Shopping for Furniture

Furniture shopping is exhausting!  Tons of stores, too many options.  And it's even worse when you're shopping with someone else, especially when your priorities and tastes aren't a perfect match.  Then you have to compromise.

When I shop, I...
  * move quickly, deciding quickly what I sort of like and what I DON'T like
  * want sales help ONLY when I need it
  * hate paying full price
  * have to be in the mood to shop

We have several large items we've been looking for.  With Labor Day Weekend, I decided to do a little pre-shopping, but save the decisions and final negotiating to this past weekend.  For my shopping style, not necessarily the best idea but the promised savings was just too much to pass up.

Saturday I spent about 20 minutes at two stores looking for one item.  This one was easy.  We'd previously narrowed down the item needed to 3 choices.  I just had to see which sale was best.  At one store, not so great.  At the other, not too bad. Decision made. Item on order.

Then I spent about an hour and a half at two more stores buying bits and pieces.  This was a little more more challenging because I was shopping for bargains and color schemes.  Matching the two was a bit of a challenge.  The store where I wanted to do most of the purchasing (knowing from experience that they have better sales) didn't have much that I liked.  The store with the stuff I liked, didn't have many sales.  Ended up not buying a lot of stuff on my list.  Disappointing, especially knowing I know have to shopping AGAIN.

The rest of my day (2 and a half or 3 hrs) was spent at two stores looking for a sofa/living room items.  Having been in both stores recently, I knew pretty much what was offered, so it was a matter of finding the best combo of price and desire.

So I'm sitting on a sofa waiting for the sales man to get back from talking to his manager about what kind of deal he can offer me.  (By the way, this tactic really bugs me.  I think that if you are the salesman, you should know what can be offered and be empowered to make those decisions.  Unless it's your first day--OK, first week--I am NOT inclined to cut you much slack for this.  Seriously annoying!)  And because I'm annoyed...and tired...and somewhat hungry (read: cranky),  I'm thinking through the options available at this store and the others I've visited.  I realize the personalities of the salesmen really did affect my decisions.  Through the last month of shopping, I've been met with:

   * Super-Annoying Sales Guy.  This one followed us from sofa to sofa as we tried options, even after we said we'd let him know if we had any questions.  I'm afraid to go back to that store, even though the prices are good and I've purchased from them several times, the salesmen are just too pushy.
  *  Ignore-Me-Until-I-Hunt-You-Down Sales Guy.  Again, annoying.  Pay attention.  See if look like I might have a question.  The only reason I went back here is because the ONE sofa we both loved was at this store.  Had it been a sofa we only sorta liked, I wouldn't have gone back.  Ignore-Me-Until-I-Hunt-You-Down turned into Have-To-Check-With-My-Manager Sales Guy.  Strike 2.
  * Don't-Have-All-The-Facts Sales Guy.  Unfortunately, this only showed up when I went back to ask another question and he'd left for the day.  The next sales guy was much more knowledgeable and helpful. He made the sale, by the way.
  * Attentive-Without-Hovering Sales Guy.  Actually, there were two of these.  Both were slightly older men (no idea if this is important or not, just something I noticed).  Both greeted me when I walked in and asked if there was something specific I was looking for.  Both backed off when I said, 'Just looking today.'  Both kept up with me as I looked around, noting when I lingered but didn't intrude unless I looked like I had a question.  Both offered suggestions of similar items that might interest me.  Both introduced themselves once we'd interacted a couple of times and gave me their card.  (Other salesmen gave me their card immediately.  Honestly, can't say what I did with those cards and the only name I remember was that of Supper-Annoying Sales Guy.)  Again, sale made!

Lessons learned:
  * Show interest in you customers
  * Learn to accurately read the situation. Not every customer needs you to hold their hand.
  * Introductions work best once there is already a connection.
  * Offer solutions that fit the need.  If the solution is something the customer didn't know was possible, even better.

Yeah, these aren't epiphanies.  And they are the same things every how to make sales book says.  The difference: now it's personal to me.  NOW I know what kink of salesperson I want to be.  (I also know that I'm DONE shopping for quite a while!)

Comments always appreciated.  What annoys you (or what do you like) in a salesperson?