Furniture Store Marketing – When Everyone Is Your Customer, No One is Your Customer!

One of the biggest challenges home furnishing owners must overcome, in order to be successful in this new economy, is the dreaded I-offer-everything-for-everyone syndrome. On the surface this looks like a sure-fire way to get more customers, but it is already proven time and time again that it is not always the most successful way to prosper in your store.

If you are an independent home furnishing retailers, then chances are you have a limited budget and limited space to work with. So, if your store offers several contemporary collections, several ultra-modern collections and some eclectic pieces as well as some early American collections scattered through you store, do you really think that you have enough of any of those styles to satisfy the type of customers who are looking for a specific style? However, style is only one way to target your customer.

In fact, the most successful furniture retailers in my area focus on a couple of things to attract a specific type of customer:

  • Complete living room packages for under $ 2,000 or furnish your entitlement home for under $ 5,000.
  • Long-term low or no interest financing
  • Fast delivery within 3 days or less
  • Lower prices for packages

So, by narrowing down their advertising, they attract a customer that wants to purchase multiple pieces, which in turn, drives the average ticket sale and profits up. They then offer attractive financing terms which attracts customers with good credit and income, while enticing them to spend more money because the customer has longer to pay for it.

Most importantly, they save the customer money by buying more and can get it in their homes in a couple of days. There is also another twist to these retailers. They reward their salespeople handsomely for NOT selling the financing, but getting customers to pay off their balances in less than 90 days.

There is a common slogan in marketing statute, "There are riches in niches." Simply put, this slogan means determine who your most profitable, enjoyable and easy to attract customer is, and then specialize in getting more of those customers to come into your store and buy. You do this by creating a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) that compels your most profitable customer to come back into your business again and again.

What if you reviewed your business over the last couple of years and discovered the following trends about your customers and prospects:

  • Wives initially visited the store without their husbands.
  • Recently married
  • Had three kids
  • Lived within five miles of your store
  • Spent between $ 800 – $ 1500 on sofa, loveseat and tables.
  • Paid by Visa, MasterCard or Discover

Once you have this information, you can redesign your store and business to cater to more of the same types of customers that are currently spending good money in your store.

However, you can only use this information to your advantage if you take the time to find out who your customer is, what is important to them and what they really want.

It may come as a surprise to you, but your customers want more than just a sofa. If you are just selling a sofa, you are missing out on a ton of business. Here are a few of the keys I have discovered over the years:

  • Do not sell mattresses, sell relief from back pain.
  • Do not sell home theater seats, sell the entertainment experience.
  • Do not sell sofas or loveseats, sell comfort and warmth.
  • Do not sell furniture, sell status and prestige.
  • Do not sell interior design, sell ENVY and the WOW factor!

Once you know what your customers really want then, you could use that information to create a USP that attracts more of the same type of customers. For example:

  • "Do not hire expensive interior designers, use our 23 point design checklist and give your home a million dollar look for FREE!"
  • "Discover how to give your home an extreme $ 20,000 makeover, on an $ 8,000 budget."
  • "Your family and friends will say" Oh my gosh! Your home is simply amazing! "In 27 seconds flat … we guarantee it!"

Traveling Tips for Severe Weather

There is a lot of forethought that goes into a trip. You think about packing, plane tickets, travel time, what to do when you arrive. However, sometimes Mother Nature can spoil even the best travel plans. Thankfully, you can take steps to prevent her spoiling the vacation you worked so hard for. Weather can impact you on every level. From what you bring, to what you buy, to what you do after you arrive, to even arriving or leaving on time. It can also affect the vehicle you rent or take around. The following are a few helpful tips you can utilize to help ensure that the elements have very little negative affect on your trip.

First and foremost, try going during the most temperate time of the year. If you plan on traveling north, try to go in the summer, or spring. If you are traveling south, fall or even winter are pretty safe bets. You can also familiarize yourself with the weather patterns of the area you are going to. If you are going to Arizona or New Mexico, check to see if its monsoon season or if there is a drought currently taking place. If you are going to a place like New York or Chicago during the winter, check the snow patterns. Some places have consistent snowfall throughout the entire winter, starting either before you expect or ending long after.

You can also pack to prepare, just in case the weather takes a turn for the worse. Normally you can buy whatever you need at your destination but a little forethought will help you avoid those unnecessary costs. Packing a heavy coat for winter states or a couple umbrellas for rainy states will go a long way in making sure you stay happy and you can spend your money on something you want rather than something you’ll end up needing.

Something else to consider is where you are staying. Make sure the hotel you are staying at is up to date and centrally located to the places you’d like to go. There are few things worse on a trip than having to spend it cooped up in four walls because a hurricane or blizzard suddenly hit. You can also rent a certain type of vehicle to help with your destination and needs. An SUV will come in handy if you are going somewhere that might have conditions that affect the road.

Finally, try and reach out to any local people in the area. They can sometimes be much more helpful than any website or television forecast. Your rental car company or hotel concierge should be able to provide you with a first-hand account of what you can expect weather-wise for your vacation. So, remember: research the area you are traveling to. Pack a light jacket, sensible shoes or a couple of ponchos. Look into your hotel location and accommodations and make sure your mode of transportation can handle most inclement weather. If you follow these simple tips, you should be ready for anything!

How to Talk to Your Spouse Who Says You Work Too Much

Strong marriages and relationships require attention from both partners. This balance of attention to spouse versus earning a living or furthering your career can be difficult to find. And, once you have found a balance that works in your relationship, things change and you have to find the balance again.

