Do you know how to get associates to come into work on their day off because they want too? Lets ask Dr. V.
He’s a sought after mattress celebrity, but we managed to get a few moments with the infamous Dr. V, otherwise known as Alan Vonder Haar of Miskelly Furniture. Dr. V is the current Director of Bedding for Miskelly’s and on this episode we chat all things strategy–from identifying areas of opportunity for sales associates even during their best sale months to making trainings into a rewards program people actually want to attend–even on their day off!
Mark Kinsley : You better get ready. We have strategies for record-breaking numbers in a way that’s fun and engaging for your employees. We’re talking to one of the world’s foremost experts and friends of the show member of the fam. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, he’s back by popular demand. Dr. V with the Miskelly.
Mark. Quinn, Mark. Dr. V, my, I could not be more excited. I don’t know I had a hard time hiding my enthusiasm. From the outset of this show. Having this group together, we’re honestly concerned that some sort of black hole might form, and like all the sleep geeks of the world will just get sucked into it. So hopefully, we can stave that off for a little bit of time so we can get through the show because Dr. V. The summer of sleep is fully underway. And we’re going to tell people about the race to the summit. The biggest mattress summer in history. I don’t like people knew this was going on, but it’s happening. But first, we get to talk about a couple of things on the horizon. First being our friends at Nationwide are geared up for primetime in person for the first time in a long time. And I and Quinn are going to be there Quinn. Are you going to be wearing a crazy Porter Wagner style shirt like me? Or is that just me because we’re going to Nashville?
Mark. Quinn: Well, it’s Nashville. So I already have my wife looking for the appropriate attire. It’s appropriately oriented. Probably I’m thinking that I like cool boots. And we got to get the shirts, right. So I’m fired up about that. And I want everyone to know listening to this. If I happen to run into you in the nationwide events in Orlando, St. Louis, Dallas, or Seattle. I loved meeting you. It was fantastic. Mike Whitaker is such an awesome guy. And I got to do a presentation with him. And it meant a lot to me and Mike is he did a killer job of in the entire nationwide team of organizing all that. But here’s what it here’s the deliverable there or the outcome of it. Everybody wanted to be in the room together. Everyone was so excited to be in those rooms together learning from one another listening to each other. And so from August 15 to the 18th in Nashville, we’re going to get a chance to do it again. Kinsley You and I are going to speak I know what we’re going to be talking about, but we’re not going to let that out of the bag just yet. I also know some of the things that Tom in the team and nationwide have put in place and it’s going to be the biggest and the best nationwide event ever. So you got to go nationwide primetime.com and as of right now, they used to have a countdown on there. I don’t know if they have it anymore. I don’t see it. But anyway, you got to go check it out. It’s gonna be a lot of fun and a lot of learning a lot of great sessions. So be there and be with us. I can’t wait to do that. So
Mark Kinsley: Quinn, we’ve got to say it. We’ve got to say it.
Mark. Quinn : Got to say what?
Mark Kinsley: We got the press release Rob star sent it out. Little Big Town is going to perform for a nationwide marketing group to give back to independent retailers at primetime. The Grammy Award-winning band is going to perform at the Grand Ole Opry to kick this thing off for the 50th anniversary I am going to be there in full regalia
Mark. Quinn: You know I’ve been I’ve we’ve known that for a while and I hate it because I can’t tell people so I’m glad I didn’t see the press release that is so exciting. Little Big Town you know it’s a private show. Kinsley So the cool thing is it’s at the Grand Old Opry and if you go and your nation will remember you’re going to go these tickets by the way a friend of mine called me when he found out because he listens to our show. He’s not in the mattress industry. He’s like, Hey, man, can I meet you in Nashville? I haven’t seen you in a while and then can you get me tickets to go see the show. Those tickets to a show are going for three $400 just to get into a little big time so that one experience alone would be worth the trip. So check it out. Little Big 10 they have some great music to love it
Mark Kinsley: Guy nationwide primetime calm and our friends that are also doing some really cool things out in the world right now. With retailers, our buddies from Doorcounts, Jerry amberjack Brad the whole crew, and I Okay, I’m gonna tee this up for you Dr. V. You are a customer of Doorcounts. And here’s what’s up these days. I mean, Doorcounts are talking about this. clicks more sales in three clicks. It’s easy to with the redesigned user interface, one-click, you’re going to click and make sure your salespeople are connected to customers when they walk through the door. Second, click record the outcome sale, no sale or potential sale, click number three key performance metrics, by the minute from any device, tell us how you’re using Doorcounts. Dr. V, are you a kind of a three click-click method guy, or what’s up?
Dr. V.: Well, I will tell you that you know, Doorcounts are amazing. We’re so excited. We’ve been a customer of theirs now for the past several years. But here’s the thing. The Connect part is so critical today. And I don’t want to, I don’t want to minimize that. Because that connection with the customer, when they come in, especially to the brick and mortar store is so important. There are so many options where we learned that people can and have bought online. But now that the pandemic has moved on, they want to come back into our brick and mortar stores, and they want to connect, they’re not coming into our stores because they’ve already done their research. They’re coming in stores because they want to experience what it’s like to actually touch and feel the furniture. And so when you have Doorcounts, you’re allowing your salespeople to actually connect, get that information from the actual guests when they come in so that now you establish a relationship. So Doorcounts are all about establishing the relationships, then you get to follow that up whether you made the sale or didn’t make the sale, that becomes critical. Because if you made the sale, you can follow up with maybe down the road, you start to establish that relationship as a customer. And if you didn’t make the sale, same way you were able to capture that information so you can continue to re-engage with them. But it gives you those performance metrics immediately. So you know exactly where you’re staying at, you know where your close ratio is, you get to analyze that. So it’s immediate feedback for the salesperson as well as sales management. So if you’re not experiencing Doorcounts, you’re really setting yourself up as at a disadvantage to where you could really make a difference in your stores.
