Tom's Tips Training Center

Tom Jennings, Retail Training Expert, presents short video tips for improving your customer service and optimizing your staff performance. In the end, it’s all about understanding the importance of being 1% better than your competition.

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We have put together a collection of Tom's Tips divided into management, sales, and general staff below. 

Tom's Tips for Management

Who Does Your Staff Resemble? Do your customers and your staff look very similar? They should.

Review Your Roster – Every day your team is either moving up or down in the standings.

Give Your Message Time to be Heard – Be realistic regarding the commitment needed for your campaign to reach your goals.

Ring the Victory Bell – It’s important to take a moment and celebrate a victory.

Just Do Your Job – “Do your job” means having trust that others will also do their jobs well. 

Conducting Effective Staff Meetings – Making this the most important hour of the work week. 

The Importance of Financial Transparency – Remember that we cannot support and embrace what we do not fully understand.

Pros Don’t Clone – The importance of teaching as the student likes to be taught.  

The Lowest Common Denominator – The importance of breaking down costs and objectives for your staff.  

Books Alone are Not Enough – Why the attitude that “the information is online’ may be ineffectual.  

First You Must Believe – Sales staff must be believers before anything special will occur sales wise.  

Just like the Beer Business – Not everyone is looking for a mediocre product at a cheap price.

Where is the Goal Line – Do your staff members know what “yard line” they are on at all times?

Always the Act…Never the Actor – The importance of focusing on the objective desired.

Defining “Best” – Are they really one of your “best customers”? 

It’s All About Them – When your firm speaks, what message is the customer hearing? 

Chief Problem Solver – The greatest power for any manager is having a knowledgeable staff.

Sell Me This Product – At exactly what age did we begin to believe that practice was no longer needed? 

There Is No Such Thing as a Small Sale – Remove the perception of any “class barriers” that may currently exist.

Observations from a Las Vegas Taxi – Is your business signage sending mixed messages?

Development of Employees - Employees must own their careers.

Marketing to a Values-Driven Customer -  Never underestimate the value of a trusting customer.

A Poor Place to Save Money - Many customers will gladly pay a bit more to have a superior service experience.

Be a Great House GuestCoach winning behavior at the place where a great number of the sales are consummated – in the customer’s home.

Lessons Learned from Sears - Part 1 - Tom Jennings shares valuable lessons learned from Sears in part 1of a series: Remember that past laurels, no matter how significant, all have an expiration date!

Lessons Learned from Sears - Part 2 - Tom Jennings shares valuable lessons learned from Sears in part 2 of a series: Are you putting exclusive offerings upon a pedestal in your store?

Lessons Learned from Sears - Part 3 - Tom Jennings shares valuable lessons learned from Sears in part 3 of a series: Good retailing evokes customer emotions and actions.

Start at the Back End - In this week’s Tom’s Tips, Tom reminds us that the best way to build a businesses’ long term reputation is to start at the back end of the customer’s experience with your firm and work forward.

The Difference Between Promotional Pricing and DIscounts - Don’t lose sight of the fact that you are responsible for your pricing strategy – not your customer.

Feeling Welcome Before a Word is Said – Remember the goal is to make the customer relaxed in your surroundings.

Room to Dream Tom asks, “Are you giving your customers a chance to dream – or are they stuck in a maze?”

Oversharing - Tom reminds you not to tell the customer more than they need to know.

Understanding Your CustomersIt’s not uncommon for dealers to have been in business for years to not really know what today’s customers want in the way of both product and service.

Show the Installers Gratitude – In this week’s Tom’s Tips, Tom reminds us that when an installation has been performed well, you shouldn’t forget to thank the installer for their contribution as soon as possible.

Help Them Get to Know Your CompanyIn this week’s Tom’s Tips, Tom reminds us to help your new staff get to know your company. The onboarding of a new addition should be taken seriously and made a high priority.

Customer-Centric Always ask one question: Is this decision for the comfort and convenience of the customer or of the staff?

Recognizing Important People - Start at the back door of your business and work your way forward.

Only if You Can Prove it - A far as the customer is concerned, if you can’t prove it – it’s just so much talk!

Tom's Tips for Sales Personnel

I Was Born Ready! – The best way to make a sale is to be prepared to sell!

