” Jerry said. “It is quite a fun night for a couple.” The winner of the Best Seat in the House giveaway also gets to participate in the sports trivia game that occurs during the fourth inning for their chance to win a $200 gift certificate, Jerome’s recliner, or a queen mattress from Sleep Therapy or Simmons Beautyrest.

Congratulations Jerry Navarro! The Padres are proud to call you our partner.


July 2008


Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.

Delivery and Service For the last year, Jerome’s has offered its customers the convenience of enjoying their furniture on the same day they purchased it. If a purchase is made by 5 p.m., then the customer can choose to have it delivered to their home that day. “It has been incredibly successful, and it is a phenomenal tool for our salespeople,” said Lee. “It has also allowed us to be much more efficient in our warehouse.” There 390,000 square foot distribution center houses inventory for each store location. When a same day delivery order comes through, the distribution center receives a computer alert informing them what item has been purchased. The picker then finds the product and prepares it for delivery. Once the item has been delivered, the driver calls the call center and has the customer speak to a customer service rep to ensure, “the customer is completely satisfied with the quality of the merchandise,” Lee said. “We ask them about five to six questions to make sure they are pleased and if there is an issue for any reason, we can make sure it is solved that day. The customers really appreciate the calls and the fact that we took the time to ask if there were any issues. Some companies think it is crazy to look for problems, but we want to find the problems quickly so we have an opportunity to fix it and not lose the customer.”

Community Involvement As a long-time member of the San Diego community, Jerome’s is dedicated to giving back to the community that has led to their success. Over the years they have supported numerous local organizations like the Young Women’s Christian Association, San Diego Women’s Foundation and the University of California at San Diego hospital. They have also given away scholarships to two different private schools for over 15 years and helped the Natural History Museum catalog the work of the artist Albert Valentin. “The museum was sitting on 1,150 of his original watercolors. They didn’t have the money to catalog or properly store or put them on display,” said Jerry. “They were fearful that they would never be seen or there would be a fire and they would be lost forever. It was a treasure and we helped them catalog the paintings and get proper equipment to display them. Now there is a road show going around the country.” More recently, Jerome’s partnered with the San Diego Furniture Bank to support victims of the 2007 San Diego wildfires. “We partnered with the San Diego Furniture Bank which was established around the time of the San Diego fires,” Lee said. “In every store we created a sheet for people who could donate their gently used furniture to the people who lost everything. Also as the furniture bank ran short on donated furniture, we helped fill in some of the gaps by donating items. We also helped the furniture bank with any routing or logistics needs.” All three are also very active with various industry and business organizations. Ann and Lee are on the National Home Furnishings Association’s Board of Directors and Jerry has been a member of the San Diego Better Business Bureau Board of Directors for the last 10 years.

The Future



Jerry and Ann are looking forward to the next generation taking over the business. Over the last year, Lee has learned the ins and outs of the organization and Jerry’s sons, Jim and Mark, are both heavily involved in the business and are preparing for the future. Jim currently works in Jerome’s marketing and advertising department and is responsible for the company’s website while Mark is the director of supply chain and technology. Jerry would also like for the company to focus on continuing to run a smooth and successful operation. “I would like us to run in a style where 1. CPU Clearance Center Department. Front Row (l-r): Vanessa Wall, Maria Pedro & Carolyn Williams. Back Row (l-r): Tony Rodriguez, Roger Contreras & Daniel Sanchez. 2. Mark Navarra, director of technology and supply chain management. 3. Jim Navarra, advertising and marketing department. Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.



July 2008


we keep the business running so well that we end up operating our business better than anyone else,� he said. As for being named the Western Retailers of the Year, they all feel honored. “It is quite an honor. We have been in business a long time, and this is the first time we have been named Retailer of the Year,� Ann said. “We are honored, humbled and thrilled. It is quite an honor to live up to for the next generation.� Lee added, “It’s such a special feeling, frankly, to be recognized by the industry you love so much and enjoy being a part of. For each of our employees, this is a tremendous honor that everyone greatly appreciates.� With their successful past and bright future, this won’t be the last time the industry hears about Jerome’s Furniture. They will be making furniture buying easy for their San Diego customers for generations to come.


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July 2008



1: Jerome’s Furniture after receiving the 2008 Retailer of the Year award. (l-r): Stefanie Venter, Jim Navarra, Ann Navarra, Mark Navarra, Esther Navarra, Annie Manchester, Eleanor Navarra, Adeline Williams, Lee Goodman and Jerry Navarra. 2: Jerry Navarra and Esther Navarra. 3: Jerry Navarra, Ann Navarra and Lee Goodman receiving the 2008 Retailer of the Year award.

Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.

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Jerome’s Furniture WHFA Retailer of the Year

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Jay & Iris Byers owners Byers Guide


July 2008

oday, there is a new tool available for recruiting successful salespeople — your website. Yes, you still must have an effective interview process, but you can design a portal on your website that can provide you with more pre-qualified candidates to choose from. According to a recent Workforce Study, the average cost to replace a salesperson in the U.S. is 1.5 times their average expected income. Those are just the direct costs. Indirect costs such as decreased productivity, lower team morale and less consumer satisfaction are estimated to be three to five times the direct costs. As the saying goes: Do the math. Everyone wants and needs to avoid making hiring mistakes such as the “quick quits”, the “fast fires” or the just plain bad hires. As so many have already acknowledged, success in a retail environment is all about having the right people, which makes the job of recruiting, and more importantly consistently recruiting, even more essential to your store’s success. Clearly recruiting and hiring decisions are of critical importance. So why don’t most stores have a consistent recruiting and hiring process? There are no good reasons, but the reasons we most often hear, such as lack of time or it’s expensive, are inexcusable. Of course most stores don’t even begin the recruiting process until they need someone immediately, which is too late and leads to insufficient responses, a smaller pool of qualified candidates and results in poor hiring decisions. Hiring members of your sales team starts with your commitment to provide the consumer with the best possible store experience, and the beginning of that commitment is the recruiting and hiring process.


How can your website help make the recruiting and hiring process easier and more productive? • Prior to interviewing, candidates are prescreened to ensure that they are minimally qualified for the position. • Prior to interviewing or any other form of assessment candidates can be ranked based on preferred experience, attitude and skills information. • Use of your website is the answer to the question, “How can I afford to be continuously recruiting?” • The recruiting process can be standardized which makes it simpler to evaluate candidates answers and provides the opportunity to compare answers of one candidate from another. • Just the process of adding your website to your recruiting strategy will make your efforts more focused and the results more positive. • Use of your website to market your store’s brand message will attract more candidates from outside the industry.

Technology-based Recruiting What do you need before implementing a technology-based recruiting system? • Website: A functional, constantly updated part of your store’s success strategy. An understanding of how to use your website just like it is an additional front door entrance to your store. • Job Profiles: Knowledge, skills, work preferences, personality, etc.

Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.

• Job Definitions: More responsibilities than task based. • Sales Career Path: Path from entry level to senior sales positions • Mission Statement: Definition of who you are. • Sales Manager/Coach: To create, develop and grow the sales team.

Job Profiles To attract and retain outstanding sales talent, store organizations must focus on the “fit� and compatibility of new hire candidates to job requirements and store culture. Growth-oriented stores are diligent about measuring and identifying the profiles of its current “star� salespeople who are already achieving success within the store. Once these profiles are identified they are used as a basis for future hiring decisions. In other words, who on your sales team is successful today? Who exhibits the attitude, skills and personality traits (not just the dollars sold) you want to use as a basis to build the rest of your team?

watch a video from the store owner, HR person, or the person responsible for sales, delivering a dynamic, compelling recruiting message that both educates and inspires. You should know this message literally by heart because it is the same message that you call a mission statement, and it accurately reflects who you are and the way you do business B. After experiencing a powerful introduction to the store, the candidate can then select from a menu of available positions. Positions in the sales area should include everything from entry level sales associates to senior design positions; in essence providing a “career

One of these people had an HH “GRAND HH&A

Examples of Desirable Traits of Successful Sales Consultants • Ability to analyze consumers needs. • Manage the sales process. • Develops client relationships not just customers. • Adds value to consumer experience that influences the purchasing decision. • Consistently uses client development and followup skills. • Emotional resilience, ability to persevere, self-motivated.

Website Technology The use of technology to help stores source and screen new hire prospects from both inside and outside the industry is becoming more prevalent today. The best part is you can design this recruiting (career portal) part of your website on your own and tailor it to meet your store’s specific needs. Here are suggestions as to how to make it work for your store: A. Prospective candidates can now visit a store’s website, be directed to their career portal and “click� to Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.


...the other one spent a “GRAND� For over 48 years we’ve consistently delivered to businesses like yours shopping there! profits up to 50% over cost by

selling a year’s volume in approximately 90 days. We’re Hoyt Highfill & Associates, one of the largest, most reputable sales promotion companies in America. With your approval each step of the way, we organize every aspect of your sale, from our copyrighted advertising program and great inventory support by America’s finest manufacturers to our highly motivated, professional sales team of furniture experts who strive to uphold your professional image and integrity. Let our expertise, experience and energy make your “Grand Closing� sale a profitable pleasure!   sHIGHlLLCOM

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July 2008


path” which outlines how the store is committed to providing growth opportunities within the sales and/or design organization. Examples of Career Paths Sales Career Path • Sales trainee, sales associate, sales consultant, senior sales consultant Designer Career Path • Design trainee, design associate, design consultant, senior designer, studio designer C. After selecting a position from the menu, the candidate is then presented a brief “job preview” at which point they can self-select another position or opt out of the process before entering any identification data. Example of a Job Preview For each position on your store’s career path, create a brief, realistic definition of the position, the qualifications for employment, the training, the responsibilities and measurements of success. D. If they decide to continue, they enter some brief personal identification data and are then presented with a series of questions designed to determine their qualifications. Examples of Qualification Questions • What training beyond your formal education makes you qualified for this position? • How would you describe the ideal job for you? • Why do you think working for our company will help you reach your goals? • What qualifications do you have that make you a successful salesperson? They next advance to the “work preferences” section where they respond to specific elements of the position (some of which may not be appealing), such as: “You will be required to work weekends,” or “You will be paid commission based upon performance,” — are you still interested in this position? The person then clicks either yes or no to answer the questions. E. If the candidate answers appropriately to the “work preferences” questions they then advance to a series of questions designed to capture their education and work experience. Examples of Education Questions • What did you like best about school? Least? Why? • What motivated you at school? • Are your grades a good indicator of what you learned? • What makes you unique as a result of your educational experiences? 22

July 2008


Examples of Work Experience Questions: • Have you held other positions like this one? Tell me about them. • What special skills or knowledge did you need to perform your duties in your previous jobs? • What did you do in your last position that made you most effective? • What did you like most about your prior jobs? F. The last section of the sourcing and screening system will include a series of questions that assess the candidate’s skills and attitude. Examples of Skills Questions: • What is your selling process? • How do you plan and organize your selling effort? • When a consumer is procrastinating about making a purchasing decision how do you move the process forward? Examples of Attitude Questions • Describe your feelings about your work and career? • In your opinion, what are the characteristics of a successful salesperson? • If you were a brand name product, how would you describe yourself? For any store, implementing a technologybased recruiting system could reduce the costper-hire, time-to-fill a position, and turnover as a by-product of increasing the quality of each new hire. Furthermore using website technology answers the question: How do I continuously recruit when recruiting is so expensive and time consuming? This recruiting system also enables the store to create a resume database, track candidates, stay in email contact with candidates, schedule interviews, etc. Clearly technology is impacting the way we live and the way we do business. Using your website as a part of your recruiting strategy is a natural extension of how you should be using your website to deliver your store’s brand message. Yes, you still must have an effective interview process in order to make a final decision, but your website recruiting practices will provide you with more candidates to choose from and at a lower cost per candidate.

Byers Guide helps their clients identify opportunities for improvement and creates results-oriented solutions that meet the needs of the new consumer and the demands of today’s competitive retail store environment. Call (916) 972-8942 for further information.

Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.

Seven Essential Traits for Leaders


appy birthday, you need bifocals,” the optometrist said. At 42, it’s hard to get used to wearing glasses. They give me a headache as I constantly adjust my angle of vision and change my perspective. My perspective into the changing home furnishings industry gives me a headache sometimes, too. I’ve worked in and around furniture stores since the summer of 1986 when my roommate hooked me up with a job David Lively at his dad’s store so I could pay my share of The Lively Merchant the rent. Seeing that I’ve been around for more than 20 years, I’m often considered an “old timer”. However, being part of that younger and relatively small sandwich generation simply called “X”, I’m equally likely to be considered a kid. That depends on your perspective, whether you’re an insider or a newcomer yourself. In the past 22 years, manufacturing has moved overseas and technology has revolutionized our operations. Customer expectations and education have increased exponentially with the advent of the Internet and instant communication. But one thing that has not changed is the foundational aspect of the family business model in our industry. Even now, the majority of people employed in the furniture business work for family-owned and operated companies. The dynamics of this family model are under enormous pressure. Advances in medicine and economics have positioned the U.S. to be the first nation in world history to have four different generations in a position of influence at the same time, each with a platform to communicate and the economic ability to do it. The ingredients in this generational stew are capable of producing either the next high-flying success story or the next sensational failure. But which one? The million dollar question is, “How do you know?” Asking the question two David will be speaking different ways will provide the at 4:30 p.m. Monday, answer for businesses who are July 28 at the Las Vegas struggling to communicate Market in the Retailer their desire and passion between generations: Resource Center,

Building B, 16th Floor.