Mark Kinsley: As the biggest buying signal on the planet. They walk through the door. Now what happens from there forward is up to you. And you can professionalize that journey today. And when you start at doorcounts.com. we’re huge fans of Doorcounts. We’ve seen the impact it’s made on businesses like Dr. V’s and Miss Kelly’s and our friends over there, Jerry and Amber and Brad and jack and the whole crew they’re phenomenal to deal with. And you’ll be joining more than 800 other Furniture and Mattress retailers along with global footwear companies that are using Doorcounts to engage customers when they walk through their door. So start today at doorcounts.com and I’m just gonna point this out. I’m really wondering where Quinn got that jacket with the fam on it.
Mark. Quinn: What do you believe that leaves that? Huh? What is going on? Look at that. How nice is that? Kids? Get one you should get 100 holds on I got a new delivery. Yeah, what do you really? What is this? Wow, that is this Amazon guy have fast.
Mark Kinsley: Oh, I got one more. Hold on. Dude, what is this?
Mark. Quinn: Oh, I see the theme here.
Mark Kinsley: Wait, wait. Oh. Check that out. Look at that we are cover Okay, so if you’re not if you’re listening, I just put on a rain jacket with the fam and I have an umbrella with Dos Marcos emblazoned across the side. And I see the theme you know, the crew from colonial LLC sent us this stuff because they’re like, you’re gonna have Dr. V on the show. Um, you should definitely have an umbrella and a rain jacket because this guy makes it rain
Mark. Quinn: Make it rain.
Mark Kinsley: All up in the Skelly. So we’ve got our colonial LLC in by the way if you go to Colonial promotions.com, it’s really cool because Yeah, they do tons of top of the bed. And they do all kinds of point of purchase material within the industry. But they have all these amazing promotional products that don’t have like 36,000 coffee mugs to choose from. They’ve already sourced the best ones for you. This is really high quality and even sent a jacket for my wife so we don’t get rained on together uniform and Dr. V is making it rain. We’re saying you know,
Mark. Quinn [9:44]
I’m glad he didn’t put our pictures on our wife’s jackets or they would have never worn them the fam is good. You know, as long as I’ve known Wes, I honestly didn’t know that they did all this cool stuff. And so we need to consider their catalog and all this stuff. I’m like, Oh my gosh, man, we got to get him involved. So guys, if you’re listening To this company, there’s no doubt you’re doing stuff like this. You have shirts, coffee mugs, all this swag stuff that you can give away. Go to West at Colonial those guys do it better than anybody and make them part of what you do and they’ll get you hooked up or you can like to look all handsome like Kinsley and his rain jacket.
Mark Kinsley [10:17]
Hey, and I’ll tell you what, I just bought a bunch of shirts with England or logos on them. Really nice gear. And the cool thing is you’re already ordering. I mean, Dr. V, you’ve got colonial foot protectors and all kinds of stuff, right?
Dr. V. [10:33]
Well, that’s just it, where we in the industry are already familiar with them. They are not new to us. Now, you may not realize it, but most of the major mattress vendors already used them. They could use anybody, they choose to use colonial, why? Because they know it’s going to be well, for example, the foot protectors, that’s got to be a quality item that’s going to last, it can’t start to fray and wear itself out through use. And so they’re already known for their quality, you’re probably already having it on your floors. Now expand your assortment with them. And you’ll be really pleased with what you end up with.
Mark Kinsley [11:08]
Yeah, if you end up with gift Inaudible [11:09]you want to use as giveaways. You know if it’s April and you’re doing some promotion where you want to put your people in these sweet rain jackets like the one I have on and by the way, I used to have a clothing company and we made athletic shorts for people to work out with phones. I put this thing on I’m like, this is really nice. And the prices are fantastic. And the embroidery looks totally fancified perfect. So hey, thanks to thanks to Wes and Tim and the crew over colonial head over to Colonial promotions.com. let’s support people in our industry, you know there that have other lines of their business. I mean, that’s what being a member of the fam is all about. And this is one big fan of the industry is the way we think about our businesses. And just our friends that we’re joined with here on the show today are definitely family. We’re here with Dr. v.
Mark. Quinn : Dr. V. our crazy uncle, Dr. v.
Dr. V.: That’s Yeah, that’s a great way.
Mark Kinsley: He’s a crazy uncle. Yeah. Dr. V. Tell us um, let’s jump into something right here. Because you told me, excuse me, I got some code on my throat. We told me about the summer of sleep, the race to the summit, the biggest mattress summer in history. So set the stage for us. Tell us what that is. Because people have had record-breaking months previous to this. But you said now we’re gonna go bigger. We’re gonna go better paint a picture for so what’s happening? And Miss Kelly’s?
Dr. V.: Well, yeah, that’s it. That’s exactly it. And this actually goes back to probably January. So I got called into my owner’s office. And we looked at the BLS what happened in 2020 in the mattress business.
