Why internalizing knowledge will increase your revenue

Do you remember tying your shoes this morning? Or the last time you wore lace-ups? 

Probably not, because shoe-tying is an internalized behavior for most adults. But it’s an action that had to be learned from good training. 

There are four steps to internalizing behavior:

  • I don’t know what I don’t know. That’s the toddler that happily scuffles around with laces untied. 
  • I know what I don’t know. After a couple of trips and falls, Junior runs to Mom and points to his shoes. He needs her to tie his laces.
  • I know what I know. Somewhere between age 3 and 4, Mom decides Junior is old enough to tie his own shoes. She shows him how to make loops and twist them around until shoes are tied. Junior carefully duplicates the action, minding every step. This goes on for days and months.
  • I don’t know what I know. Soon, tying shoes becomes second nature for Junior. He ties without looking or thinking about it. The knowledge is internalized.

Every profession has internalized knowledge. The cab driver who doesn’t need Waze or Google Maps. The school teacher who seems to have eyes in the back of her head and knows when there’s horseplay in the classroom. The salesperson who always asks the shopper to purchase. Every time. No matter what. 

In sales, internalized knowledge can increase revenue. Knowing the questions to ask, the merchandise to show, the flow of the sales process, and the procedures that operations can accomplish come from training.  

But that training must be repeated. Often enough so the RSA can repeat it without thinking about it. 

Internalizing dialogues and policies will lead to greater sales conversion rates. It would take several months, or longer, to internalize every single nuance in your business. Consider training your team on these vital points. And then train again until it’s like Junior’s second nature.

  • Five great all-purpose greeting lines. Your sales team has 15 seconds to make a first impression. Will it be an old worn-out mumbled statement or an upbeat greeting that causes conversation? Challenge your RSAs to write their own opening lines. Reject the trite, corny and clichéd. Take the top five and rehearse it like you’re teaching footballers how to block a field goal. Don’t stop until it’s right and natural.
  • Monthly payment terms. Like it or not, selling consumer finance will be a determining factor on your sales revenue this year. Your team needs to be able to quote approximate monthly payments on the fly. Some people get scared of doing the math. Make it easy on them.

    Train them on $50 and $100. Twelve months at $50 buys a $600 item. At $100, your shopper can get a $1,200 item. Kick it up to 24 months and your shopper gets $1,200 and $2,400 in merchandise. If you promote 60-month financing, that tiny $50 monthly payment covers a $3,000 purchase. 

    Once they have the math down, the second part is to quote each item in dollars and dollars per month. “This fabulous mattress set is $2,399, or about $100 a month for two years.”
  • Five great closing questions/statements. People are more likely to make a big-ticket purchase when they are asked to buy. That means we must know how to close the sale. It also means that RSAs are responsible for asking every shopper to make a purchase today. 

    There are unending books, articles and online training about closing the sale. Your own team probably has their favorite closing lines, too. Just like the greeting, get your team to list closing statements and pick the best ones. Train and then rehearse your team like your business depends on it. 
  • Referrals. Sure, getting five-star Google and Facebook reviews is important. But nothing beats the ol’ neighbor-to-neighbor word-of-mouth review. That’s why it’s important to internalize the knowledge and actions needed to create personal referrals. 

    Reflect on the opportunity of using the simple business card as a referral tool. The internalized behavior of handing every departing shopper (whether they buy or not) five business cards gives you a five-fold chance of getting your shopper to pass your information to a friend or family member.

    Using an easy-to-remember statement like “If you’ve enjoyed working with me as much as I’ve enjoyed working with you, I’d appreciate you giving these to your friends that may need our products.” 

Mike Angeline

Mike Angeline travels the US in search of the best and brightest home furnishings retailers. With over 25 years of experience on the retail and wholesale sides of our industry, he offers recommendations and advice for business improvement to retailers of all sizes. You can contact with him at m.angeline@aol.com

View all posts by Mike Angeline →

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