July 2008


1. How do you know you’ve tapped the correct person to take over the organization you’ve poured your life’s blood into? 2. How do you know you’re ready to take the reins — and the responsibility, authority and sleepless nights that come when you run the show? To learn the answer, leaders must manifest seven essential traits. I call them the Seven C’s: Calling. When your passion meets your vocation, you operate in your calling. By looking forward, backward, outward and upward you will identify your zone — where you love what you do and do what you love. Commitment. Your calendar will reveal your priorities and your devotion or dedication to family relationships, community engagement, corporate culture and fairness. Competency. Understanding the skills, knowledge and experience to be properly qualified and perform excellently will clarify standards, align teams, create empowerment and steer compensation decisions. Confidence. Your confidence will take you places beyond where your competence can carry you. Compare yourself to a trusted mentor to develop belief in your power and ability. Character. Theodore Roosevelt said, “Americanism is a question of principle, of purpose, of idealism and of character. It is not a matter of birthplace or creed or line of decent.” You can’t fake character. Your behaviors, words and actions must be integrated and complementary. Connections. Intentionally develop relationships in all areas of culture, not just within your industry. Honestly evaluate wounded relationships and mend bridges or build new ones. Charisma. This divinely conferred gift of influence cannot be faked, either — but it can be honed by practicing personal and corporate communication skills. Some of the Seven C’s come naturally. Some seem impossible. But all can be taught, and all can be learned. And all are essential to create a road map to a successful generational transfer of your family business.

For more information about Generational Transfer in family business visit or email David at

Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.


Web Clicks

Into Brick and Mortar Visits Char Domin director of marketing & PR CDS Solutions Group


July 2008


t’s hard to believe, that even today, after nearly 15 years since the first retail website went live, there are retailers still struggling to justify appropriating marketing dollars to their websites. Even more surprisingly, some still believe they don’t need a site at all. Let’s look at some hard facts that prove that yes, indeed, as a retailer, your website is an essential component of your company’s overall marketing and branding efforts. And you don’t necessarily need an ecommerce site to turn those web clicks into purchases. Your online marketing dollars will pay off in brick and mortar visits — and that’s what it’s all about. Seventy-four percent of adult women (home furnishings’ target market) use the Internet on a regular basis. Of those adult women online, 81 percent use it to look for information about a product or service they are thinking of buying (already motivated). This is according to a very recent Internet tracking survey conducted by Pew Internet and American Life Project. In essence, our market is ripe, ready and waiting for us to win them over. So, let’s show them what we got. When evaluating your online marketing needs, consider these key factors: Gain insight into the primary target market. No company can be everything to everyone. Companies that determine their niche in the marketplace (what differentiates them from the competition) and clearly identify their target audiences, can better create a site with a targeted message that truly focuses on meeting the needs of that audience. Devoting your


virtual real estate to specific, pertinent content will improve the quality of leads generated from online visits. Bottom line: Learn everything you can about your customers and your potential customers. Current, accurate information is readily available from a variety of credible sources — age, household income, home sales/value, etc., but don’t hesitate to conduct your own research, polling customers and enticing participation with discounts, special promotions, coupons, etc. Seek web professionals who are experienced in both design and development. Companies that work with web professionals who can identify with the audience and visually communicate marketing messages have a great advantage in creating a site that will be an effective tool and a key component to their overall marketing efforts. A developer’s technological skills are important, but without a professional looking, marketing-savvy web presence, viewers aren’t compelled to look further. Creating a highly functional site that is up-to-date and fresh will draw the customer in and encourage them to dig deeper into the site. Find a web partner who is a marketer, a designer, and a developer, and you’re well on your way to reaching your audience and generating greater interest and motivation to take the next step — a visit to your store. Know your competition. Know their site; know their store. Companies with a clear understanding of who their competition is and what they are offering (or lacking) can better highlight what makes them different and a better choice. Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.

Support web efforts with other marketing initiatives. Creating marketing initiatives that complement and support each other ensures a consistent message and reinforces the retailer’s brand. This comprehensive approach increases effectiveness and strengthens the visual recognition of the company. Now let’s focus on specific site features that serve as a call to action, motivating customers to visit the physical store. The first time a customer or potential customer visits a website, they immediately form an opinion. This opinion determines whether the retailer is credible; whether they like the merchandise; and whether a visit to the physical store is worth their time and effort. It is essential that a website accurately represent what visitors can expect when they visit the actual store. You never want your customer to feel misled once they arrive at your retail location. The homepage is key in setting the tone of the entire site. It must be inviting to the target market. Big, properly optimized, up-close and personal photos pull viewers in. Lifestyle photos help them identify with ownership of the product and determine whether or not the style and selection offered are a good fit for their family. Quality photography is essential. Work with

manufacturers/vendors to get the best possible representations of their merchandise and if you’re including photos from your own store, hiring a professional, commercial photographer is well worth the expense. You want the viewer to think, “Wow, I wish I could see more.” Changing the photos or the look of your homepage several times a year will keep it “alive” and keep customers engaged and returning to see what’s new. Many retailers find that seasonal updates (at least four or five times a year) are manageable and still effective in encouraging repeat visits. Navigating the site should be natural and easy. Too many choices confuse the audience. Companies that keep their navigation clean, with an appropriate hierarchy and no more than 5–7 links in a navigation bar most often have better click-throughs to other areas of the site. Determine the most important information to your target market, choose them as the primary links, and clearly label the links accordingly. Use expandable navigation or a secondary navigation to enable users to access more detailed information. Be direct — customers don’t want to have to click-through several links to find what they’re looking for or waste time trying to decipher what a “clever” link label is really trying to indicate.

@ continued on page 28 ACCESS EDUCATE CONNECT



National Home Furnishings Association Western Home Furnishings Association

Visit the WHFA website to learn more about the Retailer Resource Center (RRC). On the site you can access information about the RRC tradeshow exhibitors, educate yourself with the RRC seminar schedule and find different opportunities to connect at WHFA’s Internet Café and Industry Party. For a complete listing of RRC events, seminars and tradeshow exhibitors, visit and click on the RRC logo.

Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.



July 2008


continued from page 27

Offering special online promotions is a great way to benchmark the success of your online efforts. They’re easy to track and if done correctly, provide an opportunity to collect valuable information on your target market. By requiring the viewer to answer a few simple questions about their style, preferences, and of course, contact information (email, address, phone) etc., the retailer can personalize future marketing efforts to that individual customer. To encourage participation, ensure confidentiality. Customers need to trust that their information isn’t going anywhere, so prominently display a privacy policy. There are numerous email marketing and survey services available online that provide the tools to gather and collect customer information for an affordable monthly fee. Work with your web designer to implement this tool into your site. Providing value-added features to a site encourages return visits. It also places the retailer in the position of “expert.” Serving as a valuable resource increases your credibility in the eyes of the customer. Offering design and decorating advice, “How-to” columns, insight into the latest trends, or a blog with a designer on staff, are features that enhance the viewer’s experience. Even a simple, “Ask Our Interior Designer” email campaign provides enormous opportunity to begin a personalized marketing initiative with a potential customer. Again, if you don’t have the resources in-house, there are affordable services that provide content (articles, columns, Q&As, etc.) for a nominal fee. The “send to a friend” and “save as a favorite” features are very popular on retail sites and serve both the visitor and the retailer well. Not only do these features allow the viewer to save their selection or email a friend the item they’re considering (as they look for confirmation on their choice) but, it also brings another potential customer to the retailer’s site. Everyone wants to feel special. Implementing a customer loyalty program on your site whereby your online customers receive special value-added services or promotions can be very effective. It’s


July 2008


important to create true value from the viewer’s perspective. It has to be “enough” of an offer for them to take the time to fill out the contact information or create a log-in and password, etc. These are just a few options to consider and discuss with your web designer and marketing team. The best way to determine if you’re on the right track and providing the information and services your target market demands from your site is to ask them directly. Confirm your choices and the site’s effectiveness by inviting some customers to peruse the site before you go live (providing a gift or discount on a future purchase to encourage participation). Get immediate feedback and tweak accordingly. Once finalized, work with your web team to establish targeted key words — on a product to product basis — to optimize your search engine indexing. The more specific the key words, the more productive the customer’s search will be, and a more qualified lead will result. As an option, you may choose to create a plan for online marketing based upon results of indexing tests performed for the existing website. Appropriate search terms can then be submitted to top fee based search engines — Google AdWords and Yahoo Advertising — and results can be monitored. A well-designed website can serve as an effective marketing tool. It can confirm the retailer’s brand, deliver targeted messages, and most importantly, call the viewer to action.

Char Domin is a communications professional that has spent over 15 years creating and implementing costeffective marketing, advertising and PR strategies to create awareness in appropriate industries and capture desired market share. As the director of marketing & PR for CDS Solutions Group, the industry’s leading business software and consulting company, she is responsible for the company’s overall image, message, and brand perception, and leads all marketing and promotional efforts for the company and its affiliated products and services.

Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.


Q What motivates, invigorates and inspires you about our industry? A I love the design and creativity of home furnishings. I really enjoy finding


furniture with great looks, style and multiple functionality. Color really inspires and motivates me.


Q What CD is in your vehicle right now? A I’m interested in a wide range of music, so what do I have in my CD player

right now that really gets me? It would have to be the new Michael Bublé CD. Yes, that’s the one.

Q If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? A Italy, without a question. It’s my kind of place. I love everything about it. I

with Don

should have been Italian.

Q What are the rules you live by? A Treat people the way you would want to be treated. I also try to keep things on a

e th, tun er n o m Every ard Memb e o r into B o learn mo t A Q&A your WHF about members. board

positive note. I like my glass half full.

Q What most impresses you about a person? A I really like honesty. It’s rare today to have someone admit their mistakes. When that happens, it blows me away.

Q How do you describe yourself? A Self-starting, positive, passive and most of all grateful. Q Why did you join WHFA? A This is the easiest question of all. It was my destiny to become part of a greater

Don Lemieux general manager Naturwood Home Furnishings PO Box 128 Rancho Cordova, CA 95741 (916) 638-2424 x 321

good and WHFA is certainly that. Thanks for the opportunity.

Western Home Furnishings Association Las Vegas Market Special


Touch-up Products

Free Touch-Up Pen* Come see what’s new at the WHFA Products Store in the Retailer Resource Center at the World Market Center and receive your FREE touch-up pen.* We have added new warehouse, delivery, touch-up and lighting items to the WHFA Products Catalog at the same truckload pricing that you have come to expect. Many of these products are on display for you to see, handle and try before you buy.



National Home Furnishings Association Western Home Furnishings Association

Visit us during the Las Vegas Market at the Retailer Resource Center, Building B, 16th floor. Pick up a catalog and receive a free touch-up pen.*

While supplies last, colors subject to availability.


Las Vegas Market — Building B, 16th Floor

Call Jef Spencer, WHFA warehouse manager, today to place an order. (916) 960-0386 • (800) 422-3778 WHFA • 500 Giuseppe Ct., Suite 6 • Roseville, CA 95678 • (800) 422-3778 • •

Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.


July 2008


©2008 World Market Center Las Vegas LLC

Charles Ray & Associates designed by Candice Olson – Sofa

Breathing new life into your world.

Building C promises to be the grandest opening yet! World Market Center Las Vegas now has more than 5 million square feet of new vendors and new products—all located, for the first time, on one, spectacular campus!

To register and book hotel rooms go to July 2008



Welcome the new world. Contact WHFAto at or (800) 422-3778.



National Home Furnishings Association Western Home Furnishings Association

Retailer Resource Center World Market Center, Las Vegas

Building B, 16th Floor Building C, 4th Floor Space 476




Las Vegas Market • July 28 – August 1, 2008 At the Retailer Resource Center you’ll find business solutions, seminars and industry information to help grow your business as well as your bottom line. National Home Furnishings Association • • 800.888.9590 • 336.886.6100 Western Home Furnishings Association • • 800.422.3778 • 916.784.7677 World Market Center • • 866.229.3574


Now you have ACCESS to over 50 business providers at the two RRC locations:

ACCESS Visit over 50 industry service providers dedicated to bettering your performance and your bottom line. Check out and click on the RRC logo to view a complete listing of service providers showing at the two RRC locations.



National Home Furnishings Association Western Home Furnishings Association

World Market Center, Las Vegas Building B, 16th Floor Building C, 4th Floor Space 476 July 28 - August 1, 2008


ACA / Advertising Concepts of America American General Financial Services American West Worldwide/ZLN Argonaut Retail Axis 24/7 Marketing, Inc. B&B/CMK - Banker & Brisebois Advertising BA Merchant Services Bryant-Forney Associates Byers Guide Carmel Financial CDS Solutions Group Citi Retail Services Custom Design Software Dann Foley Design Design Management Company Discount Furniture Network Escalate Retail Furniture Training Company Furniture Transportation Group Furniture Wizard FurnServe Genesis Software Systems G & G Graphics Guardian Protection Products Guardsman, a business unit of Valspar GutSELL & Associates HomeDirect USA Hunter Douglas IAS Training JRM Sales & Management Kizer & Bender Speaking! Knorr Marketing Leon & Lulu Mail America MicroD Inc. Morry Dickter Associates Myriad Software & Consulting National Home Furnishings Association Profitability Consulting Group PROFITsystems, Inc. Showroom Technology, Inc. Sleep Trust Guarantee State Compensation Ins. Fund Storis Management Systems The Designing Doctor, LLC The Furniture Training Company The Lively Merchant TruckSkin, LLC Western Home Furnishings Association Western Retail Services Corporation Worldwide Logistics, Inc. list as of 6/3/08


Make the most of Market with FREE Seminars Building B, 16th Floor

Monday July 28

Tuesday July 29

Wednesday July 30

8:30 – 9:30 a.m.

8:30 – 9:30 a.m.

Identity Crisis in Cyberspace — The Cause and the Cure Linda Forte CDS Solutions Group

10:00 – 11:30 a.m.

He Shops, She Shops... Differently Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender Kizer & Bender Speaking!

12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Growing Your Business When Facing Challenging Conditions Philip Gutsell GutSELL & Associates

1:30 – 3:00 p.m.

10:00 – 11:30 a.m.

Why Sales Management in Most Stores is Just not Working Jay & Iris Byers Byers Guide

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. WOW Your Bedding Customer Gerry Morris Sleep Trust Guarantee

1:30 – 3:00 p.m.

10 Power Ideas to Keep Your Customers Close!

Removing the Invisible Killer — Lost Sales

Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender Kizer & Bender Speaking!

Brad Huisken IAS Training

3:30 – 5:00 p.m.