Mark Kinsley: Balance a share.
Dr. V.: Yeah, our balance of share. And one of the things that he noticed is that though we had a great year, and mattresses were up 10% over the previous year, our company was up 20%. So basically, he used the analogy that mattresses was pulling our, our business down, even though it was up. And I was like, wow, I never quite looked at it that way. I was excited that we were actually up over the previous year. And he basically came back and said, I got an idea. He said, What if we made you the director of betting like we took your sole focus? Because I’ve been involved? I’ve been a miss Kelly’s for 27 years, involved in a variety of different areas. But he’s like, what could you accomplish if you really got focused on just the mattress category. And I said I will do amazing things. And so we really set out and looked at the year overall on what we wanted to accomplish. And one of the things we knew was that we were going to go up against some really difficult numbers to the anniversary, especially June, July, and August. Because last year once the pandemic you know, started to break in our industry started the tailwinds kicked in. We had some pretty amazing summer months last year. So it was like how are we going to anniversary those. And so we started thinking, if we want to do numbers as we have never done before, we need to do things as we have never done before. And so that’s really where the strategy started to come into play. And then we started looking at that timeframe between Memorial Day and Labor Day, which is our summer, and we said it’s going to be the summer of sleep. We’re gonna make that an intentional focus for Miss Kelly furniture in all of our locations. And now we had to develop a strategy to go after numbers we’ve never experienced before.
Mark Kinsley: So here you are. You’re just getting into the summer of sleep. And your role has been redefined, essentially, you rifled at the sleep and bedding category. Did that take a little bit of time for you to lay out the strategy, the framework, and the focus? And now things are just kicking in? Or what was that front-end work?
Dr. V.: Immediately. I mean, I tell my boss, I can’t believe you pay me to throw in a lab coat and talk to people about sleep. And it’s just, it’s an amazing opportunity for me. So I’ve always obviously been involved in the mattress category, thus the Dr. v. So I’ve been doing that for 25 years, but to really be super laser focus. So one of the big things that we started out with when I came out of that meeting, is I started looking at our, our salespeople because we’re furniture store. Well, I like to say that we’re a mattress store that sells furniture because I think that’s the attitude we should have. So we’re just a really, we just a lot of furniture. But furniture salespeople are different than sleep store people or mattress store people, you know, there’s just a different level because there are hundreds of products that they need to know about tremendous different categories that they need to have the knowledge and be an expert on. So to get furniture salespeople to be focused on the mattress category is not as easy that goes back to the culture thing that we talked about here at Miss Kelly’s. So when I sat down with my team, I said, I want behavioral change. How do we change the behavior of our sales associates? And we do a lot of training is one of our hallmarks. But I said let’s do something a little bit different. So we have four furniture stores, two sleep stores, and the clearance store. So seven locations. But in particular, I wanted to focus on the four furniture stores, because those can really be Movers. I know that the quality of when I got out of my sleep stores, and my guys that declared store do an exceptional job already. But I really wanted to focus on the furniture stores, I said, we need to change behavior. And this once a month or once every two months, trying to do training is enough to kind of get them excited. But it doesn’t change behavior. So what we started doing in late January, and throughout February, in March, which was exciting, we decided we would do hyper focus at each individual location. So my team went in, and we trained Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, on different topics. And then on Saturday, we hung out in their mattress department and held them accountable for the training that we had just taught that previous week. Then we came back a second week and trained again, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday with a follow-up Saturday. So we spent two solid weeks at each location, working individually with sales associates training in the morning, staying in the department’s following up on Saturday. But what we focused on was the behavioral change to kind of tweak people to be a little bit better. So that started early on in January, February. In March, we ended up with the single biggest mattress month we’d ever had in April. Go ahead. Go ahead, Mark.
Mark. Quinn: No, I just have to ask you what was like it, I love what you’re talking about. And by the way, for everyone listening to this, it’s important to note the amount of time that you invested into it because you knew the payoff was going to be worth it. Right. So I think what you’ve done there I think needs to be called out. But secondly, when you say behavior change, Dr. v. What was it that needed to shift for you guys? Like you were doing already really a good job. But what did you identify what was the behavior you were trying to change? Be specific about that part.
Dr. V.: Alright, so here were the four topics. So the way our salespeople work, they work Tuesday, Wednesday, and then are off Thursday, Friday, or they work Thursday, Friday off Tuesday, Wednesday. That’s significant because when you work Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and training, each team is getting in our sales in our stores are getting two days of training that week. So there were four pieces of training total that we focused on. The first one was how to connect, it goes to what we were just talking about with Doorcounts. You’ve got to connect deeper with those associates when they’re coming into the brick and mortar store. We were given a gift post-pandemic with these tailwinds because the guest wants to engage with us. And so it’s how to tear down those walls. What type of questions are you going to ask? Because the reality is we are no longer the source of information for our guests. The internet is the research that they’re doing prior to coming in. So first we had to connect second. We talked about how to do the pillow fitting properly Really, as we talked about, as we talked about selling sleep accessories, especially pillows, doing a pillow fitting has nothing to do with selling pillows, it has everything to do with selling mattresses because that’s where you get your first Yes. And letting behavior be where they didn’t do the shortcut. In other words, if I’ve done enough pillow fittings, I can pretty much guess what type of pillow might fit you best. So I found that salespeople were taking shortcuts. So we really wanted to change that behavior to realize that part of the engagement with that guest was the pillow fitting process, and it deserved the five minutes to dedicate to it because you really get to connect with that guest as you’re going through that experience. So it’s connecting with the guest pillow fitting, and then we wanted to go ahead and introduce the adjustable base. We know that’s one of our stallions, is the attachment ratio of the adjustable base, but we want it to be part of the sleep system. So once you’re actually doing the pillow testing before you get into it, we introduce the adjustable base at that point feet have got to rise, hands have got to rise, not to do a full-blown presentation, it’s just to introduce it as part of the sleep system, to let them know that the mattresses that we carry, you know, 95% of them articulate. And so there is this opportunity to go ahead and have that experience out there. So very, very excited about where we’re at. So that was the third one, then the fourth one was what we call the roll down, roll down was basically a scenario to where you were able to know where to go next. If we started on TempurPedic, where were you going to roll to the next spring, and really allow the guest to go or the salesperson to go through that environment?
