5 Steps to Get Involved in Furniture
Furniture opportunities are everywhere! Think about it, did you notice pens and file folders before you got into the office products business? Furniture is the same way. That pen and file folder you now notice are sitting on a desk, is that desk sit-to-stand, is that person aware that sitting is the new smoking? Do they know how easy it is to convert an existing desk to an active office workstation with a desk riser? You see where I’m going?
Yes, office furniture can be more complicated than office products because of the amount of skus available and the color options, but that is also what makes it more exciting. If people didn’t love a before/after there would be no HGTV!
We have several programs to streamline the process and interior designers who are experts at office design to help you. The great news is you already have your foot in the door with potential customers!
Step 1 – Know the programs
FurnitureAdvantageTM streamlines selling with one standard discount, quality products, special pricing opportunities, and zero freight charges. This program offers a nice margin opportunity as well. Open up the furniture catalog and learn 7 to 8 factories (manufacturers). Start with office chairs and select a factory from the catalog. Go to the factory website and review the product flyers or request a binder with your SP Richards Regional Manager. Learn the types of seating offered by the selected factory such as executive, task or nesting. When you are comfortable with the seating offered by the factory, then select another furniture category such as reception. Go through the same process and soon you will be a furniture expert on the selected products.
Step 2 – Get comfortable
Re-design your workspace as an exercise. Choose a new chair, desk and chair mat then write up a quote for yourself. Take it a step further and re-design your whole office. What do you look for as a customer? What additional opportunities can you identify?
Step 3 – Get the word out!
Reach out to your office supply contact and request the name of the decision maker for furniture purchases. Often they are facility managers or in human resources, IT and purchasing. Ask your office supply contact to introduce you, add these names to your mail/email list and send them a furniture catalog. In a short time, you will build the trust factor.
Put a flyer in outgoing orders – people like looking at office furniture. There are always new trends and products coming out, place a flyer with a beautiful lifestyle photo in each order and let people know you are in the furniture business! Send an email to existing customers with new furniture items or add a furniture item into your existing office product emails.
Step 4 – Customer Service
SPR Furniture offers solutions for every part of a business so look for opportunities when you walk in the door. Check out the reception area, seating needs, meeting areas and make notes. If a client needs seating, select 3 chairs that match their needs at various price points. Create a quote and send a product flyer to your clients. Create a board that includes samples of the fabrics and laminates that you are presenting in your quote to the client. Clients want to touch the laminate and the fabric before they order, especially on larger opportunities. If a chair is quoted, bring in a sample for the client to demo. SP Richards offers a “sample” program in which special order samples may be purchased at a discount. We do suggest that you keep a few top selling seating samples on hand to assist sales efforts. Samples of fabric/laminate can be requested from the manufacturer. Add options to build the sale. If the client requests a new conference table don’t forget the beverage cart, a glass board, dry erase markers, new desk mats, accessories and of course seating. The S.P. Richards design team will assist you with a furniture layout in a 2D and 3D format to give the client a real feel of the space.
Step 5 – Winning is Contagious
Take photos and review the types of products that your customers are purchasing. Share how you found the opportunity, how long the project took, and what you might change next time. Before you know it, everyone will be thinking and promoting furniture.
*Inside tip – when a company changes locations they never take their white boards with them; they buy new ones. Sounds like an opportunity for glass boards and markers.