Legacy 1.0: Surviving Generational Change David Lively The Lively Merchant

4:00 – 6:00 p.m.

WHFA/NHFA Industry Party

Summer of Love Retailer Resource Center (RRC) Building B, 16th Floor


Thursday July 31

Friday August 1

Effective Market Research Equals Success

Capturing the Value Driven Customer

8:30 – 9:30 a.m.

8:30 – 9:30 a.m.

Brian Crozier CDS Solutions Group

John Egger Profitability Consulting Group

Mark Lacy The Furniture Training Company

10:00 – 11:30 a.m.

10:00 – 11:30 a.m.

Doug Knorr Knorr Marketing

Dann Foley Dann Foley Design

Fear or Fearless? The Choice is Yours!

12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

A New Calendar: One Year's Worth of Display and Promotion Ideas

Designers and Green Design

12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Color Stimulates Sales Margi Kyle The Designing Doctor, LLC

Mary Liz Curtin Leon & Lulu

1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

1:30 – 3:00 p.m.

David McMahon PROFITconsulting, PROFITsystems

Sally Morse Hunter Douglas

Rock Your Inventory!

3:00 – 4:00 p.m. Email Marketing Done Right. A Case Study: Mor Furniture

Ken Mahar Axis 24/7 Marketing, Inc.

4:30 – 5:30 p.m.

Your Salespeople Need Your Help Joe Milevsky JRM Sales & Management, Inc.

Jump on the eTrain

DESIGNER WORKSHOP 10:00 – 3:00 p.m. Designers Master's Class with Lloyd Princeton Design Management Company $100 REGISTRATION Limited Seating 0.4 CEU Credits

18 Great Creative Advertising Ideas

3:30 – 4:30 p.m.

The 12 Most Important Elements Needed to Build a Profitable Retail Organization Ron Wolinski Profitability Consulting Group Seminars and events in the RRC presented by: est.1944

EDUCATE Monday, July 28, 2008 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. He Shops, She Shops... Differently Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender Kizer & Bender Speaking!

Make the most of Market with

display, buying out competitors, moving to a new location, and the No. 1 way to grow your business with minimal investment. Discover the necessary steps to expand your thinking, business and profits. Hear the exciting case studies of clients that met these challenges and are still growing today!

1:30 – 3:00 p.m.

Men and women are different. But you would never know it by the way some retailers run their stores. A woman requires more from her stores of choice than a man does, but whatever changes you make to accommodate her, he will also appreciate. He just won’t tell you.

10 Power Ideas to Keep Your Customers Close! Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender Kizer & Bender Speaking!

This is not an ordinary seminar on how you can attract female shoppers. We’ll show you up-to-the-minute strategies to use immediately to ready your store for both male and female shoppers.

There’s a celebrated saying in the retail industry: If you don’t make dust, you eat dust. To be competitive today you have to be the dust maker; doing things that both surprise and delight your customers. You also have to do those surprising and delightful things on a consistent basis.

You’ll learn: •

Retailer Resource Center Building B, 16th Floor

What male and female shoppers like in a shopping experience, and what drives each of them nuts.

This seminar focuses on 10 things you can do right now to keep your customers close.

Why men like one-stop shopping and women prefer choice.

How to look at your store through your customers’ eyes.

How to treat your customers like guests

How men and women navigate your sales floor.

Why it’s the customer’s definition that counts, not yours

Relationship building techniques to keep customers close.

Easy ways to exceed customer expectations

How to anticipate customer needs

Stealth marketing tactics your competition can’t trace

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Growing Your Business When Facing Challenging Conditions

You’ll learn:

You’ll leave this seminar armed with the strategies, tactics, tips and techniques to help you keep your customers closer than ever before!

Philip Gutsell GutSELL & Associates

Come learn the seven strategic steps you can take to profitably increase your business: increasing your advertising in key areas, converting and remodeling unproductive displays, expanding your showroom, converting warehouse into


July 2008

FREE Seminars

3:30 – 5:00 p.m. Legacy 1.0: Surviving Generational Change David Lively The Lively Merchant

Four out of five family-owned businesses are led by their founder, but 40 percent will change hands in the next five years. You’ll hire lawyers and accountants to plan your estate, but will your company survive? In Legacy 1.0, you’ll learn barriers to communicating transfers of authority, the importance of transition planning and organizational stability and Seven C’s of Intergenerational Leadership.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. Identity Crisis in Cyberspace — the Cause and the Cure Linda Forte CDS Solutions Group

Craft your website to connect with your target market, fulfill your customers’ needs and differentiate yourself from your competition. Remember image is power — and “cyber-anonymity” can wreak havoc in a business. The personality of your website (or lack thereof) is vital. Online marketing has much in common with interpersonal face-to-face marketing. Your website can be your top salesperson — or wipe out potential revenue with just one click. Find out how to overcome the two biggest obstacles to success — invisibility and lack of credibility, by designing, implementing and maintaining a truly effective website that sends both conscious and subconscious image-marketing messages tailored to your audience.

National Home Furnishings Association • 800.888.9590 • 336.886.6100 Western Home Furnishings Association • 800.422.3778 • 916.784.7677



Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.

10:00 – 11:30 a.m. Why Sales Management in Most Stores is Just Not Working — and What to Do About It Iris & Jay Byers Byers Guide

Store owners and sales managers: Identify sales management changes you can make now that will increase your sales performance. Understand the role of today’s coach versus manager and key elements of their success. Learn how coaching benefits your sales staff and today’s demanding consumers.

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. WOW Your Bedding Customer Gerry Morris SleepTrust Guarantee

Discover how to get consumers to buy in a slow economy by turning reluctant customers into raving advocates! Learn the best tips and techniques guaranteed to increase sales. Delivering fresh ideas and new selling concepts to owners, managers and retail sales associates across the country, this seminar is not to be missed.

1:30 – 3:00 p.m. Removing the Invisible Killer — Lost Sales Brad Huisken IAS Training

This fun and motivational seminar will detail powerful ways to maximize your traffic, sales, and profits. In today’s retail environment, people come into a furniture store not necessarily looking for furniture. Customers are looking for a place and a person from whom to buy products. With the competition increasing from mass merchandisers, other retailers, the Internet, catalogs, and other places where customers can spend their disposable income, retailers must learn how to sell themselves and the store. We can no longer sit back and wait for customers to come to us; we have to do something to get them to come back repeatedly. We’ll share strategies on how salespeople can help “brand” the store, telephone campaigns, three responsibilities of a salesperson, company stories, customer follow-up, analyzing lost sales and much more.

Wednesday, July 30 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. Effective Market Research Equals Success

A New Calendar: One Year’s Worth of Display and Promotion Ideas Mary Liz Curtin Leon & Lulu

Brian Crozier CDS Solutions Group

Effective marketing doesn’t come naturally to most businesses. When reaching out to customers, many companies describe what the products are; explain how their products are better, and why customers should buy them. This is also how most salespeople make sales presentations. Too often, they leave out the part about how the product benefits the customer. But the only time the customer is ever interested is when you tell him how the products will improve his or her life. You can’t highlight your product’s benefits if you don’t know what your customers want. That’s where market research comes in. This seminar explores simple research methods to learn more about what your customers really want and to better understand why they want it.

10:00 – 11:30 a.m. Fear or Fearless? The Choice is Yours! Doug Knorr Knorr Marketing

With today’s doom and gloom headlines of mortgage foreclosures and lower consumer confidence levels, it is evident that the retail landscape has changed! What worked a few years ago isn’t working today. This change has caused many retailers to become fearful of what tomorrow may bring. In this seminar you will learn how to address the changes we are seeing today and how to turn fear into…Fearlessness! We will discuss four simple steps you can take to assure your success even in today’s difficult retail climate. Learn how to: 1. Differentiate your company from the competition. 2. Reduce costs. 3. Know where to invest your advertising and how to hold it accountable. 4. Build more loyal customers. Become a fearless retailer and turn it around in 2008.

Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.

12:00 – 1:00 p.m.


Your store’s promotion calendar should be as full as Scarlett O’Hara’s dance card to maximize your fourth quarter profits. Join Mary Liz Curtin for a look at her new calendar, based on a schedule of promotions, special events and marketing ideas. In addition, you will learn tips and tricks for publicizing and promoting the happenings in your store. Bring your ideas, too — prizes will be awarded for the best ideas.

1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Rock Your Inventory! David McMahon PROFITconsulting, PROFITsystems

Would you like an extra $370,000 per year from your inventory? This is the difference between a high profit operation and an average operation. With respect to GMROI, a 37 cent difference produces an extra $370,000 in gross margin dollars per million invested in inventory. You can increase cash flow even if sales are sluggish. Hear what the best managers do to maximize the return on their inventory and stay cash flow positive. Rock your inventory — don’t let it rock you!

3:00 – 4:00 p.m. Email Marketing Done Right. A Case Study: Mor Furniture Ken Mahar Axis 24/7 Marketing, Inc.

Find out why email marketing is the hottest sales tool available today. Your



National Home Furnishings Association Western Home Furnishings Association

July 2008


previous customers and their friends are a gold mine that you are ignoring if you are not personally staying in touch on a monthly basis and email marketing is the most cost-effective way to do that. In this challenging economy, using the most cost-effective marketing tool that has a huge response rate makes even more sense — but it’s not easy. See how Mor Furniture has created a world-class campaign and is reaping big rewards. Bring a business card for a free demo and have a chance at winning a door prize.

Thursday, July 31

4:30 – 5:30 p.m.

8:30 – 9:30 a.m.

Your Salespeople Need Your Help

Capturing the Value Driven Customer

Properly setting sales goals

Using measurements to coach improved salesperson performance

Creating a positive and fun selling environment

The keys to developing and keeping top performers

Dramatically improve your company’s sales performance

Every customer is precious. Learn to help your salespeople maximize their potential with every customer interaction by:

How do you get the value driven customer in your store? How do you make the sale? How do you keep them returning? This is a tough market but some furniture retailers are doing well by maximizing their customer’s assets and keeping the traffic count up. Learn what other retailers are doing to be successful in today’s slow economy.

Training and coaching

Stop by the RRC for details on our new preferred retailer program.

10:00 – 11:30 a.m.

Dann Foley Dann Foley Design

John Egger Profitability Consulting Group

Finding, interviewing and hiring the right salespeople for your company’s culture

JULY 28, 29 & 30

Designers and Green Design

Joe Milevsky JRM Sales & Management, Inc.

Don’t Miss Our HGTV Presentations

How do we keep up? More importantly, how do we make money with “green?” This seminar will give discerning designers more insight, tips and sources on the topic of green design. Learn the sales techniques to encourage your clients to live better lives with green products and bring your clients the highest quality and most sustainable products on the market. Come to this seminar and gain valuable information to go green and make more green.

FREE Buyers’ Breakfast in the RRC



Relax. Eat. Shop! Join us daily between 7:30 - 9:00 a.m. In the RRC World Market Center

Building B, 16th Floor





National Home Furnishings Association Western Home Furnishings Association

Start the day with WHFA! Western Home Furnishings Association


July 2008


Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Color Stimulates Sales Margi Kyle The Designing Doctor, LLC

Understanding the power of color is the key to increasing sales. Retailers, vendors and designers can all learn from the trends that are driving this new world that is rich and vibrant with color. Now more than ever, customers are inspired by palettes that appeal to their dramatic or playful lifestyles. Every sale starts with color — come and explore its direction up to 2010.

1:30 – 3:00 p.m. 18 Great, Creative Advertising Ideas Sally Morse Hunter Douglas

Do you spend the bulk of your advertising budget on newspaper advertising and just advertise discounts? Then this is the seminar for you. In this session, you will learn who your customers are, and how to target your advertising to attract the right customer for your business. Learn 18 great ideas that are low-cost and work

better than just advertising discounts. What is room-of-the-month and limo lunch? These are just two of the fun ideas that will be unveiled. Discover how to track sales and find out what advertising ideas work best for you.

3:30 – 4:30 p.m. The 12 Most Important Elements Needed to Build a Profitable Retail Organization Ron Wolinski Profitability Consulting Group

Are you too busy trying to do business that you don’t have time to manage your business? Are you trying to do everything yourself? Are your old process and procedures no longer working? Are you just putting out fires, rather than progressing? We will discuss the 12 key elements to building a profitable and successful organization. You will receive a road map on how to transition into a growing organization that’s goal related, not task related.

Friday, August 1 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Jump on the e-Train Mark Lacy The Furniture Training Company

Computers and the Internet are helping home furnishing store owners to better manage and operate every aspect of their businesses except for training their sales associates to sell more furniture. Furniture sales training has remained old school lectures from talking heads, boring and passive videos or DVDs, and books that never get read beyond chapter one. In addition, when training occurs it is usually “too little, too late” to keep new hires or under-performing sales associates from failing. This seminar will introduce furniture store owners and others to new 24/7, self-paced, interactive, multimedia Internet technologies to better train their furniture sales associates to sell more furniture to more customers.

10:00a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Designer Workshop — Designers Master’s Class - 0.4 CEUs In these lean economic times, the last thing you need as an interior designer is a class on color theory. What you need are tips and tools to give yourself a competitive edge in a tough market. This half-day Master’s Class session provides valuable, practical instruction on the topics critical to growing an interior design business, including: Marketing – Attracting the clients you really want Pricing – Charging the most you can do for each client Sales – Effectively sell product and service, after the contract is signed

Lloyd Princeton Design Management Company

Fee: $100 Credits Earned: 0.4 Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Register: For more information, contact WHFA at (800) 422-3778. Sponsored by: est.1944

Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.


July 2008


Mellow Out at Our Psychedelic Scene Tuesday, July 29, 2008 4:00-6:00 p.m. Retailer Resource Center World Market Center Building B, 16th Floor

Get your righteous VIP Party Pass in the RRC, man.