Mark Kinsley: So Dr. V, that was that was a recap of the behavior change you were trying to introduce. And I think Quinn really pegged something I think is super important. And you kind of reinforced it, you went in and you saw that your salespeople were trying to do a few shortcuts here and there because they were really good at kind of identifying where the guests might gravitate. But you said we can’t do shortcuts, the first thing we have to do is connect. And then Quinn, you know, you guys talked about just this idea of, you know, focusing on connection and making that a priority. That is such a, as the beginning. It’s such an opening, it’s not specced speak, we’re not vomiting information at them. So you were trying to get them to change behavior so that they weren’t doing shortcuts. And really the piece Quinn mentioned was and you as a leadership team went in and did not do any shortcuts, you spend a significant amount of time with people to make sure it’s stuck. What was it like paint a picture for us? What was it like on that Saturday? after the training? What did you see? What did you notice? Do you see anything that stood out?
Dr. V.: Well, absolutely. That was the exciting part of it is because Saturday was all about accountability, which you just talked about on your recent podcast nanny.
Dr. V.: Right, exactly, to be able to teach the concept, but then hold them accountable. So with us being physically there, we were looking to make sure you know, as I always say, you can’t coach for results, you can only coach for a process. And so what I spent two weeks in training on is really about the first 10 minutes of the actual process. And so we were really dialed in. So I was looking for did they actually connect, and we found them having questions. Dealing with our guests, we look to see where they’re actually feet rising, we’d look to see did they pull two pillows, one thinner, one thicker. And then if they tried to shortcut, we were immediately there to reinforce the positive behavior that we were looking for. So it was excited on those Saturdays. But then we fell it up the next Saturday the same way. We were looking to actually change the behavior of furniture salespeople. And that’s where that significance came in. And we did it a store at a time so that we could turn around and absolutely make sure that it’s stuck.
Mark Kinsley: Another strategy that you mentioned to us. This has been a few months ago now, as you were thinking about this race to the summit, the summer of sleep, the biggest mattress summer in history. You did some math that I think Furniture and Mattress store owners, people in leadership roles are going to find really interesting. Tell us about elevating top performers, instead of lower performers. You did some math on this.
Dr. V.: This is one of the more exciting things that actually came out of this whole thing. So as I said, we started this process in January. We went to all the different stores in January, February, and March, two weeks at a time. March was the single biggest mattress month in our history, followed up by April, which then became our single biggest month in our history. And so we started looking at May. And of course, we were excited by two months in a row of record-breaking numbers. And the results that we were getting in our BLS kept increasing over and over, you know, we’d like to be no less than 20% of our BLS. We’re currently running 24% in the mattress category, compared to the other categories. And so we looked at May, and we said, what are we going to do for this summer sleep, and we knew one of the things we wanted to do was to do training as a reward. And to do something that is typically not done, most people look upon training, I won’t go as far as to say it’s a punishment. But very few sales, people are excited about going to training sometimes. So I really wanted to elevate that. So we decided to call it a race to the summit, what’s a somatic gathering of individuals, top-notch individuals, we wanted to offer a training program that was going to be Check this out, it’s eight hours long, it’s from nine, nine o’clock in the morning, till five o’clock in the evening, it’s eight solid hours of solid mattress training, like really, and we only wanted the best of the best. And so when you’re doing training, a lot of times you got to train to the lowest common denominator, so you don’t leave anyone behind. No Child Left Behind kind of concept. What we wanted to do was reward the positive behavior. So we decided to make May, the contest. So from May 1 through May 31, obviously, the last day, being Memorial Day was the race to the summit. And we were looking for the top 25 individuals during the month of May. Now your reward for actually going to doing this was one, you get to go to eight hours of training on your day off. Now we are going to pay him to actually come which was like $300, but we don’t want to take them away from their floor. So you got to come on your day off. We’re doing four identical trainings on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, starting on June 22. So it’s coming out next week. But it’ll be but that’s the reward. And because we’re doing with the best of the best, this level of training dives much deeper than just the typical surface training that we do to our typical furniture, salespeople, these people are already good. But here’s my general philosophy. If you’re on a scale of one to 10, and your two, if I make you 20% better, you’re 2.4 you’re still worthless. Now, if you’re an eight, and I make you 20%, better your 9.6 game changer. And so this was trying to make the best of the best salespeople that we have put them in a room together, sharing that its kind of like when the three of us get together, you know, where you really get explosive knowledge and training and best practices with a real deep dive into some of our categories. So yeah, that’s where that but that drove the month of May. And so me not only was our single biggest month ever that beat April in March, but it was up by like 20% more than the previous record we’ve ever had. It was just amazing. Every day we sit out the mattress numbers to salespeople, and it was exciting to watch how those people change all the way throughout. But if you didn’t do at least $30,000 in the month of May in betting you weren’t even in the running. But there was really only probably a couple of $1,000 it’s separated 25 from like 45 it was that competitive with people wanting to come to this training.