Not a Total Loss – When you lose a sale, make sure that you don’t lose the lesson that comes with it.

Don’t Give Away the Recipe – Be careful not to “de-mystify” the installation process too much. 

Distinguishing Touches – Always remember the saying “the whole is worth more than the sum of its parts.”

Admitting Your Limitations - Asking the advice of specialists.

Let Them Go! – I have never lost money on a job that I didn’t do!

Never Burn a Bridge – If a relationship isn’t working out, bow out gracefully.

Showing Your Concern – Recognizing that many homeowners today are increasingly concerned with their environment.

One Size Does Not Fit All – Softer is not always better!

Develop a Confident Competence – No champion was ever crowned that didn’t prepare to win.

First Impressions Count

Mastering First Impressions

Home Office Flooring – A great option for the increasing number of residences that have a dedicated home office.

We All Want Easier… - Explaining the options available will separate you from your competition. 

Approaching the Customer’s Door – How to present yourself when visiting a customer for an in–home visit.

Come on in! – A polite gesture will work wonders when it comes to making a customer feel welcome. 

The importance of good notes - Taking attentive notes will validate to the customer that what she has to say is important to you. 

Don’t Delay Your Follow Up – People pay attention to those who pay attention to them.

The Answer May Be in the Mirror  – Competency is a total image.

Never Be Afraid to Defer  – Never fell that you need to be an authority on any given subject. -

Help me catch up with you - It's never wise to put the customer on the defense. -

Leaving Money on the Table  – Too many sales associates tend to “leave money on the table” by not knowing how to properly present upgrades to a sale. 

Setting a Positive Tone – Setting a positive tone when conducting your follow up interview.

The Lifetime Value of a Customer

Stay in Touch – It is imperative that we stay in contact with our customer base.

The Power of a Positive Greeting – Understanding the need for a positive greeting when a customer enters our showroom.

Problem Resolution – Remember that it is not only this sale that is in play, but all future sales as well.

Standing Above the Crowd – Sending a handwritten thank you to the potential customers who chose not to buy from your firm. 

Flooring Vs. Floor Covering – Two words that we often use interchangeably are “flooring” and “floor covering”.

Scheduling an In-Home Appointment – When scheduling an in-home appointment, take a lesson from how other professionals operate. 

Upgrades and Add-Ons – Mastering the ability to present both upgrades and add-on sales will have several positive effects.

Presenting Payment Options – Know your financing options like you know your product offerings.

Customers Hate Surprises! – If you expect consistency – then you must provide the recipe for success.  

Create Realistic Expectations - Make sure that your customer has a good understanding of the progression of the installation process.  

Understanding the Value of a Price Increase – Price increases often tend to be viewed negatively. Why?

Knowing Just Enough to be Dangerous – Your services add value. Don’t let a “self-educated” customer convince you otherwise. 

The Home Field Advantage – When visiting the customer’s home or office, think of them as having the “home field advantage."

From Worst to First – Developing the good habit of performing the least desirable tasks first. 

You May Want to Lose A Few Battles – Asking yourself: “does this really matter to the integrity of the sale?” 

The Customer is not Always Right – The importance of explaining why doing things incorrectly is not in anyone’s best interests. 

Qualifying is a Two Way Street – Too few sales people seem to realize that the customer is busy qualifying them, as well. 

Share the Enthusiasm – Always remember that what you seek in those serving you is exactly what customers hope to find in your presence.

Don’t Forget to Say “WOW” – We all make the mistake of taking ongoing advances for granted.

Watch Your Tone – The importance of being mindful of your tone each and every time you greet someone.

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? – Respecting a customer’s time represents a great opportunity for service-minded flooring dealers. 

Refrain from Making Comments PersonalWhen it comes to addressing performance, remember to refrain from making comments personal and to always remember to “criticize the act – not the actor.”

Know the Products that Your Installers are Using - Showing your concern for the customer’s well-being will be the tie-breaker in many purchasing decisions.

Becoming More Aware of the Service We Receive - It is impossible to give better service than what we recognize ourselves.

A Few Extra MinutesInvest a few minutes each day being prepared to succeed.

You Can Believe Me - One of the greatest attributes that any salesperson can possess is the ability to be believable.