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ĂŠ f a C t e n r e t In FREE Internet Access

FREE Gourmet Coffee


ee Gourmet Coff

World Market Center Building B, 16th Floor

FREE Fresh Baked Cookies SPONSORED BY




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July 2008 Las Vegas Market Preview Experience the latest, newest and hottest in Las Vegas This Summer


hen arriving in Las Vegas this summer, buyers and sellers will truly find a “reason to believe” in the home furnishings industry and in World Market Center Las Vegas, said World Market Center Las Vegas President and Chief Executive Officer Robert Maricich. The opening of Building C, the third and most diversified building on the World Market Center Las Vegas home furnishings campus, is expected to bring a record number of exhibitors and buyers to Las Vegas this summer for the largest Las Vegas Market ever July 28 to August 1. Grammy Award Winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recording artist Rod Stewart will welcome attendees with a free concert and all exhibitors will be housed on the main World Market Center Las Vegas campus for the first time in the Market’s history. “The opening of Building C is an enormously important milestone for Las Vegas Market as a whole and for the buyers and sellers who are looking for new ways to reinvigorate their business,” said Maricich. This July, attendees will find more new designforward manufacturers and resources, more new ideas and product launches, more permanent showrooms and image-creating style. They will also find the latest in trend-setting and eco-friendly furnishings across all product categories. In total, the Summer 2008 Las Vegas Market will feature more than five million square feet of showrooms in three interconnected buildings and will boast many of the most prominent brands in the home furnishings industry. An exclusive selection of temporary exhibits will receive prominent dedicated locations within the campus, including the high-end Context, Living Green and Design and Living juried sections. The premium placement of these temporary exhibits represents World Market Center Las Vegas’ continuing commitment to the vibrant international, high-end, design and sustainability sectors of the industry. The ability to host every segment of the global home furnishings industry on their campus will radically change how people buy and sell. Market officials feel concentrating the Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.

Market experience will maximize productivity and convenience and will facilitate more showroom visits in less time while increasing connectivity between buyers and sellers throughout Market week. New product introductions will abound and the Summer Market will feature educational, trend-focused and design-oriented seminars and events throughout the week. Looking for the newest trends for the years to come? Be sure to attend The Forecast Series for a sneak peak of what’s hot in future seasons. Want to know the fundamentals of adopting sustainable practices into your business? The Brave New World Environmental Leadership Series will tell you all you need to know about going green. Special attention is also being devoted to help retailers capture more profits and better understand the increasingly important juvenile market. The Vegas Kids area will host two educational seminars and a special reception. In addition to Market-sponsored events and educational programming, Western Home Furnishings Association will feature dozens of business-building seminars throughout the week in the Retail Resource Center on the 16th Floor of Building B. And Las Vegas Market is chock-full of celebrity appearances and lavish receptions. Retail experts Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender, who are leading two seminars during the Market, summed it up best, “There is so much going on at World Market Center Las Vegas in July and retailers really can’t afford to miss it. As if having all your vendors in one spot — and a cool spot like Las Vegas — wasn’t enough, the Mart has a new building opening, plus great parties and daily gatherings to network and share business-building ideas with other retailers. Business seminars are always important, but when no one is sure about where the economy is going, business seminars are mandatory. Everyone needs ideas to breathe new life into their stores.” For more information or to register for the Summer Market, visit Attendees can also find a large selection of Las Vegas’ most prestigious resorts for less than $200 per night. westernreporter

July 2008


We live in a 3 dimensional world…

let’s design that way!

Design lifestyles… not just rooms, brings room planning and designs to life in an easy to use, interactive online environment. Create virtual ‘life-like’ spaces for the homeowner featuring ‘generic’ and ‘branded’ furnishings. Product finishes, styles, fabrics, window treatments, paints, flooring, lighting and much, much more can be changed at the click of a mouse in this virtual world.

Visit us at the RRC Building B, 16th Floor

Sign up for a free trial at

Accounts start at just $39 39.00 .00 a month – with no up-front or upgrade fees!

I f t h ey c a n see it, the y will buy it... Retail with

Create the ultimate buying experience. • Lift sales - show how an existing room will look with new products in it. • Remove objections - the fear of making expensive mistakes. • Captivate client’s imagination with a virtual guided tour on a big screen TV. • Quickly offer customers a very personalized experience.

Design with

It’s easy to design beautiful 3D environments. • Visualize the entire environment - furnish, accessorize, paint & sell it! • Design virtual rooms - in real-time, anytime, anywhere! • Simplistic drag-and-drop technology - begin planning in minutes.

Market with

Showcase your products online - with 3Dream. • Increase brand exposure - to retailers, designers and consumers. • Online showroom & design resource – featuring your latest products. • Introduce your product catalogue (and options) to 3Dream™ users.

Creators of The Board™ 800 449 9984

Simplify Your Business Life with WHFA Programs & Services

WHFA offers over 50 programs and services to help run your business. Call a WHFA member services rep today to learn more about how our outstanding retail business products and services might be of interest to you.


 In-Store Financing

 Mystery Shopping

 Bankcard Processing

 B2B E-commerce

 Cash Flow Management

 Performance Groups

 Equipment Financing

 Retail Business Consultants

 Cost Segregation


 Check Guarantee Service  Retailer Performance Report

 Business Insurance

 Store Procedures Manual

 Health Insurance

 Job Description Manual

 Workers' Compensation


 Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI)

publications & manuals

 HR Legal Advice

 Computer Software Survey  Internship Guide  Career Brochure  Advertising and Planning Calander

 Personnel Policy Manual Software  Health & Safety Compliance Review

human resources

 Office Supplies

 State & Federal Labor Law Posters

 Business Forms

 Pre-Employment Background Checks  On-Site Drug Testing  Performance Management Program


 Otis Spunkmeyer Fresh Baked Cookies

 Employee Retirement Plans

 Discount Paint and Customer Reward Program

 Payroll Services

 Employee Uniform Program  Business Cards  24-Hour Vehicle Monitoring and Safety Management System

 Online Sales and Product Training  WHFA's eNewsletter

 Long Distance Phone

 Conference

 Computer Purchase

 Academy

education & training

 Video/DVD Rental & Purchase  Management Development Institute

 Freight Discount Program  FedEx Shipping Program

 Sale-In-A-Box

 Import Container Program

 Direct Mail  New Movers Direct Mail  Customer Rewards Program

advertising & sales

 Truck Signage  Marketing On Hold  Website Development & Internet Marketing Service  Traffic Builders


freight & logistics

 Personalized Promotional Products

Start saving today! (800) 422-3778

 eNewsletter Program Western Home Furnishings Association

 Online Furniture Sales

Detailed descriptions available online at

program of the month

What Is Your Customer’s Experience? Discover with Mystery Shopping


ith many choices in the marketplace and consumers shopping fewer stores, consumers are depending on a memorable experience and a knowledgeable staff when making home furnishings purchases. How do you know what your customer thinks? How do you know about their experience in your store? Furniture sales continue to be very competitive so don’t you deserve every possible advantage that you can give yourself? Do it with the WHFA Mystery Shopping program. The WHFA program through Business Evaluation Services (BES) makes this process easy and you receive instant online results. You will benefit by: • Gaining insight into what your customers believe about your products. • Learning specific areas where your employees could benefit from additional training. • Increased profitability through higher closing rates. • Growing your repeat base of business due to superior customer service satisfaction. • Higher retention rates due to improved job satisfaction among your sales associates. • Discovering the need for training. Do you have continuous be-backs that you never see again? The truth is that what your customers think of your business and the service your employees are providing will make the difference between a one-time customer and a customer that will frequent your business on a regular basis.

Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.

To maximize the value of mystery shopping, you can use it as a tool to train Only $44 your sales staff to better serve your customers’ per shop needs. By taking this approach, you will also discover other potential areas that may need to be improved upon such as your employees’ current sales techniques and their overall general level of product knowledge. When you are able to uncover specific areas for improvement, you’ll have the knowledge you need to equip your staff with the necessary tools to provide the level of service your customers expect. After all, if you are not servicing your customers the way they believe you should, your competitor just might. Plus, after you have spent thousands of dollars on sales training, how else will you really know if your sales people are following through as you expect? By setting standards and monitoring customer service levels, you will be able to focus your training on meeting your customers expectations. The more satisfied your customers are, the more likely they will be to return for future purchases. The more knowledgeable your sales staff the more job satisfaction they will have. Business Evaluation Services can help you achieve the level of service that will ensure your employees are on track through WHFA’s partner to meet your goals of sales knowledge and customer service excellence. Call to set up your store-specific mystery shopping report today, (800) 422-3778.


July 2008


You’re the boss, we’re your bank. For merchant card processing.


Bank of America is your preferred merchant services provider. Take advantage of our reliable services, multiple terminal options, and the following preferred pricing for WHFA members.


Reduced discount rate on qualified Visa® and MasterCard® transactions of $500 or more.


Per item fee for Visa® and MasterCard® swipe transactions.

Call WHFA at 1.800.422.3778. Please mention promo code #415 to take advantage of this special offer. Or contact Denise Langham at 1.916.861.9283.

Certain eligibility requirements may apply. A surcharge will be applied for key-entered and other non-qualified transactions. Merchant card processing is provided by BA Merchant Services, LLC, a subsidiary of Bank of America, N.A. © 2008 Bank of America Corporation. 1

meet the new members New Members Who Joined WHFA in May 2008 Emmerson Furniture Co. Canon City, CO Founding Year 1908

Nielsen Brothers & Sons, Inc. Seattle, WA Founding Year 1947

Sedona Style, LLC Las Vegas, NV Founding Year 2005

Mattress & Bed Discount Center San Luis Obispo, CA Founding Year 1997

Old Warehouse Furniture Zillah, WA Founding Year 1985

Turnkey Furniture Murray, UT Founding Year 2004

Murphy’s Home Furniture Buellton, CA Founding Year 2006

Rocky Mountain Home Center Pinedale, WY Founding Year 1993

Your Mattress Store Tehachapi, CA Founding Year 2008


To join WHFA call (800) 422-3778 or visit for more information.


do you


recognize a

WHFA member they’re


smiling Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.

Bottom Line Programs and Services

Advocate for Home Furnishings Retailers Peer-to-Peer Networking

Education and Industry Resources

Simplify Your Business Life


Western Home Furnishings Association 800.422.3778 • westernreporter

July 2008


NEW WHFA PROGRAM Online Furniture Sales — MyStore


n these times when we get a customer through the door or onto our website it is necessary to make the sale. How do you combat the, “I’m just looking,” or, “You don’t have what I’m looking for”? Now you can give your customer a choice of thousands of additional furniture items through Discount Furniture Network’s (DFN) online sales program. Discount Furniture Network is a program built by furniture people for furniture people. With MyStore you receive a fully optimized website and virtual furniture store which allows you to plug into thousands of furniture items and a national distribution network. With this program you hold no stock in expensive warehouses, have free nationwide shipping, control your own margins and sit back and collect a marketing fee. DFN takes care of everything including managing customer service and collecting payments. What better way to add to your bottom line with virtually no expense or equity.

Let’s get started: You have three options available: 1. If you have an existing website, you can connect to your MyStore website (which will mirror your current site) with an easy transitional link from your website to the Discount Furniture Network site. 2. If you don’t like your website or do not currently have a website, Discount Furniture Network will build you one for free with everything you need to begin selling online. 3. If you are currently doing online product sales, you can still offer your customers more options with an easy link saying, “Didn’t find what you were looking for? Click here for more options.”

goal of 50,000 by the end of the year. The team of over 60 trucks will deliver straight to the customer’s home, set the furniture in place and remove the debris.

Service Issues Once a sale is made, a customer service representative from Discount Furniture Network will call your customer to verify they received their order (how many online companies do that?). At this time, their trained staff is skilled at identifying customers that have a “situation” with this big-ticket item. Because the goal is no furniture returned, if a potential problem is identified, DFN will attempt to get the customer into your store for further assistance. With this system in place, only 2 percent of sales have had a return rate. How many of your stores can claim that ratio?

Marketing Assistance The main goal of this exciting new program is to get customers to your website. All you have to do is market your site. Discount Furniture Network will even share their online knowledge on how to optimize your website, build search engine campaigns and properly use ad tags so you can track your marketing efforts. Now is the time to get started and add more dollars to your bottom line. Call (800) 422-3778 to receive more information.

Sample Product Base Price $100

Setting Your Pricing Once your site is complete you decide your own mark-up, thus determining your own revenue share — “marketing fee”. For example, one market may be able to sustain a 25 percent mark-up, where as another market may only be able to sustain a 10 percent mark-up (see “sample product” diagram). These percentages can easily be adjusted month to month. The base price offered by DFN is the lowest price they can offer to cover operating and software costs.

MyStore 1 + 10%

MyStore 2 + 25%

MyStore 1 $110

MyStore 2 $125

Delivery of Furniture Furniture comes directly from most manufacturers’ warehouses and, in most cases, is drop shipped to the destination address. The item can be shipped directly to a customer or to your store for re-delivery. By dealing directly from the manufacturer, it allows you access to thousands of furniture items you may not otherwise had the ability to sell. Currently 24,000 SKUs with the Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.


July 2008


BE BACK The Be-Back Bus Isn’t Coming Back!


ou have done everything in your power to give the customer a memorable presentation. You have developed a relationship, established trust, shared in the emotional reason why the customer is buying furniture, asked the proper questions to determine what is important to the customer in the selection of furniture, demonstrated the product based on the information learned and have finally asked the customer to buy. Then it happens, the customer gives you an objection. Customers say that they need to look around a little bit, or that your store is the first place they shopped, or they need to talk to the spouse. Believe me it happens to everyone. Rejection. Apparently, somewhere in the sales presentation something went wrong. If in fact, as we have determined, a sale is made based on trust and value being established, then it also must hold true that a sale is lost due to a lack of either trust, value, or both. Somewhere along the line, we have missed the mark. We end up half a bubble off of plumb. Whatever happened, our job now is to figure out what happened and to solve our customer’s reason for rejecting our presentation and the purchase of the furniture.