Mark. Quinn: In the thing about the furniture store selling mattresses, items are that this guy is Dr. V have so much to remember. Right. So they’ve got an upholstery dining room, occasional depending on what all you have in so those salespeople have a lot of products that they have to have product knowledge on. And with the mattress category specifically because it’s so competitive. The selling process is a big deal. It’s important to you because it’s a high GMarkOI gross margin return on investment in terms of a category. So it’s important that Michela get it right because there’s profit built into that. But with sleep, it’s also something very emotional. So the fact that it requires time requires attention. And I love that you’re talking about the top 25 and the training is a privilege because if they get to that top 25 I bet you if you look at your numbers, the top 25% of your people do 90% of the volume or something like that, right. The numbers pay off From your perspective, in terms of your focus on those people, and then the guys that are in the bottom 75 have a reason to drive themselves to get into the top 25%. So I love all of that. I think it’s so cool. Can you react a little bit to what I said about, you know, furniture stores the difference between the furniture store and the mattress category, I’m saying to you that they have a lot of other things to sell. What other things like why, why else? is it so important for a furniture store to put so much focus on the mattress category?
Dr. V.: Well, you know, I mean, it all boils down to that balance is here. But you’re right on target mark. You know, it’s funny, we had a, we had a salesperson recently, that came to us from another furniture store, her husband got transferred down south, she got transferred to one of our cities, she was an easy hire. But I talked to her the other day, and she paid me one of the highest compliments I’ve ever gotten. She said at my previous furniture store. If I did eight, eight to 10% in mattress sales, that was considered to be pretty good. But if I don’t do 20% here and Miss Kelly’s, then I suck. And I thought, well, what a great compliment. Because we create the culture, those mattresses are part of it. So one of the things, one of the ideas, and I actually got this from a furniture salesperson, they came to me and they were struggling. Now, this is going to be one of those ideas. That seems so obvious. But it’s like we never implemented it until a furniture salesperson pointed it out to me. So we had these tailwinds and upholstery and case goods doing extremely well. And I was talking to a sales associate. And she said she wasn’t selling as many mattresses compared to the bedrooms that she was selling was much easier right now to sell bedroom groups. People were investing in that. And she said, Is there any way I can create do an additional discount if they buy a mattress at the same time that they buy a bed? And we said yes. And we came up with ma’am. I’m sorry, I scare you there, man. Now that’s significant because it’s got fired up is what you did, yeah, bed and mattress, bam, that was our code, ba M. And we actually put a $50 coupon code in our point of sale system, that if you have a bed, and if you have a mattress, you can click on this code. And it gives you an extra $50 above and beyond anything else that we’re doing. But now we have signage through all of our bedroom gallery and mattress gallery that says bam, buy a bed and a mattress. And so in sales meetings, I always ask for a show of hands, how many people did a BAM today or this week or whatever, you know, and all these hands are going up. And it’s creating this focus that when you’re buying a bed, the sales associate could say, hey, we’ve got an additional discount, let me show your mattress department and take them over there and just engage or if they’re buying a mattress, hey, if you buy a bed today to go with it, we’ll save you an extra $50. So it’s just creating that Top of Mind Awareness. But your margins are good selling mattresses for a furniture store. I mean, think about this, if you sell a bedroom set, you got to pull that stuff down. You got to unwrap it, you got to put on handles, you’ve got to prep it to make sure it doesn’t have any scratches. There’s a lot of pre-work that has to go in when you sell a bedroom set.
Mark. Quinn: So now to be why if they’re not selling the furniture store salespeople if they’re not selling, if you look at the list of your RSA is and you go Okay, these three guys for whatever reason, they’re not getting to 20% let’s say they’re around 10. Can you just tell us what do you think? Is there? Is there a common thread like why don’t furniture people sell more mattresses?
Dr. V.: Absolutely. There is a common thread that comes down to confidence. Okay, I’ll give you an earth-shattering realization. Okay, salespeople fear looking stupid. Salespeople fear looking stupid to their guests.
Mark. Quinn: Now, Kinsley and I clearly do not fear this.
Dr. V.: Well, I’m telling you, I do not present what I do not understand. I don’t have to understand a whole lot about the case goods because the locals sell it or the upholstery if the guest wants it. But when it comes to mattresses, and they’re all those we joke white rectangles, and what’s the difference between the different mattresses, if I don’t understand it, and I’m afraid that I’m going to get asked questions about it. Because of that fear. It drives me away from the category. And so that’s the reason why we emphasize sighs training so much at Miss Kelly’s. I want to create that culture where they know it, they hear about it, they’re comfortable with it. And nurtures. While we spend a lot of time with fear is the biggest reason why furniture salespeople, that’s why you don’t have that problem in sleep stores, because they have the confidence because they’ve been trained on it. But in furniture stores, if I don’t understand it, I will avoid presenting it. If I don’t know what remote looks like on an adjustable base. Guess what? I don’t talk about it. Because I’m afraid you’re gonna ask me a question. And I won’t know what buttons go where and all that kind of thing. So that’s the reason why practice and training are so important in furniture sales, person’s life in terms of how successful are going to be in selling betting.