Wrong, Wrong, and Wrong AgainRemember that it is most important to manage the emotions of the customer first – then worry about the product.

I’m Working For You - Always remember that at the core, the customer only cares about their own situation – not yours. 

Lessons Learned from Infomercials – Part 1Valuable lessons learned from informercials in part 1 of a series: if you want to be believed – you must first be a believer yourself.  

Lessons Learned from Infomercials – Part 2Tom Jennings shares valuable lessons learned from informercials in part 2 of a series: too many salespeople see the “education of the customer” as their primary goal.

Lessons Learned from Infomercials – Part 3 - Tom Jennings shares valuable lessons learned from informercials in part 3 of a series: Infomercial salespeople never make a presentation that they fail to visibly demonstrate the superiority of their product.

Lessons Learned from Infomercials – Part 4Tom Jennings shares valuable lessons learned from infomercials in part 4 of a series: You need to develop your own style that is comfortable both for you and your target customer.

I Know Best What My Customer Needs -   In this week’s Tom’s Tips, Tom reminds us to always remember this: It’s never about what you think. It’s always about how the customer feels.

Your Customers are Busy Qualifying You - Customers are judging you not only on the merits of the products you offer, but also whether they can place their trust in you.

How Professional are You Perceived to be? ”How professional are you perceived to be?” Remember, you will always get the respect that you command. Don’t sell yourself short!

Price vs. CostIn this week’s Tom’s Tips, Tom shares a concept that many salespeople do not grasp - that of price versus cost.

Making Each Customer SpecialThis week in Tom’s Tips, Tom reminds you to absorb what your customer is telling you; both verbally and non-verbally.

Controlling the PresentationIn this week’s Tom’s Tips, Tom reminds you to remember that the goal is to make customers for life, not to see how many people you can talk to today!

The Essence of BaloneyCustomers are looking for someone to purchase from even more so than they are looking for something to purchase.

The Easiest SaleIn this week’s Tom’s Tips, Tom wonders why so many salespeople leave this opportunity almost totally to chance.        

The Home Court Advantage - In this week’s Tom’s Tips, Tom shares how most of the rules change when we are the guest and the customer has the “home court advantage.”

It Has to Fit Perfectly - Spend less time worrying about what these national stores do, and more time focusing on the things that a fashion driven customer desires that they don’t do well.

How long would you like to live with this? -  This question will help you focus on the need to sell your offerings as the fashion statements that these customers really desire.

Give Yourself a Pep Talk In this Week’s Tom’s Tips, Tom reminds you that if you want to be successful at sales, the first person that you need to sell is yourself.

Let Me Think About It - When you hear “Let me think about it,” remember that it’s critical that you convey confidence, not just information.

Return My Messages FasterPeople are still are most likely to spend their money with those that pay attention to them. 

Let Customers Sell Themselves - Customer’s must be made to feel like they are in control of the buying process.

Sell Well - It is troubling how many installations never have a chance to be great due to the wrong product being sold.

Always Complete a Pre-Installation Checklist - Remember that customers hate surprises! Always complete a pre-installation checklist in this week’s Tom’s Tips.

Getting it Right the First TimeThe opportunity to provide great customer service begins when the customer says “I’ll take it.”

Be Prepared for the Installation -  It is critical that salespeople are prepared for their upcoming installations – every time!

Installers are Not Mind Readers  –Installers are not mind readers. Too many times the installer is put in the position of having to “figure it out when he gets there.”

Stay in Touch  – Keep in touch. Don’t make the mistake of overlooking your “sold” customers. 

Competency is a Total ImageIn this week’s Tom’s Tips, Tom reminds us that competency is a total image. To be taken seriously in your position, you must first appear to be serious about your position.

Recognizing Your Own BehaviorIn this week’s Tom’s Tips, Tom reminds us that we do not see ourselves in the same manner as which we are seen.

Don’t be responsible for a failure -In this week’s Tom’s Tips, Tom reminds us to do it right or don’t do it at all!

Overselling Flooring Materials - In my opinion, overselling flooring materials is one of the leading problems in our industry.

When in Doubt, Find Out -  In this week’s edition, Tom reminds us to be proactive before quoting a job or commencing with an unsure installation.