Brad Huisken president IAS Training

Objections The single most common type of rejection is an objection. If you have been in sales for longer 48

July 2008


than a New York minute, you have heard, “I need to think it over,” “I need to shop around,” “I’ll be back,” and “We’ll talk about it and let you know tomorrow.” Objections are as common as the hair on your head. By giving you an objection, that customer is telling you that they are not convinced. Something else is going on that the customer may not feel comfortable telling you. In many situations, a false objection is given as their ticket to get on the “Be-Back Bus.” You are in for a very long day and frustrating career if you spend your working hours standing on the corner waiting for your customers to come back on the be-back bus. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but although the bus always leaves, it very rarely comes back. Many salespeople give their business cards to their customers in the hope that they will actually come back in to see them. In reality, a business card could very well be a one-way ticket giving your customer the ability to leave, with no insurance that they will be coming back. Granted, in some cases, especially in the furniture business, customers do come back. The point I want to make is that as long as you have the customer in your store; give it your best effort to save the sale. The real frustration, and a fact that the professional salesperson has to realize, is that up to 60 percent of all objections given are in fact false reasons for not buying. Customers Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.

have learned that it is very easy to get rid of a salesperson by giving them the typical “I’ll be back” or “I’ll think it over” objection. I have never walked up to someone who is deep in thought, asked him or her what they were doing, and gotten the reply, “I’m thinking over Joe salesperson’s presentation from earlier today.” I have never seen or heard of a customer going home, turning the lights down low, pouring themselves a glass of wine, putting a little jazz music on the stereo, sitting back in the recliner, when the spouse comes in and says, “Honey, what are you doing?” to hear the response that, “I am thinking about the furniture salesperson’s presentation.” It just doesn’t happen that way. The customer has given you a false reason for not buying in order to get off the hook. Further, I contend that as much as 70 percent of the time when the customer gives you a false reason for not buying it very well may have something to do with the price. The customer is simply embarrassed to tell you that the price was too high or that the price was more than the customer wanted to spend. I find this to be particularly true in cross gender buy/sell relationships. The man with an ego doesn’t want to tell the sales lady that he can’t afford the piece of furniture that she was presenting. Therefore, the customer makes up an excuse not to buy. In some cases, the salesperson actually causes the customer to become confused and thus in turn the customer gives an objection. I find that many salespeople in the furniture industry tend to talk in terms of their industry jargon, or industry specific terms that the customer doesn’t understand. Should the customer not understand a word or a phrase that the salesperson stated, many customers won’t admit their ignorance, they will simply say, “I’ll be back” or “I need to think about it.” Believe it or not, many customers don’t know the difference between maple and oak. Some customers don’t know that a Davenport is actually a sofa or a couch. In other words if you, as a salesperson, are delivering presentations using your industry jargon with out explaining to the customer what you said, you may be causing the customer to give you an objection or false reason for not buying. It is also true that you may receive not one, but numerous objections throughout the process of completing the sale. Your customer may just have several concerns about your products and services. These will all need to be addressed in order to complete the transaction. I certainly wouldn’t purchase anything if I had unanswered questions or concerns about an item or service. Realize that you will encounter objections, and that your customers have the right to have the objections answered in a caring and professional way. We will be discussing two different types of objections in this article: 1. the stall, and 2. the specific objection. Your quest, in order to handle the objection and to save the sale, is to identify Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.

the type of objection that the customer has given you and to solve the situation. A stall may or may not be true. A stall objection can be identified as the examples I gave you earlier, “I’ll be back,” “I need to think it over,” or “I need to bring my spouse back” among dozens of others. Be very careful though, because a stall could very well be a true objection. If the customer really does need to bring their spouse back in before making the decision, that is a specific objection. You need to be very clever and use specific techniques in order to discover the true reason for not buying while being careful not to intimidate the customer. A specific is probably true. A specific objection is defined as the customer telling you certain information that they are concerned with, which is probably true. For example things like, “It is the wrong color,” “The length is to short,” “It’s the wrong size,” or “It’s the wrong shape,” could be specific reasons the customer isn’t buying. However, these examples could also be a stall and not truly the reason they aren’t going along with the deal. It’s up to you to figure out which it is. You will find that in most cases once you discover the objection is a specific reason for not buying, it is usually due to a poor needs assessment. You could have found out what color they needed, what size they wanted, or the shape they had in mind by asking more or better questions during the needs assessment. Your customer may even have an objection to the price of the furniture. People think that the price of everything is too high until value has been established. The lesson to be learned about price is that any money issue is a specific objection. However, an objection to the price is potentially an objection to one of two completely different issues either value or budget. The customer may not find enough value in your product or you haven’t created enough value for them to trade their money. If this is the case, they will need to have more value added in order to make the purchase. Remember, everything is too expensive until value has been established and that value is simply perception. On the other hand, the customer may find the value in the furniture, but simply not be able to afford it. If they can’t afford the price of the product you have shown, it would then be an objection due to a lack of budget. The strategies and techniques for handling price westernreporter


July 2008


objections based on value or on budget are completely different. You must first determine which of the two price objections you are dealing with. Many sales and/or profits are lost due to an assumption that the customer is objecting to value when in reality it is a question of budget. You may lose the sale completely or think incorrectly that you need to discount your products if you assume that your customer’s objection is budget when actually the customer has an objection to, or doesn’t see the value in the item. I find most salespeople handle objections one of two ways, both of which are incorrect. One salesperson may hand the customer a business card and tell the customer to ask for them when they decide to come back. In this case, the salesperson is inviting the customer to leave. The salesperson did not give a presentation with his/her best effort possible. On the other hand, a more aggressive salesperson may start saying things like, “What other information do I need to give you,” or “I told you this or I told you that,” or “If I could get it for you for less, would you buy it today?” The customer may take offense to a salesperson arguing, defending the store and the merchandise. The result in both cases is the customer will probably never come back even if they were intending to come back up to that point.

Remember the following important statement: No customer has never changed his or her mind from a “no” to a “yes” based on the information already given. Just as no trial verdict has ever been changed from guilty to not guilty based on the evidence already presented. In order to re-open the trial the lawyer must present new evidence. Your job as a salesperson is to present new evidence or new information to the customer in order to get the customer to change their mind from a “no” to a “yes”.

The Objection Handling Process There are seven basic steps to handling objections, both stalls and specifics. Through following these steps, you will be able to determine if your customer is giving you a stall or specific objection and what the true objection is. Once you have learned this information you can then fix it. By fixing it, I mean you will be able to address the customer’s concerns, quite possibly solve the reason they are objecting and make the sale. 1. Listen to the entire objection. The last thing that you would want to do is interrupt the customer in the middle of their objection. They are giving you their concerns, and want and need to be heard. Should you not listen completely, you may just miss the secret to saving the sale. In continued on page 52


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Overstockification of the inventory items. As you know, inventory is what makes you money. It starts with recognizing your best sellers, not just by volume or turns, but by individual GMROI and keeping those best sellers in stock. This is a great way to start controlling your inventory. Now pair that with identifying your dogs and move them out as quickly as possible at the highest gross margin attainable. Together, these are key tools that help you manage your inventory and improve your bottom-line.

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continued from page 50

addition, I believe that most customers have one defensive shield and you will want to repeat back their defensive shield verbatim. Don’t give the customer a new defense that they can come back with. Further, I don’t believe there is anything more important to a customer than being heard. 2. Acknowledge the Objection. By acknowledge, I mean you need to verbally let the customer know that you really heard their concern and are about to address the issue. Through repeating back the objection, “I can understand you want to come back,” or “I can appreciate you needing to talk to your spouse,” or “I understand that you are concerned about price” the customer will know that they were heard and that you can empathize with their concerns. 3. Give agreement. By giving agreement you will let the customer know that they aren’t in for an argument. There is, however, a fine line between agreement and agreeing. Should the customer say that they need to look around, agreeing would be saying, “Yes, you should look around.” By giving agreement the professional would say, “I can understand that you feel you should look around, it’s a big decision isn’t it?” As in every other step in the selling process, this step is designed to get the customer to say, yes. 4. Relieve resistance. Your customer may just have some leftover fear, resistance, or tension

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July 2008


in them that will need to be eliminated before the purchase can be completed. You can very easily relieve their resistance and ease their tension by saying, “Before you go, can I ask you a quick question?” By saying before you go, you are letting the customer mentally off the hook, however, you will still have them physically in the store. In this way the customer may be more willing to tell you the true objection. In asking, can I ask you a quick question the customer will always say yes, the issue becomes what is the question? I like to ask, “Did you like the _____?” The answer will be either yes or no. Should they answer no, then you have a chance to clear up any misunderstanding. Should the customer say yes, then reconfirm the beauty of the piece. “It is a gorgeous ______ isn’t it?” 5. Review NA=A/DA. Through reviewing the elements of NA=A/DA (Needs Assessment gets you Answers, so Demonstrate the Answers) you will be able to clarify that you understood exactly what the customer needed and wanted, and that you demonstrated those needs and wants. At this point, your customer could tell you whether or not the objection that they gave was the whole truth and nothing but the truth. For example, “How did you feel about the colonial look of the furniture?” If they say they liked it then reconfirm how the look will benefit them. Should they say that they are not sure then you can explain the benefit further. Should the customer agree to everything that you showed during the demonstration and confirmed it during this process, then confront them head on with, “How did you feel about the price?” The price will be either fine or too high. Should the price be fine then increase the value. 6. Increase the value. This is the time to pull out your cannon. Remember the customer may have to have more value added in order to complete the transaction. Back in the demonstration step you should have saved your best for last. It is now the time to pull out your most powerful FBA (Feature – Benefit – Agreement Question). Remember that your most powerful cannon may be another company story. For example: I also wanted to mention that we have free fabric protection, or free delivery, etc. Should the price be too high then address the price. 7. Address the price. Now, and only now, is the time to address the price issue. It is also the time to determine whether the price concern is in fact a question of value or budget. The following question is the single most effective way to determine which price objection you need to address. Is the price of this particular ______ too high, or is it more than you wanted to spend today? “Is the price of this particular item too high,” will tell you if it is a question of value. “Is it more than you wanted to spend,” will tell you if it is question of budget.

Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.

If they respond that the price of the item is too high, (value) then it is time to add value with your most powerful FBA or company story. Through “is it more than you wanted to spend today,” they will tell you if it is a question of budget or money. If they respond that the price of the particular item is too high, it is up to you to fix it. How you fix it is different for every customer. You may need to show them a less expensive item, or add value to the item. Sell the lower-priced item on its own merit, with its own FBAs that fit the needs of the customer. They may ask you, “Does it have this?” or “Does it have that?” The only answer is “No, unfortunately it doesn’t”. You certainly wouldn’t want to say, “You get what you pay for,” or any other condescending statements liable to make your customer uneasy. If they really want the features and benefits of the higher-priced item, figure out a way for them to have it. A little value and creativity can go a long way. If they respond, “It is more than I wanted to spend,” you will know that the item is not within their budget. Now is the time to ask the question, “How much did you want to spend?” Their answer will tell you what you need to do next. They will say, “I didn’t want to spend over ‘X’ amount of money.” You can then show your customer an item that fits their budget and make the sale.

A key to handling objections is to realize that you may uncover the true objection at any point during the objection-handling process. Once the true reason for not going ahead with the transaction has been determined, the only answer is to fix it. You will either need to add value with a new reason to buy, (add some additional or your most powerful FBAs, or sell the store more), or address the price issue and close the sale again. Will this process work every time? No, but I assure you that you will handle more objections and close many more sales with this method than saying here is my card — or “What would it take for you to buy this furniture today?”

Author, trainer, consultant, and speaker Brad Huisken is president of IAS Training. Brad authored the books “I’M a salesman! Not a PhD.” and “Munchies For Salespeople, Selling Tips That You Can Sink Your Teeth Into.” He also developed the PMSA Relationship Selling Program, the PSMC Professional Sales Management Course, The Mystery Shoppers Kit, The Employee Handbook and Policy & Procedures Manual, The Weekly Sales Training Meeting video series along with Aptitude Tests and Proficiency Exams for new hires, current sales staff and sales managers. In addition, he publishes a free weekly newsletter called “Sales Insight” For a free subscription or more information contact IAS Training at (800) 248-7703, or fax (303) 936-9581.


Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.