Mark Kinsley: And I think that’s a key here you have the fear of the salesperson, which can be overcome by the prioritization of the leadership team. To number one, recognize the reason we are not transitioning from case goods back to the mattress department is that people are scared because they don’t have confidence. They don’t want to look like an idiot, they want to don’t want to sabotage the sale they just made in another department. And if the leadership team doesn’t recognize that, then they’re not going to make it a priority, and help them train to a level that they aren’t scared of. Or they do have confidence. Because when I hear you say bam, I’m like, I’m always thinking about how can we help furniture stores that have mattress departments, or mattress stores that have furniture departments as you help them understand if somebody comes in and is looking for something in the living room or dining room space? How do you then transition them back? And I think BAM is such a great baton pass. I love those baton passes, especially when they don’t get dropped. But then you got to get down to the core issue sometimes about well, why weren’t they doing this in the first place? Yeah, we created a little incentive here for them to get back to the mattress department. So I think foundationally you get to start with just what you describe Dr. V, give them confidence through training, and getting confident confidence through the frequency of that training, and then create those conditions within the store that you can then get people back to the mattress department.
Dr. V.: Yeah, what leadership makes important, so shall the salesperson, so shall the customer. If leadership doesn’t look upon the Mattress category as important and doesn’t devote resources to its time, effort, money training, all of those kinds of things, then the salespeople won’t either. And if salespeople don’t make it important, then they’re not asking their customers how they slept last night. And they’re not talking about a better night’s sleep and the impact of what that actually means. So yeah, I agree with your markets. It really needs to be the importance of leadership, and then it will trickle down. It’s creating a culture.
Mark. Quinn: Are you making it fun for them? Dr. V, because we talk a lot about, you know, working for a place, that’s fun and the importance of that. And nowadays, people when I was doing the nationwide tour, a lot of retailers were talking about how it’s difficult to get people to come work at their place. And I think you guys have such a fun culture, I don’t think that’s probably an issue for you guys. So has this made it fun for your people to focus on it, but also, you’ve kind of gamified it and in in the contrast is driving some of those competitive juices? Can you tell us a little bit about the reaction from the people and their appreciation for the fact that you’ve learned into something like this?
Dr. V.: Well, and so Yes, I will. And I’d be delighted to because that’s all part of it. One, we don’t coach for results. In other words, I never go up. Somebody say why did you not make that sale? I coach for a process. But we are heavy, heavy on approbation and praise. And so we love to catch our people doing it right? Whether it results in the sale or not. I want to reinforce the behavior. So when I’m walking through the department, and I see where someone’s raised the feet, or someone pulled the pillow correctly, regardless of the outcome. post that I’m going up there and going mark that was amazing, great job on that. I’m so excited to see you raise that feed. How did that feel? I’m saying because the more they do it, the more they practice it the more way of life it becomes. So when you have a culture that really focuses on praise. And that kind of reward is the way we treat it. And we don’t have a culture where I whack you upside the head because you didn’t do it right. That’s just not who we are. People are excited about that. But let me tell you something else we decided to do. This was another idea that we came about because Memorial Day to Labor Day is 15 weeks. How do you ever promote in a furniture store? That last 15 weeks. And so we came up with the idea of a weekly sales contest. It’s kind of a lottery kind of scenario. And it starts every Thursday, it ends every Wednesday. And the payout is actually every Saturday. So we are actually closed on Sundays. And so for us, Saturday is our big day. So what you do is you earn lottery tickets, and we had to decide what we’re going to be the horses that we’re going to attach our wagon to. And Miskelly’s we knew it had to be one TempurPedic, two, Stearns, and foster three power bases. Those were our three main horses. And so what we basically have our computer system does is you earn a ticket for every TempurPedic, you sell every Stern’s that you sell every power base that you sell, including even as simple as a heads up base, which is only like $499. And for every $2,000 in mattress sales that you sell, you’re in a ticket, but then we so salespeople, and then we divided up the different stores, to have Matt, so our bigger store actually pulls out for tickets, every single Saturday morning, our smaller store pulls two tickets, but they all go into the bucket Saturday morning. And the prize is a $50 bill. It’s not very expensive. But we’re going to spend $500, a week on a weekend that we’re going to pay out to our sales associates and cash money. But they earn those tickets. And so it’s an immediate reward. And we send out the report every single night at 8:30 pm. Every sales associate gets the record of exactly how many tickets they’ve earned during that particular week. We are currently in week three. And then this week, which was exciting, I built in a double payout week. So I took those times where the TempurPedic sale just ended from the Memorial Day Sale, and it’s before the Fourth of July begins. So we went ahead and decided to go ahead and put in that actual double payout. So I’m going to pull eight tickets at my main store for tickets at the other stores, we’re going to give away $1,000 in cash this Saturday, but every Saturday morning, we have a drawing for people that are in cash money. And it just creates that Top of Mind excitement every single week. And we built in these double payout weeks. So for 15 weeks, we’re actually going to pay out $10,000 in cash. Now we expect we’re going to do over $5 million. So it’s a very small percentage, but it creates excitement and reward and the ability to reward the behavior that we’re looking for. And that is a focus on temper Stern’s power bases and overall sales in the mattress category.
