Furniture sales is a multibillion dollar industry in the United States. Key furniture retailers usually employ the most qualified salespeople to represent their stores. Competition can be fierce, and a company's competitive edge is often the talent of their salespeople. A furniture sales representative is usually paid either a commission or a small base salary plus commission. His main responsibility is dealing with the customers and selling products.
History of Furniture Sales
People have been selling furniture in the United States since the 17th century. Even in those days the job description of a salesperson was to sell durable furniture that met a certain need. Thomas Sheraton, a British furniture maker who lived during the late 1700s, sold field beds in America during the Revolutionary War. His beds were used in tents and could easily be disassembled and relocated when troops moved to another locale. Both he and fellow Britain Thomas Chippendale, the most famous furniture maker in history, greatly influenced most Early American designs that are sold today.
The furniture salesperson is the store employee who has direct contact with the public. He must represent the store in a positive manner. He must also be knowledgeable about the product line and have the ability to make suggestions, show customers around the display room and help them make the best decision in selecting their furniture.
The furniture sales representative usually has a preassigned sales quota she must meet each month. Her primary responsibility is approaching customers as they enter the store, inquiring about the type of furniture they want, making suggestions as they show customers around and closing the sale. She must also answer any questions the customer asks, conduct suggestive selling so as to move multiple products, process the paperwork and arrange financing when needed. The salesperson is also responsible for arranging any fabric change requests for the customer on certain pieces of furniture.
Furniture salespeople must maintain records of customers who do not make a purchase and follow up as needed. They are also responsible for arranging displays, putting up any point-of-sale information, doing physical inventory counts and assisting the store manager with orders. The sales representative must constantly learn about new products and be able to explain specific features of various products to the customers.
The furniture salesperson's duties may vary depending on the size of the store or chain. For example, sales representatives may focus more on selling rather than inventory in larger companies. Also, like car sales, there are some furniture places that only pay sales representatives a salary and not commissions. This is to ensure that the sales representative is focusing more on service and customer satisfaction.