July 2008


Firing Up Your Salespeople in a Down Economy

Don’t Worry, Be “Happy”


hould we all just put up the white flag or throw in the proverbial towel? It seems like a lot of sales teams have if my recent mystery shopper experiences are any indication. Sure we can self justify our “SAD”, namely “Stressed, Agonized, Depressed” attitudes, I mean everybody knows traffic is off and sales stink. Is anybody else besides me getting tired of the “pity party” yet? There was a tag line from an old song that popped into my mind the other day that I used to think was pretty shallow and sappy, “Don’t worry, be HAPPY”. However being a guy who loves acronyms way too much (you knew that I was addicted from the first paragraph) it got my mind thinking about how I could summarize a few key principles, that can motivate us and our salespeople, in a simple way. Get this: Honesty, Accountability, Productivity, Profitability, Yagottawanna. I know that last one is a stretch until I get a chance to defend it along with the rest but at least it spells HAPPY instead of SAD. Let’s get one thing out of the way before I continue. Probably the most frequent question retailers have been asking me over the course of my 16-year career as a sales trainer and consultant in this industry is some form or fashion of the question “How do you motivate people?” My consistent answer has always been “Hire motivated people.” I know on one level that sounds tongue-in-cheek, but it is so true in my experience. Yes, you can have some influence in the short run with chronically unmotivated people, but what a pain in the butt and

Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.

a huge emotional drain it is to have to constantly be trying to pump people up. I know… you may be a creative cheerleader and have good emotional reserves to regularly deal with negative or unmotivated behaviors. Perhaps you can consistently squeeze more performance out of your salespeople than you could otherwise if you were not week in, week out giving the “rah-rah” speeches at sales meetings. But, if you really want to restart your motivational engines with your salespeople and also unify a more professional effort in behalf of your customers, then you first and foremost need to likely reclaim the value of strict honesty. There are many facets and applications of this principle that play out negatively in your stores if ignored. Case in point, I recently worked with a client whose sales teams have become bogged down by infighting over commission splits related to the dishonest behavior of certain individuals. This had become particularly acute in the current slow down and seemingly exacerbated by ineffective sales management responses. In general, the typical response seems to be an effort to try to close every loophole for every different circumstance that arises, of which there seems to be a bottomless pit. This tends to result in UP System Policy documents that begin to resemble the tax code (which now numbers 67,000 pages!). This in turn becomes a never ending game for dishonest people who will always find a way to beat the system and is also a big morale and trust bust for those who are trying to play by all the rules. My recommendation would be to simplify the westernreporter

Steve Smith vice president of sales Profitability Consulting Group

July 2008


sales management approach and be guided by just a few principles directed towards your fundamentally honest salespeople, namely: customer-focus, team play, and the long-term view or “what goes around comes around.” For those who tend to be dishonest, there will never be enough rules to enforce honest behavior. They need to be invited to “go work for the competition.” This leads us to the principle of accountability. You naturally expect your salespeople to be honest, trustworthy, motivated and to be team players. However there is an old saying, “People respect what you inspect, not what you expect.” Unless you invest enough time in observing the salespeople on the sales floor to see whether or not professional behavior and courtesy are really happening, let alone if they are executing the right behaviors with customers, then you are probably just “straightening deck chairs on the Titanic” and your morale will invariably sink lower on your sales team. A sales manager’s job fundamentally focuses on just “numbers” and “behaviors”. It is interesting to note in reference to my client that as these issues have mushroomed through the first quarter of this year, their close ratio has dropped by four points and their average sale slid $50 even though their foot traffic increased by 13 percent. Unfortunately, my client who suffered the drop in their productivity numbers had not been holding their sales managers accountable for investing in a consistent level of floor observation, let alone documenting those observations. Consequently, they did not have the clarity they needed for understanding why their numbers were trending down. Similarly, because they had no observational notes that might have shown patterns of dysfunctional behavior they were left to struggle with many “he said, she said” negative interactions. Let’s now dovetail honesty and accountability and showcase the joint impact on productivity and profitability in our stores. To me, honesty and accountability blend into a powerful trust connection that can not only be understood, but actually measured. The CoveyLink Worldwide people really get this and it would be worth your time to visit the site at and take their free Organizational Trust Audit. They argue that because we tend to view trust as simply a perception, or a hidden variable that is difficult to understand let alone measure or improve, we miss a huge opportunity to understand the economics of trust. According to them, simply stated, “Trust always affects two measurable outcomes: speed and cost.” What is the cost of ignoring honesty, accountability and other high leverage trust issues? As Columbia Business School Professor John Whitney says, “Mistrust doubles the cost of doing business.” When we expect and manage with truth and trust in a timely fashion, not only do we prevent the erosion of morale 56

July 2008


and unity, we often boost their effects in our store. I like Stephen M.R. Covey’s metaphor about this in his book, The Speed of Trust. He says that when we get at the heart of trust with each other, then we enjoy the benefits of a trust “dividend”. When we don’t we suffer a trust “tax”, it can dramatically slow down the productivity and the profitability of our business. Obviously, we can ill afford to pay any trust taxes in tough times. Most of us can intuitively connect the principles of honesty and accountability to our bottom line impact on profitability, but often get derailed by the “top line”, which is our attitude. Choose your favorite cliché, or saying, that gets you motivated and moving in the right direction. “PMA — Positive Mental Attitude,” or “Your attitude determines your altitude,” or “Do It, Do It Right, Do It Right Now,” etc. Currently, mine is “YAGOTTAWANNA”. The point is you have to make an attitude choice everyday. I invite you to choose to be “HAPPY” instead of “SAD”. Then let that attitude drive your courage to make the necessary changes with honesty and accountability that will not only improve motivation and morale, but ultimately profitability. Maybe that song makes more sense after all… “Don’t worry, be HAPPY.” Steve Smith is vice president of sales for Profitability Consulting Group. He entered the furniture industry in 1990 and is now known as one of the industry’s elite trainers. He has delivered extensive sales and sales management workshops to hundreds of furniture store owners and managers, and has trained thousands of furniture retail salespeople on how to best execute the most current, cutting-edge, sales techniques. You can contact Steve at (801) 763-7663, or visit the Profitability Consulting website at

Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.

CONGRATULATIONS! To the Entire Staff at


WHFA 2008 Retailer of the Year

and Loyal Escalate Retail Client, on Your Outstanding Achievement!

WHFA 2008 Conference & Expo WH F A


2008 conference & expo tucson

Fun, Education and Friends Discovered in Tucson


s WHFA’s 2008 conference attendees pulled up to the sprawling Loews Ventana Canyon Resort nestled in the Catalina Mountains in Tucson, AZ, there was a buzz of excitement in the air. What would this new conference format entail? Who was attending? When can I meet Jack? Would Rod Tucson make an appearance? With these questions looming, attendees were sure of three things — there would be plenty of fun, education and new friends. Early Sunday morning, 40 attendees started off their fun with 18 holes of golf on the beautiful Mountain Course at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort. Jaws dropped at the beauty of the third hole, where golfers had to drive the ball over a canyon of rocks and cacti. The winning team was Terry Mullinax, The Mattress Outlet, Steven DeHaan, National Home Furnishings Association, and Todd Hutchinson, ServerLogic, Corp. While the golfers were out on the greens, other attendees decided to fulfill their need for speed at the P1 Kart Racing or explore the natural beauty of Arizona at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. The conference officially started with a one-of-a-kind charity event, Build-a-Bike and Learn to Build a Better Relationship with Your Community Opening Session, where the famed Rod Tucson made his first appearance. (For more information about the Build-a-Bike event, see page 59). After building 32 bikes for the Tucson kids, attendees headed to the Welcome Dinner under the warm Tucson sky. Retailers enjoyed dining stations that provided fajitas with handmade tortillas and delicious sautéed shrimp while meeting new friends and sharing stories about their stores. Three-time Emmy Award winner, Jack Gallagher, sponsored by Serta Mattress, made his first appearance as conference emcee and had the crowd laughing with his stand-up routine. After dinner, attendees headed to the Late Night Lounge, sponsored by American General Financial Services. Once inside the LNL, retailers lounged on cozy furniture provided by aspenhome and were able to share their vocal talents on the karaoke machine during the Desert Idol contest or challenge a fellow retailer to a Wii bowling match. Julane Whalen, Color Ad, wowed the crowd with her rendition of Gloria Gaynor’s, “I will Survive,” and was crowned the winner of Desert Idol. With everyone having so much fun and taking their turn playing on the Wii and singing, the party didn’t stop until early the next morning. Early Monday morning, attendees were fired up to start in on the meat of conference — the education. After a scrumptious breakfast, retailers headed off to their sessions. Speaker Brad Huisken’s Retail Selling Jeopardy session was a hit with retailers and brought out their competitive nature. Others attended Scott Toland’s energizing session on Inside-Out Marketing: A View form Your Customer’s Perspective and walked away with great marketing ideas to improve business. “I really liked Scott Toland’s session,” said Valerie Watters, Valerie’s Furniture & Accents. “I liked his strategies, ideas, enthusiasm and he makes you think about exciting new ways to market and advertise your business.”




continued on page 61


July 2008


Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.

do good

Ready. Set. Build! WHFA Conference Attendees Build 32 Bikes for the Boys and Girls Club of Tucson

On Sunday afternoon, conference attendees braved the hot, Arizona sun and followed the booming music to the tennis courts at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort. Once there, attendees were handed colored bandanas which grouped them into 16 teams for the Build-a-Bike and Learn to Build a Better Relationship with Your Community Opening Session, sponsored by Powell Company. After each group was assembled, they were informed of their mission of the day — to build 32 children’s bikes that would be donated to the Boys and Girls Club of Tucson. As the announcer said, “Go,” each team excitedly began to build two Huffy bikes. “I really enjoyed the Build-a-Bike event, and it was a great way to start conference because you were able to meet other attendees, learn how to build a bike and hold your own charity event and give back to others,” said David Fendrich, Brenner’s Furniture. During the bike building, team members were asked to participate in tricycle races and rubber tire throws. Each team also created cards to be given to the children recipients, congratulating them on their hard work and bike safety. At the end of the event, each team presented their bikes to John McDowell from the Boys and Girls Club of Tucson. In the end, 32 bikes (16 boys and 16 girls) were assembled and donated to the deserving children of the Boys and Girls Club. “The Powell Company was happy to sponsor and participate in the Builda-Bike Charity event at the WHFA Conference,” said Gary Glick, senior VP of sales for Powell Company. “It was a wonderful event for a great cause and a whole lot of fun knowing that the bikes were going to be given to boys and girls that earned them through hard work and community participation.”







1. Conference attendees have a ball dancing the night away at the first ever Late Night Lounge. 2. Conference emcee, Jack Gallagher, introducing the Build-a-Bike event. 3. 2008 Golf Tournament First Place Team. (l-r) Todd Hutchinson, SeverLogic, Corp., Steve DeHaan, National Home Furnishings Association and Terry Mullinax, The Mattress Outlet. 4. Tracie Klein, Heather Hanley and Joni Brooks, The Tin Roof, at the Welcome Dinner. 5. Howard Haimsohn, Lawrance Contemporary, and Nick Benedetti, Hafer’s Home Furnishings, building a girl’s bike for the Boys and Girls Club. 6. One team’s safety poster. Each team created posters promoting bike safety that would be presented to the kids of the Boys and Girls Club. 7. Light Blue Team (l-r): Michelle Cramer, Cramer’s Home Furnishings, Robert Myers, Ashley Furniture HomeStore, Shelley Burris, Fiesta Furnishings, and Vera Myers, Ashley Furniture HomeStore. 8. George Nader, Nader’s LaPopular Furniture Store, tests out one of the bikes. 9. Billy Benton, Powell Company, races against other attendees during the tricycle races. 10. Valerie Watters, Valerie’s Furniture & Accents, shows off the card she made for the kids at the Boys and Girls Club.

continued from page 58

Perhaps one of the most insightful sessions of the day was the Town Hall Discussion — Confessions of a Female Consumer. Facilitated by Jody Seivert and Toland, conference attendees were able to ask their questions to a panel of four female consumers and find out their likes and dislikes in their furniture shopping experience — from what types of advertising gets them into a store to what they expect out of a return policy. Retailers were then off to participate in the first of three sessions of Retailer-to-Retailer Roundtables. Always a conference favorite, each session was extended for more idea sharing and generating time. “I enjoy the roundtables the best because I think it is good to hear what others are doing in their stores,” said Sally Servido, Silverado Home & Design. “I received many great ideas from other retailers on how to save money in my store and plan on implementing some of those ideas when I return home.” When retailers weren’t attending educational sessions, they visited the all new Expo, where vendors were found demonstrating new products and services along with raffling off fun giveaways. Tuesday morning gave retailers another fresh breath of education with a variety of sessions. Seivert had attendees visualize their futures while lying on mats and envisioning their goals. Steve Taylor gave retailers an inside perspective on Generation Y and Mary Liz Curtain entertained and educated her audiences in two sessions with her dynamic enthusiasm and an occasional flying monkey.



continued on page 62

1. Jeff Lindsley, Lindsley’s Home Furnishings, explores the Expo. 2. Former Olympian, Vince Poscente, presenting the closing session, “The Age of Speed.” 3. Attendees of “The Age of Speed” getting into their speed skiing stance. 4. Roy Gray, Davis Furniture, Alan Hurtado, David’s TV & Appliance, and Lael Thompson, Sonshine Furniture Today/Broyhill Home, participating in the Retailer-toRetailer Roundtables. 5. Tamara Scott-Anderson, Contents Interiors, Mike McColm, Neuvie, Carol Bell, Contents Interiors, Howard Haimsohn, Lawrance Contemporary at the Late Night Lounge. 6. Desert Idol winner, Julane Whalen, Color Ad.




Citi Retail Services Walk-a-thon Proceeds Benefited Boys and Girls Club of Tucson



How many miles will WHFA Events Director Cindi Williams walk while she is at conference? This was the topic of many conversations — attendees were able to participate in the Citi Retail Services Walk-a-thon and for $10 make a guess at how many miles she would log during the three-day conference. The person with the closest estimate would split the pool, with the remainder of the money going to the Boys and Girls Club of Tucson. The final tally was announced during the closing Retailer of the Year Gala. Cindi walked a total of 31.832 miles and Howard Haimsohn, Lawrance Contemporary, San Diego, CA won the contest. Guessing 30.74 miles, Haimsohn graciously declined the award prize of $115 and donated the entire $330 to the Boys and Girls Club of Tucson.

continued from page 61

“I really enjoyed Mary Liz’s and Jody’s enthusiasm and content in each session,” said David Fendrich, Brenner’s Furniture. “There were so many great sessions to choose from, it was hard to see them all.” The closing session, The Age of Speed, with Vince Poscente, not only had people thinking about their life and business but his inspirational message brought tears to many people’s eyes. As a former Olympian, Poscente shared with the audience his own triumphs and tribulations and told the audience to embrace speed. At the end of the session, retailers lined up to receive their own autographed copy of Poscente’s bestselling book, The Age of Speed. With all of the educational sessions completed, retailers were ready for one last celebration — The Retailer of the Year Gala. Set outdoors in the Coyote Corral, attendees arrived in their best denim and diamonds outfits and were ready to kick up their heels and celebrate a great conference and a great retailer, Jerome’s Furniture. Before the Retailer of the Year award presentation, the $1,000 raffle giveaway winner was announced. All full registrants were eligible to win the prize and the winner was Greg DiSabato, American General Financial Services. Howard Haimsohn presented the Retailer of the Year award to his friends, and fellow competitors, Jerome’s Furniture (see page 13 to learn more about WHFA’s 2008 Retailer of the Year, Jerome’s Furniture). Jerry Navarra, Ann Navarra and Lee Goodman accepted the award on behalf of Jerome’s Furniture and were honored to be included in such a wonderful event. The evening closed with new friends dancing to the sounds of Mogollon and having a great time. “We had a lot of fun at conference, and the band was great on the final night,” said first time conference attendee, Kevin Rife, Rife’s Home Furnishings. “We are already looking forward to next year’s conference in Maui.” As the moon rose over the picturesque mountains, there was a feeling in the air — these people aren’t just friends, they are family. As the furniture industry family said goodbye to one another they knew they would soon see each other again — next year in Maui. Aloha! To see more conference photos, visit



1. Michelle and “Sheriff” Marty Cramer, Cramer’s Home Furnishings, at the Denim and Diamonds Retailer of the Year Gala. 2. Jeff and Angela Lindsley and Heidi and Russ Lindsley, Lindsley’s Home Furnishings, at the Denim and Diamonds Retailer of the Year Gala. 3. The crowd enjoying the Retailer of the Year presentation. 4. Andree Dempsey, Valerie’s Furniture & Accents, Margie Jacobs, WHFA, Valerie Watters, Valerie’s Furniture & Accents, Kris Steinhilber, Valerie’s Furniture & Accents, and Karen Hunter, Knock on Wood, kicking up their heels at the Denim and Diamonds event. 5. Terry Mullinax, The Mattress Outlet, Rod Tucson, Chuck and Sharon Kill, Bedmart and Bob Sherman, Serta Mattress 6. Patricia and Ron Sellers, Escalate Retail, Lee Goodman, Jerome’s Furniture, and Joe Lapekas, TruckSKIN, LLC.