Mark Kinsley: That’s a really fun process. And I like the competition you create while also creating community. And I think those two things need to hold hands competition and community a lot better than the competition and sacrificing community. Because your team should be strengthened by things like this. And clearly, when you put a focus on the mattress department, you make it fun and you have these incentives and you have these surprises that Dr. V is planting in front of people along the way. It sounds like a blast. Okay, so just a quick reset here. So we’re talking with Dr. v. Allen Vonderhaar Miskellys, So Dr. V, tell us where you’re at right now, with the summer of sleep and trying to have the biggest mattress summer in history. What’s your forecast looking like? How do you think this thing’s gonna shake out any predictions?
Dr. V.: Well, I just haven’t had the latest sales results.
Mark Kinsley: Well, let’s have a meeting there.
Dr. V.: So what a good time for me to actually share this information. So this started out June 1st because may 31st was part of the race to the summit. And that was to be eligible for the training. So we started June one, there are actually 84 selling days because we go six days a week that we have out there. So we’re tracking that, but we knew that June was going to be a record-breaking month that Miskellys as a company was going to go up against so I have the month-to-date comparison to 2020. And the company is up 0.95%. Okay,1%, I would call that flat, give or take 1% you’re basically flat, which is great. Considering that last June, you know, we can we were closed part of March and April, we’re open the month of May, which was a really good month, but June, we just broke out as a lot of people did. So to go up against a record-breaking month a year ago, and still be able to maintain those numbers was pretty exciting. However, when you take the deeper dive, you’ll notice that the bedroom category is down 6% upholstery is down 4% outdoor down 16% dining down 20% the mattress category is up 30% over last year’s numbers in 2020. So even though the company is flat, almost all my categories are trailing behind except for the mattress category. It is literally up 30% over last year’s numbers. Yes.
Mark Kinsley: Wow. Wow. You’re really bringing that number up for the entire company? Through mattress sales.
Dr. V.: Yeah, mattress sales are carrying us right now driving our numbers keeping up with what we did a year ago. In terms so as these furniture stores start to the anniversary, what were really exceptional numbers a year ago due to the tailwinds and his tailwind start to drive down. No one wants to give up that business. So what are you going to do to drive it? You know, how creative what’s going to be the strategy. And as I said before, with leadership makes important, so shall the salesperson, so shall the customer?
Mark. Quinn: Now, I think I’m here to just comment, no real quick comment then. And then I’ll bring you in. But The comment was in a raw material shortage, you guys are finding away, right? It’s easy to find rocks to hide behind, honestly. But you guys are finding a way to drive it. So I just wanted to make that point. So good on you. Kinsley all you baby.
Mark Kinsley: Yeah, that is a great pause point. Yeah, gosh, in these conditions. I think there’s so many people that, look, these are real issues, when nobody’s saying they’re not the man to have a team and a company that’s figured out a way around this. I bet people right now are saying, Okay, how do I get this doctor V’s phone number and like ask a few questions on my own? I mean, well, what would you say to people that are having the same raw material shortages and supply issues as everyone else about how you navigate that maybe some tips or ideas or mindset?
Dr. V.: Well, we’re very fortunate that our ownership basically said, we’re gonna invest in inventory. So we’ve been pushing, you know, our vendors to have as much in stock as we can. So my merchandising department as a whole, one of the things that we do is that we work really hard to educate our sales force of the items that we have in stock, so that when you have that guest that doesn’t want to wait in there looking for in-stock purchase. Today, we have a list of our products that come out every week on what we currently have at that particular moment. Plus, we have a website that allows you to sort by in-stock merchandise. So that is a flag that we actually have on our website that allows you to actually limit that. So whether that’s in case goods or mattresses or upholstery, so we have that resource, but it’s really trying to have a merged department that’s educating. So one, really trying to find where merch in sales, spend a lot of time communicating is certainly one way around that. I mean, you could only deal with what you have in your warehouse in terms of in-stock Also about building that value, that value. We’ve tried to be very, very transparent, overall with all of our guests about the issues and supply issues that are out there. And sometimes that’s not always telling them the good news, because there sometimes isn’t. And there’s a lot of unknowns when stuff is going to arrive.
Mark Kinsley: You have spent a lot of time, a lot of time on the podium, getting back and forth to people about here’s what’s happening, and making connecting.
Dr. V.: Yeah, like every two weeks, you know, we actually have a philosophy that we will actually text our customers through podium that basically says, Hey, I don’t really have an update, but I just want to let you know that we’ve not forgotten you. And if I get anything new information, I’ll share it. And it’s just that simple text to your guests that says, I still don’t know when it’s coming. But I’ve not forgotten you either. You know, we’re a huge fan of podium, by the way.
Mark. Quinn: Well, you say that you’re the fan? Inaudible[49:48]
Mark Kinsley: Are you prove?
Dr. V. : Oh, yeah, you could say, I mean, I’m wearing podium socks. I mean, there you go.
Mark. Quinn:I don’t want to do this. But I have something to I asked him podium boxers on that I want to share.
Dr. V.: Give me a pair of podium boxers I probably wear.
Mark Kinsley: Alright, well, I want to talk to our friends over at podium about that. Who knows, maybe they get into the apparel business through us. But they hate if they’re going to brand their merch, we got to make sure they do it through colonial.