Listening to What Others are Saying – Consider the notion that a difficult thing to accomplish is to set your ideas aside and consider those of others.

Thinking on Your Feet - You must be able to solve problems fast and under pressure.

Stop Talking and Listen - Engaged listening is one of the most difficult tasks that we face each day.

The Importance of Open-Ended Questions - Master the art of encouraging your customer to share more information with you.

Running Late - If you’re going to be late, don’t wait until it’s time to be there to let the other person know.

Maximizing Your Opportunities - Many flooring retailers have additional bonus opportunities to put themselves in front of many potential new customers in a relatively short window of time.

Tom's Tips for the Entire Staff

Catch Them Doing Something Right – Improving communications between the sales associates and the installers.

Criticize the Act…Not the Actor – It is critical that you know how to refrain from making comments sound personal.

Made in the USA – An excellent opportunity for local flooring stores to embrace.

Keep Your Best Sellers Looking Sharp – Do you have a system to regularly the current condition of your showroom samples?

Handling Counter Offers – The dangers of agreeing to counteroffers.

You Must be an Aware Customer – It is much easier to give great service once you gain a greater appreciation of how it feels to get great service.

A Winning Upgrade Opportunity – A recommendation that will never be a deal-breaker, but could be a deal maker.

Work Like You're Going on a Vacation – Learn to leave the store at the end of each day with important tasks accomplished.

Don't Make Excuses – If you say that you’ll do something – then do it!

Always on Sale – All things being equal – price will prevail. If this is true – why should all things be equal?

Thanks for Complaining – It is only customers who do speak up give you the opportunity to reclaim their consideration for repeat or referral business.  

Be Complimentary – It is important to remember that personal opinions are usually best kept to yourself.

Be Prepared for Installation Day – No one benefits from time being wasted – especially now.  

It Means More When You Keep Score - We realize that it is both more fun, and more productive, when we track our progress.

The Importance of Controlling Margins – Successful merchants control margins – not the customer. 

The More You Learn…The More You Earn – Why is it that the most educated and dedicated always seem to cash the biggest paychecks?

As Easy As 1-2-3 – Deciding which three tasks are most imminently important.

Sit for a Bit – Does your showroom give the appearance of somewhere to relax and be comfortable?

What Do Your Customers Hear? – Remember that a business transaction is made up of many small parts. 

Complexity Reduction – If we don’t need these stress generators, then work toward reducing them.  

Protect Your Zone Time – Everyone has that time of day when they do their best concentrative thinking.

Visualize Your Virtual Day - Visualizing your day ahead the previous evening.

Making Your Living Where You Make Your Life - Stand apart in your customer’s eyes and to make an increased effort to emphasize your store’s investment in your marketplace.

Focus on Segments Where You Can Excel  - One of the largest hurdles that many independent flooring retailers face is how to stand apart from the crowd to the buying public.

The Only Price that Matters - Ask yourself, is this the way that you want your customers to feel about your firm?

Selling Flooring as FashionI have found that a profitable use of time is to tour businesses successfully specializing in fashionable products not sold in our industry.”

Selling the Sum of the PiecesWhen presenting your proposal to a potential customer, don’t forget to sell the value that your staff adds.

The Importance of the Morning Walk –As the customer’s perception of your ability declines, so does your chance of making the sale. Make sure you are ready for the day.

Now Means NowWe all know someone who had all kinds of plans and ideas that never quite got around to putting any of them into action.

Acting with IntegrityIn this week’s Tom’s Tips, Tom asks, “When presented with the next choice, will you do what’s convenient – or what’s right?”

Realistic Customer ExpectationsIt is Imperative that the sales person create realistic expectations with your customer.

When Doing Things Right is Wrong - Sometimes we fail to perform because we are so locked into our processes, procedures and rules.

No Excuses Allowed - Never delude yourself into believing that an excuse is a substitute for taking action.

Don't Let Them Stay Disappointed - Now is a great opportunity to make both you and your firm stand apart from others.

Just Own It - It’s tough to accept blame or punishment for something another said or did.

Making the Customer Feel Welcome - Remember the goal is to make the customer relaxed in your surroundings.

Making a Responsible Flooring Choice - Today’s’ customer wants to know in what ways flooring products will affect their family’s environment.