4 5 62

July 2008


Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.

WHFA Board of Directors Gather in Tucson for Spring Board Meeting


efore anyone was able to build a bike, or meet Rod Tucson during the May 18 – 20 conference, your all-volunteer Board of Directors spent two days meeting and providing direction for the association. This dedicated group of professionals worked diligently on approving new association programs, reviewing finances, membership and the future of the association. On Saturday, the Board was given a special presentation on the NHFA/HGTV Preferred Retailer Program. This exciting alliance between NHFA/WHFA and HGTV offers three primary objectives: • Increase consumer confidence in purchasing furniture • Grow retailer credibility with the consumer • Lift participating retailers’ furniture sales If you are interested in learning more about the Preferred Retailer Program, please visit and click on “HGTV/NHFA”. On Sunday, the Board of Directors approved two new programs and an educational DVD. The new programs are MyStore and an eNewsletter program (For more information on MyStore, see the article on page 47). The board also approved for WHFA to sell a new DVD to members titled It Can Be Easy Being Green. This continuously looping DVD can be played in your store and will educate your customers and sales staff about the true components of sustainability. To participate in any of the new programs or purchase It Can Be Easy Being Green, please call WHFA at (800) 422-3778. The culmination of the meeting was a special VIP event held at a breathtaking private residence with views of the beautiful Sonoran Desert. The Board of Directors mingled with past presidents and sponsors while taking in the beauty of their surroundings. “The VIP event was a lot of fun and a great way to end a couple of days of hard work,” said Valerie Watters, Valerie’s Furniture & Accents. “All of the new board members are really awesome, and I am impressed with everyone on the board. The VIP event really helps us all bond and create a good camaraderie with each other.” The Western Home Furnishings Association Board is dedicated to carrying through the mission of its members and committed to enhancing the value of the Association. The Board will next meet in Arizona in September 2008.

The 2008 WHFA Board of Directors in Tucson, AZ. Back Row (l-r): Gene DeMeerleer, Chris Sanders, Howard Haimsohn, Eric Blackledge, Robert Myers, Gary Absalonson, George Nader, Marty Cramer, Chuck Kill, Lael Thompson, Ron Hoesterey, Marvin Kerby, Steve DeHaan and Keith Koplan Front Row (l-r): Greg Follett, Michael Nermon, David Harkness, Tom Slater, Sharron Bradley, Claudia LeClair, Valerie Watters, Sandy Lundgren, Sally Servidio, Paula Holt and Karen Kohlman

Submit Your Nominations

For the 2009 WHFA Board of Directors The Board of Directors is a vital part of the progress and growth of your association. WHFA depends on strong, quality leadership and needs your recommendations for members you feel would represent WHFA and the furniture industry in a professional manner. Remember that members are free to nominate themselves. A full description of Board Member Benefits and Obligations is available at To nominate a WHFA member for the Board of Directors, log on to and fill out the form before August 15, 2008. If you have any questions regarding the criteria for the Board of Directors, please call or email Sharron Bradley, WHFA executive director, at (916) 784-7677 or (800) 422-3778, Thank you for participating in the growth and prosperity of our industry and your 100 percent member-owned association.

A Special Thank You to Our Sponsors Titanium


Gold Aspenhome Furniture, Storis Management Systems Silver Delivery Solutions, Inc., Guardsman Furniture Protection Programs, Guildcraft of California

Bronze Aita & Associates Ins. Marketing, BA Merchant Services, Best Home Furnishings, Broyhill Furniture Industries, Inc., California Furniture Manufacturing Association, Century Lighting, Classic Flame, Clearwater Trading Company, Elite Leather, Escalate Retail, Flexsteel Industries, G&G Graphics & Promotions, Great American Group, Guardian Products, Inc., Horich Parks Lebow Advertising, International Storage Systems, Inc., JRM Sales & Management, Inc., Lane Home Furnishings, Mail America, Parker Southern, State Compensation Insurance Fund, Temple Inc., The Uttermost Company, TruckSkin, LLC, Universal, Vanguard Furniture Company, Wahlquist Management as of 4/22/08


July 2008


Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.

Using Liquidity to Stay Afloat in a Downturn Economy

Part 2 of 4


ash is king. It always has been. But with the economy slowing, liquidity is more important than ever. In fact, in times like these, it can be your ace in the hole. With the housing sector in a slump and skittish consumers reining in their spending, it’s no surprise that furniture retailers all over the country are seeing less cash coming through the doors. But there is some good news: A slowdown is a great time to take a look at your company’s liquidity and analyze how good a job you’re doing at managing it. For instance, is your excess cash lying dormant at the end of every day or is it working for you via overnight investments that can add interest to your bottom line? A good banker on your side can help you assess how well you’re managing your cash and figure out what opportunities you have to do it better. The first step in taking control of your cash is to make sure you’re getting a daily view of your business’ liquidity. It’s critical to being able to anticipate cash flow challenges that might creep up on you and wreak havoc in other areas of your business. It’s also critical to keeping your banker in the loop and avoiding unpleasant surprises like a missed payment on your line of credit because you’re short on cash. An easy way to keep an eye on your cash is to enroll in your financial institution’s online banking service. Most banks now offer access to Web-based account information, including real-time looks at your balances as well as recent transactions. Most will let you transfer funds online, pay bills electronically and receive email alerts when your monthly statement is ready or when your account balance falls below a predetermined level. And most are compatible with popular accounting software, meaning you can download your banking data directly into your general ledger, saving time and eliminating errors. Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.

But online banking is just the tip of the efficiency iceberg. There are a host of ways you can streamline management of your finances, freeing up money and time that is better spent in a slow economy making more sales. Setting up direct deposit will eliminate the cost of printing employee paychecks while also getting wages in workers’ hands faster. Or you might consider outsourcing payroll altogether, handing off tax preparation or account reconciliation, or leasing your equipment instead of buying it. Once again, a savvy banking partner can help you evaluate the right solutions for your business. Many banks now offer merchant processing of plastic, allowing you to offer customers new ways to pay, including debit cards, without big upfront investments, while also accelerating payment to you. Likewise, banks are increasingly helping retailers shift from paper transactions to electronic ones, which also results in faster funds access, eases accounting of payables, and drastically reduces processing costs, such as the expense of making daily trips to the bank to deposit paper checks. As the sub-prime mortgage mess has spread and the economic outlook has dimmed, it has only gotten tougher for small- and medium-sized businesses to get credit. But borrowing might still be a viable option for your business, particularly if you need short-term access to cash to smooth out up-and-down daily sales tallies. Thanks to cuts in key interest rates by the Federal Reserve Bank, money is cheaper than it has been in awhile. If you have fixed-rate debt, this might be the time to free up some working capital by renegotiating your monthly payments downward. And a variable-rate line of credit, even if your business doesn’t need to make a draw on it right now, can serve as an insurance policy if cash westernreporter

William Randall client manager Bank of America

July 2008


reserves ever run low. Most banks will allow you to make interestonly payments on lines of credit and make it easy to access funds by issuing you checks or credit cards linked to the accounts. Now’s the time to get a handle on your company’s liquidity. There are very few challenges a business will face in this tough economy that positive cash flow can’t solve. Cash — or at the very least, ready access to it — can keep your business afloat even as you navigate the stormiest of seas.

If you are interested in learning more contact William Randall, Bank of America client manager at (888) 852-5000 ext. 8251.

EMAIL newspaper radio TV direct mail WEBSITE EMAIL newspaper radio TV direct mail WEBSITE EMAIL newspaper radio TV direct mail WEBSITE EMAIL newspaper radio TV direct mail WEBSITE EMAIL newspaper radio TV direct mail WEBSITE EMAIL newspaper radio TV direct mail WEBSITE EMAIL newspaper radio TV direct mail WEBSITE EMAIL newspaper radio TV direct mail WEBSITE EMAIL newspaper radio TV direct mail WEBSITE EMAIL For more information, call 800.422.3778 or visit us online at


July 2008


Discover creative new ways to reach your customers and eliminate advertising frustrations. Put your head in the sand.

WHFA Academy High-Performance Education

Save the Date

October 14, 2008 Portland, OR



Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.

FTG International Import • Provides dealers and retailers regardless of size the ability to facilitate an economical consolidation of orders from Asian factories • Allows individual orders (as small as 300 cubic feet) to ship directly to final destinations in US through FTG • This process removes the expense of warehousing and the costs associated with it • International Import allows small and mid-sized dealers who lack the volume for direct containers and are too far from US warehouses to realize cost effective delivery • Import Solutions - FTG International Import

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“When I pre-shop for furniture, if a retailer doesn’t have online catalogs, I’ll find another one who does.” FACT: 80% to 90% of women age 33 to 45, the key demographic of furniture shoppers, shop online before visiting a showroom. In today’s Internet-driven world, having a website is not only a smart business decision, it’s absolutely essential if you want to prosper in retail furniture. But you have to make that site interesting with lots of options and lots of choices. Nothing does that more efficiently or costeffectively than MicroD’s ePreVue electronic catalog. With it, you can literally display every case good and upholstered furniture item from every PreVue-supported manufacturer you carry. Then, using EasyPlan - ePreVue’s software companion, your shoppers can place their selected items into their own custom-created room plan to see how it fits into their home and into their own sense of style. To find out more, see us at the Las Vegas Market, World Market Center, Bldg. B 16th Floor, Retail Resource Center July 28 - August 1, 2008. Call 800-964-3876, ext. 253, or visit us online at

The best furniture business technology.

R. E. S. P. E. C. T. The Customer Regardless 0f Gender


Philip Gutsell president and owner GutSELL & Associates

hen I was approached to write this article for Western Reporter, originally it was to be about using different sales skills when dealing with men and women. I asked if I could take another approach; for I do not teach different skills for selling to different genders. My entire career I have continued to search for ideas having common appeal to both men and women regardless of race, creed, color or religion. Regarding men and women, of course they are different. If you focus too much on the differences that is what you shall find. I prefer to focus on what we have in common and mostly, what works consistently through years of practicing and teaching these principles in all 50 states and Canada. There are seven key principles sales professionals must practice to have success with customers regardless of gender. First and foremost, the skill of developing rapport with total strangers is an absolute necessity. This should include making and holding good eye contact. There are entire courses devoted to relating to strangers at the subliminal level. We have all witnessed this in person and often times refer to it as charisma. Charisma is usually considered a natural gift. Here is the good news, charisma can be taught and learned. Why in large social gatherings each of us will gravitate to some people and will avoid others regardless of their race, creed, color, religion or gender? The study of Neuro-linguistics helps clarify this issue. Each of us has three distinct personality modes. They are visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Visuals are roughly 35 percent of the population,

Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.

auditories are 25 percent and kinesthetics are the remaining 40 percent of the population. While each of us has all three modes as part of our personality make-up, we also have a dominant mode. Visuals communicate with key action words: look, picture, visualize or I see what you’re saying. Auditories also use action words: hear, sounds, listen or that rings a bell. Kinesthetics, the largest group uses these types of words: feel, hold, touch or that grabs me. Additionally, each particular groups eye movement can indicate their individual dominate mode. Visuals will look straight ahead defocused or upwards. Auditories tend to look side-to-side as if at their ears. Kinesthetics tend to look downward as if to get a “gut” feeling about something. Knowing this background can help the professional to build rapport trust and confidence with their customer. A word of caution, avoid the golden rule to treat others as you want to be treated. It is a misnomer. Rather, practice the platinum rule which is to treat others the way they want to be treated. The shortcut for developing rapport with total strangers is to respectfully mirror your customer in body language, voice tone, voice speed and dominant vocabulary. By mirroring them they will see, hear and feel a reflection of themselves. This conveys to others you are just like them. People like to buy from people like themselves. I often ask my trainees whose responsibility it is to adapt in a sales situation; the customers or the salesperson. Obviously it’s the responsibility of the sales professional to relate and respond to the customer. Hence put yourself in their personality mode. If you are dealing with a visual


July 2008



mode person, use words they can picture. If you identify your customer as an auditory use words that sound good to them. With kinesthetic mode person appeal to them with language they can feel. Subliminally, customers will open up to you more quickly if you are on their personality wavelength or mode. The second professional skill that affects the outcome of the sales process is having a positive mental attitude. Years ago I found it was necessary to clarify what having a positive mental attitude was all about. Many students had difficulty grasping the concept until I changed the word attitude to expectation. What is a positive mental expectation in professional selling? It is the mental condition of believing and behaving as if you know the customer is going to like you and buy from you that very day. Unfortunately my experience shows that most salespeople do not practice this philosophy. They easily give up when the customer says they are just looking. Recent research shows that over 80 percent of customers anticipate buying, regardless of gender, once they enter your store. However, these same customers will play hard to get until rapport and trust are developed. PMA is a must to keep a salesperson’s skills focused on the outcome. This PMA does not dismiss the importance of the first step which is developing the rapport and trust. The third key area in professional skills you must possess in helping a customer regardless of gender would by the similarities between you both. As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, searching for dissimilarities are easy and often more apparent. My recommendation is to treat them like minor objections and ignore them respectfully. Focus on your customer’s wants and desires. This of course means you must be an exceptional listener and questioner. By listening carefully your customer will ultimately give you all the clues to solving their issues. Listening alone is not skill enough. The symbiotic skill to listening is asking the proper professional questions to uncover the customer’s needs and wants. Furthermore asking the right questions is essential to bringing your customer to the buying commitment. Research shows the No. 1 reason customers leave without buying is due to indifference. To avoid this indifference, be a great questioner and listener. You can only solve a customer’s