Why do some people overwork? The Overworking Spouse may be under considerable stress on the job, or may have a boss that demands long hours. Or maybe there are layoffs coming up and the less productive workers are the first to go. Maybe one partner has to work long hours just to support the family. On the other hand, the overworking spouse may be strongly identifying with career advancement to the exclusion of the marriage. Of course, we should be involved in work that is worthwhile, fulfilling and financially rewarding but over focus can put the marriage at risk.

What can happen when you put your work/career first? Your spouse may be feeling emotionally disconnected from you and lonely. There may be a buildup of resentment which can lead to anger and finally bitterness-towards you. This situation often leads to unhappiness and discord for the entire family.

As a psychologist who has worked for 20 years counseling couples in my therapy practice in North St. Paul, MN, I met with Amy and Josh with just this complaint. Amy was complaining that she was overburdened because Josh worked too much and left her with the responsibilities of home, children, and her own 40-hour job. He knew she was right but he felt defensive when she tried to tell him how to manage his work schedule. He’d started complaining that when wasn’t very affectionate lately and always blamed her disinterest in their physical intimacy on fatigue. He asked to meet with me individually after Amy had had a session to talk about her “side”of the problem. He was appreciative that she was not as naggy as she had been in the past, but he still felt blamed and criticized.

When Josh and I met, we talked of the reasons that he was spending so much time at work. The usual reasons people overwork is that they are feeling under considerable stress on the job, or may have a boss that demands long hours. Or maybe there are layoffs coming up and the less productive works are the first to go. Maybe one partner has to work long hours just to support the family. On the hand, the overworking spouse may be strongly identifying with career advancement to the exclusion of the marriage.

Drs. John and Julie Gottman, in their book 10 Lessons to Transform Your Marriage, suggest the following questions:

1.What does your work mean to you?

2.What pleasure or satisfaction does work bring to you?

3.What need does working fulfill in your life?

4.Does your work related to some personal legacy you would like to contribute to the world?

In a discussion with Josh, he pointed out that he was trying to make headway in his career now, while he was still young and had the energy. He knew his wife was doing a good job parenting their two small children (3 years and 9 months) so he wanted to focus on earning good money for his family. At first, he couldn’t understand why Amy was complaining so much because he was doing all this work for her and their children. He felt it was his responsibility. He wanted to provide his children with a fund for their education.

I suggested he consider the questions listed above. He said that his work is very satisfying in that he felt very confident and capable at work. He also wanted to meet his father’s expectations who had had a successful career. His older two brothers had moved from job to job and he knew his father was disappointed that they had difficulty supporting their families.

It was important for Josh to understand the underlying reasons for his excessive hours at work. He did not have a demanding boss and he was in no threat of a layoff. He just wanted to do the right thing. He had not thought of himself as having value over and above that of a worker and wage earner. He resigned himself to have a discussion with Amy. He said he would try to listen carefully about what Amy was longing for when she complained to him. I suggested he try to imagine the experiences she wanted to have with him and not to focus on her criticisms.

When Amy and Josh came for the next couple’s session, they wanted to further discuss the overworking situation. (They no longer saw the problem as residing inside one of them but as a problem the two of them need to figure out.) Any was able to explain to him what she missed when he work so much. He came to get a sense that his contribution to their family was not solely a financial responsibility. He heard her tell him he was also loved, appreciated, and needed as a friend, confidant and co-parent. She especially enjoyed his easy humor with their children and felt he was the only one who would be able to provide that.

This was a difficult issue for this couple and it was not resolved quickly. They were able to discuss their needs and wants in a different way when they addressed the questions about the underlying reasons for their positions.

Instant High Paying Jobs For Teens

So you have a teen on the hunt for a half decent job but what are their options these days. Everyone is telling them to baby sit or get a paper delivery job but both are time consuming and pay third world country rates when it comes to money in their pocket. It is even harder trying to land a job position that has been advertised somewhere as employers receive hundreds and hundreds of applications when advertising in the current job market.

A recent study shown that it is now taking the average person 4 – 7 months to find new employment and they expect that period of time to lengthen substantively over the next few years.

So what can I do you say, well thanks to modern technology all this is about to change. The days of searching endlessly for employment are fast coming to an end as the internet slowly takes over and starts filling this increasing need in the teen job market. When it comes to jobs for teens it is now possible for them to land their dream job in under ten minutes no matter who they are. When they take a job online there are no lengthy, intimidating interviews to go through and their application is always accepted no matter where you live or what qualifications they may or may not have. When you compare this to the difficulty of applying for and getting a normal advertised job it is no wonder that thousands of teens are switching to paid online jobs.

Paid online work beats traditional jobs hands down every time. Online jobs these days mostly consist of completing online survey's as these are generally higher paying when it comes to the types of work you can do online and they make fantastic jobs for teens. Most of these places are free to join and once they have signed up they can then start taking surveys and get very well paid for it. Most teens that are doing these surveys are at least $ 10 for a twelve minute survey with the money getting transferred to their account on completion.

The surveys themselves are extremely easy to complete and there is an unlimited number of different types of surveys that can be taken. There are no set times that they have to work, teens can quickly and easily work at their own pace as often or as little as they like each week, it's up to them. By just taking 3 surveys per day, 5 days per week, a teen is capable of earning $ 150.00 per week. Just try finding a job anywhere else that pay's as well as this that will hire them instantly.

Which survey companies they end up joining makes a huge difference to how much money they make. Pick the wrong ones and they could end up working for $ 2 – $ 5 per hour and getting very frustrated. Out of all the "Free To Join" paid survey sites online today there are only a small list of survey companies that have the genuine higher paying surveys available on a daily basis. Joining all of these top 7 companies ensures that they have and endless supply of high paying surveys to take every day when they log in.

So the choice is up to them, with the state of the current job market are they going to keep blogging.