S. 70

July 2008


home furnishing problem if you know what it is by asking the right questions at the right time. A subset to this category that I teach is utilizing sincere compliments. Sincere compliments are enjoyed and acknowledged by most people regardless of gender. Sincerely complimenting customers about their appearance or possession, such as their car, is a great ice breaker as well. Be sure to keep your compliment as professional and do not allow it to be construed in the wrong way. The next key area is professional preparation. A professional person dresses appropriately and carries their professional sales tools with them in all selling situations. Professional salespeople are like medical doctors. They treat their customers with empathy rather than sympathy. Empathy is to understand your customer’s situation rather than sympathizing with a situation that can be debilitating. Doctors are advised not to treat family members unless it’s an emergency. The reason is sympathetic feelings cloud their judgment. Practice empathy instead of sympathy. It has been said countless times; you only have one first impression to make so make it your best. Carry your sales tools with you because it reinforces the second skill of PMA. If you do not have your tools with you, you are suggesting to your customer you are not ready. Carry your tools in a leather portfolio either casually at your side or carry it wide open as if you are doing paper work. Busy salespeople are like magnets. Customers, regardless of gender, are drawn to this type of professional. How many times have you found yourself searching for a salesperson? The one with the inventory knowledge, design knowledge, store policy, competitive knowledge and most of all, professional people skills. Professional people skills are the ones you



continued on page 72

Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.


continued from page 70

can count on when you aren’t feeling all that great about the customer you are serving. Perhaps they are extremely standoffish or in some cases, slightly rude. It just doesn’t matter, because they may be one of your only opportunities that day. My son mentioned to me one day after a fishing trip that he didn’t think I was a “people person” based on my remarks about other car drivers, people in grocery store lines or cell phone users in movie theaters. I told him I just didn’t like annoying people. He asked me if annoying was an adjective or adverb. After thinking about this for awhile I replied, “Both.” I do not like annoying others, but I also don’t like others annoying me. Then I asked him, “How do you explain what I do?” He paused and after a while replied, “Oh dad, you’re a professional people person!” In other words all of these skills can be learned and utilized. The next skill is essential to connecting with people regardless of gender. I refer to it as the big “E” known as enthusiasm. A professional salesperson must be enthusiastic, regardless of how they might feel on any given day. Why? If you are not enthusiastic about your customer, your store, your associates, your marketing,

your product and yourself you are sending a subliminal message that something is wrong. I don’t know anyone that wants to buy when something is wrong. I embrace the definition from the legendary Zig Ziglar regarding selling: Selling is a transfer of enthusiasm. Before you can transfer it, you must have it. Because we are human we do not always feel enthusiastic. What should you do when you are experiencing a lack of enthusiasm? The shortest route to being enthused is to act enthusiastically. Psychological research has shown if you behave in a particular manner, you will begin to feel it. As a matter of fact, when treating depression, psychologists recommend their patients stand up straight and walk with more authority. Behave enthusiastically and you will feel it, not to mention your customers. Another key ingredient to communicating with both sexes is confidence. Confidence has its foundation in the earlier mentioned PMA. Customers respond well to confident salespeople. Have you ever had one of those days it seems you can do nothing wrong? Every customer is buying. Watch any salesperson right after they complete a sale. They have what Tom McMinn, owner of McMinn’s Furniture in Oddessa, TX refers to as a “ticket walk”. They have a bounce in their step. They stand up straight and erect. They are anxious to serve another customer. They are confident! The beauty of this skill is that you can choose to be confident with all types of customers. Finally, the last skill to develop when dealing with any type of customer is the ability of timing. Timing is when you have built rapport by mirroring a customer’s behavior, you expect the customer to buy, your professionally prepared, similarities are discussed, sincere




July 2008


Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.

compliments are offered, you’re enthusiastic and confident. Timing will improve, as most skills, the more you use it. The time is now to discard old attitudes about the differences between men and women and use the skills R. E. S. P. E. C. T. that each of us will respect. Recently, I had the opportunity to put all of these skills back into practice on a retail floor. After conducting my seminar, GutSELLing: Selling from the Customer’s Point of View, my customer on the West Coast was having a sale that I participated in. I was to help coach the sales managers on maintaining the skills taught during the meeting. When the doors opened, the customer traffic was very strong. Instead of coaching, I helped work the floor. I practiced Rapport building skills with both men and women by mirroring respectfully their behaviors. I reminded myself to have a Positive Mental Expectation as I approached each customer. I behaved and was dressed professionally. I asked qualifying questions that uncovered the Similarities between us, and I offered sincere compliments. I was Professional, being the only salesperson with a sales portfolio, as they did not make it a rule or habit to carry these. I was Enthusiastic with my first four sales orders. When I missed an opportunity, I reminded myself to act enthusiastically, especially after I slipped. My Confidence was apparent, not only to customers but to the rest of the staff. My Timing was adjusted to the circumstances of heavy traffic. R.E.S.P.E.C.T. all your customers, both men and women, and they will respect you with more purchases.

Philip Gutsell, president and owner of GutSELL & Associates, consults home furnishings retailers on marketing, advertising, motivational sales training and strategic planning. His expert consulting business is widely acclaimed for increasing profitability for big-ticket retailers and putting them on the road to growth. You can contact Philip at (773) 792-2480, or email him at

Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.

R. E. S.

T. P. E. C.


July 2008


industry dates Market Dates July 8 – 16, 2008

October 20 – 26, 2008

The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market America’s Mart Atlanta, GA (800) 285-6278

High Point Market High Point, NC (336) 869-1000 Future dates: April 27-May 3, 2009

September 13 – 15, 2008 Total Home & Gift Market Dallas Market Center Dallas, TX (800) DAL-MKTS

July 28 – August 1, 2008 Las Vegas Market — World Market Center Las Vegas, NV (866) 229-3574 Future dates: February 9 - 13, 2009

September 23 – 25, 2008 Train the Trainer Course — IAS Training Holiday Inn at Los Angeles International Airport (800) 248-7703

November 23 – 25, 2008 Long Beach Furniture & Accessory Market Long Beach Convention Center Long Beach, CA (800) 605-7440

WHFA Educational Events July 13 – 16, 2008

Management Development Institute Renaissnace Denver Hotel Denver, CO (800) 888-9590 ext 6151

July 28 – August 1, 2008

WHFA Educational Events Las Vegas Market — Free Business Seminars Retailer Resource Center WMC Building B, 16th Floor (800) 422-3778



National Home Furnishings Association Western Home Furnishings Association

October 20 – 26, 2008 High Point Market — Free Business Seminars Retailer Resource Center IHFC Main Street, Floor 12 High Point, NC (800) 888-9590 RETAILER


National Home Furnishings Association Western Home Furnishings Association

October 14, 2008 WHFA Academy Portland, OR (800) 422-3778

For more industry dates, visit and click on EVENTS.

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tips & tricks Customer Service Overhaul We all seem to know how important customer service is if we are going to be successful in retail. Then why do we keep getting lousy service wherever we go? Assuming most customers are reasonable people, the answer to the above question is: 1. Store staff don’t know or don’t understand what the expected behavior in terms of customer care is or 2. Management gives this issue only a lip service and does not place firm criteria to maintain high customer service levels. It always boils down to quality of management doesn’t it? In both of the above cases, it’s management that is squarely responsible. So, before things get even worse, here are the commandments you need to put in place and make sure they are ingrained into everyone’s mind: 1. A Vision of Customer Service Excellence – That is clearly developed and communicated: If you do not set the expectations right from the beginning, you can’t blame anyone but yourself. 2. Recruit, Hire, Train and Promote People with People Skills – When you are interviewing for new people, look for indications of friendliness, helpful nature and ask questions probing for the level of people skills. When evaluating staff performance, make sure there is enough indication and consideration to their performance in customer service. 3. Measure Individual Service Performance, Report Results and Celebrate Victories – What is not measured cannot be managed. End of story. Develop a performance chart for each staff member and rate them from 1 to 10 for their customer service performance. You’ll see a marked improvement almost immediately. 4. Solve Problems When and Where They Occur Immediately – Customer studies show that as long as a problem is resolved fast and to the customer’s benefit, most become very loyal customers for life. Study your policies and procedures and eliminate the fluff and unnecessary steps that take time. To speed up the resolution process, empower your staff to make certain decisions without having to look for management.

Take the best practices of the top sales associates and put them in place for everyone; the best demo, the best objection-handler, the best closer and transfer those best practices to the whole sales team. Have the owners of these best practices train the others to do the same. You’ll find a 10 percent sales increase just from this.

Listen to customers; learn to read between the lines. Do not assume you know what they are talking about or complaining about. Look for quick solutions to customer issues. Make this a culture in the store.

Your market and customers are constantly changing. Change is the only constant. What made you successful last year, may not work this year — you must constantly re-evaluate your effectiveness. Stay ahead of the curve in terms of what’s happening in the retail world, particularly in your niche.

Sign up for a free Retail Management Newsletter “RetailWise” at

Contact WHFA at or (800) 422-3778.


July 2008


fun facts & figures Building C Fun Facts: • Building C brings the total square footage of permanent showrooms at World Market Center to 5 million square feet. That’s more square footage than the Sears Tower! • 72,000 cubic yards of concrete will be used for Building C. • There will be nine miles of rubber base along the edge of the carpet. • Building C will use enough carpet to cover the Golden Gate Bridge. • The exterior skin on the building is 500,000 square feet of exterior surface. • It would take nearly 330 average size adults holding hands to wrap around the base of Building C. • Building C will include 34 escalators and 16 elevators. • Building C would need 10 football fields to completely cover the building in grass. • In the adjacent parking garage, also scheduled for completion in 2008, 60,000 cubic yards of concrete will cover 1.2 million square feet.

advertisers index

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Aita and Associates........................................................... 76.................................. (888) 829-8606 American General Financial Services................................ 9................................... (800) 422-3778 Argo Select......................................................................... 6................................... (800) 422-3778 Ashley Furniture................................................................. 23.................................. (608) 323-3377 BA Merchant Services....................................................... 44.................................. (800) 422-3778 B&B Banker & Brisbois Advertising................................. 50.................................. (800) 456-0210 Berkline . ............................................................................ 11.................................. (423) 585-1500 CDS Solutions Group........................................................ 25.................................. (888) 309-8002 Citi Retail Services..........................................................4 & 60............................... (800) 422-3778 Deere Park.......................................................................... 71.................................. (888) 232-7737 Diakon Logistics................................................................. 15.................................. (877) 700-4297 Emerald Home Furnishings............................................. 2-3................................. (800) 685-6646 Escalate Retail.................................................................... 57....................... (888) 777-6811 x4233 Furniture Transport Group............................................... 67.................................. (800) 438-8244 Furniture Wizard................................................................ 46.................................. (619) 869-7200 Hoyt Highfill & Associates................................................. 21.................................. (318) 322-3846 JRM Sales & Management Inc......................................... 73.................................. (678) 574-5541 Las Vegas Market............................................................... 30.................................. (800) 962-7469 MicroD................................................................................ 68.................................. (800) 964-3876 PROFITsystems, Inc.......................................................51 & 79.............................. (866) 453-5010 San Diego Padres.............................................................. 16....................................(877) Friar Tix ServerLogic Corp............................................................... 72.................................. (866) 835-6932 Simmons Company................................................... Back Cover.......................... (510) 357-2230 TruckSKIN........................................................................... 74.................................. (231) 932-0286 ViewIT Technologies...................................................... 40-41............................... (905) 639-8609 Wells Fargo........................................................................ 19.................................. (800) 545-3550 WHFA Academy Series..................................................... 66.................................. (800) 422-3778 WHFA Membership........................................................... 45.................................. (800) 422-3778 WHFA Warehouse Products............................................. 29.................................. (800) 422-3778 WHFA Website.................................................................. 27.................................. (800) 422-3778 Wickline Bedding Company............................................. 18.................................. (760) 747-7761 World Wide Logistics........................................................ 54.................................. (800) 255-0570

advertising inquiries & rates Contact: Cindi Williams, WHFA Events Manager, 500 Giuseppe Court, Ste. 6, Roseville, CA 95678. (916) 960-0277 E-mail: Subscriptions: $35.00/year, USA. Published by Western Home Furnishings Association, a National Home Furnishings Association affiliate, in the interests of retail home furnishings dealers, manufacturers, ­distributors and sales people. Distributed to retail merchants handling ­furniture, ­accessories, bedding, floor coverings, and specialty home furnishings in ­Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Mailing list compiled by WHFA. Official publication of Western Home Furnishings Association, which is ­responsible for editorial content and advertising policy. The views expressed in articles appearing in Western Reporter are not necessarily those of Western Home ­Furnishings ­Association. Western Reporter magazine is copyrighted by Western Home Furnishings Association. July 2008, all rights reserved.

Western Reporter:

Read by Retailers in the West

distribution: Western Reporter is read by more than 10,000 home furnishing retail store personnel handling furniture, accessories, bedding, floorcovering and specialty home furnishings in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

marketing philosophy: Western Reporter focuses on western market trends in the furniture, bedding, flooring and accessories industry. It highlights industry finance, state legislation, retail store layout and design, transportation, retail advertising trends, retail store computerization, insurance, succession planning and industry social events.

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July 2008 Western Reporter  

Magazine produced for the Western Home Furnishings Association.