Mark. Quinn: Okay, that’s right.
Mark Kinsley: So I love that.
Dr. V.: By the way, you at least try to minimize conflict through communications. Yeah. You know, that’s, and podium is a great way for us to be able to do that. But it’s really being transparent with your guests, and then upfront with what the reality it is if they’re choosing to wait or not help them with the in stock. But once again, everything goes back to it’s not about the mattress. It’s about the way you sleep. And so our focus through all of our mattress presentations is on getting a better night’s sleep. And there’s a reason why that guests walked into a brick-and-mortar store when they could have bought online and chosen not to. So there’s a reason there. So connect with those individuals, to really be able to understand where they’re coming from. The sales will come naturally, as long as your focus is on the guests and their better night’s sleep.
Mark Kinsley: You know, one thing you said that I really want to implant into people’s brains as a takeaway, an actionable takeaway right now, is this idea of communicating outside of the sale, the fact that you pick up a podium or login your dashboard, and you say, Hey, we don’t have any news about the product. But we’re thinking about you. That’s what it communicates. You’re on our minds. That is so powerful. And we talked about this during our nationwide keynote, this concept and you’re doing it, you win, or lose in the transitions. And that’s a transition. Whenever somebody goes from being a potential customer to they bought something, but it hasn’t arrived, that dead space is a transition and you can lose big time, or you can be intentional, and you can win. I think that’s so incredibly powerful. And it just shows that you have a heart you care. And boy, if I was gonna do it, right now, it’d be like, how can I communicate in that dead space with people and be intentional about a lot of them.
Dr. V.: That was a major focus for you guys in your book back to bed, you know, shameless plug, but it’s a great resource. So if you’re a furniture store or mattress store out there and you’ve not bought this book, back to bed by the Dos Marco’s prayer, you should, because that was one of the messages that I got out of that. And there were several that I actually took and put right into play. There you go pull it, there we go. Shameless show, you know, whatever sponsors come back to bed. But it’s just filled with the idea. But the philosophy behind that is really winning in the transition, winning by focusing on the guest. And that was one of your key themes throughout that entire book was how do you focus on the guest? Individually, you know, so it’s not just about the big dollar sales, and it’s not about the contest. We win one guest at a time.
Mark Kinsley: And something you told me this has also been a few months back. A number one it was it was probably more it’s just one of the greatest compliments that we get about the book is when somebody takes it and they do something with it. And I know that you looked at the section on mission, vision values culture brand. And you actually did the hard work for developing that in relation to this new role you were taking on, as solely focused on the mattress department within the Miskellys. And I remember you said something to me. And I’d like you to describe this a little more and talk about it. You said it was hard. You said there’s hard work. And I think we said that in the book, like to get your mission vision values, your culture, your brand and get clear about these things. Here’s how you go about it. Here are the steps, but it’s going to require some really hard work. And you said it was hard work, paint a picture, like what was that like for you and what was hard.
Dr. V.: Fortunately, this was actually adopted by the leadership team, in particular, Oscar Miskellys, who is our CEO, and owner of the business. But he really wanted to go down this path. Once again, leadership makes important, so shallow, the people below. So CEO wanted this to be important. So became important to us on the leadership team, which has been pretty exciting. So he actually dedicated and completely off-site meeting for an entire day, just to this topic to really define, you know, who we are, and what is our vision statement going to be in, we really worked hard, we had a lot of different ideas, we throw things out. But then we had to discern which ones would work which one really fit us really boiled down to what is it that we’re really ultimately trying to accomplish. And so we call that our strategic framework that came out of there. And like our vision is to become the most beloved furniture store in the southeast. But if you know that your vision, you start making decisions differently. So that’s kind of our vision, our mission, is we furnish happiness, that’s what we do, we furnish happiness through our home furnishings category. And so we really took several days to get to that point, which sounds simple on the backside. But it was hard because you had different people with different ideas with different backgrounds that had been the business different lengths of time. But to really try to boil down to what’s going to be our, our focus as a company. And at the end of the day, we really felt that we furnish happiness. We just met recently with our customer care department, because they were asking for clarity. What does that mean, when you furnish happiness, and so really trying to define, you know, what’s in the best interest of the guests what’s in the best interest of the Miskellys drawing that line and balance so hard work, but so rewarding to have a strategic framework that’s going to take Miskellys into the future.
Mark. Quinn: You know, Dr. V, I, I’m with Kinsley, I’m grateful that you shared that with us. And the fact that you guys took the time to do that work. And that it brought you to a place that not just sets you up for the immediate time being but for the future. And now you have that kind of game plan to measure everything against I think that’s incredible and great job in, bringing that leadership team together. And to do that, because it pays off huge and it will pay off big for you for the rest of the year and going forward too. So I love it. We and we love you, man, you are a bright light, my friend in this industry. Kinsey and I talk about you all the time. So glad that you gave this audience your time and knowledge and passion and enthusiasm for this category. There’s not many like you. So just keep bringing it man keep sharing stuff with us. Is there anything that we forgot to ask you that maybe you want to impart on this audience before we get out of here?
Dr. V.: Well, clearly, I am passionate about this category, this industry, and I really do make myself available. So if anybody would like to email once clarity on anything that I talked about, or suggestions or for that matter would be interested in our ongoing reports. I send out emails, all my salespeople get emails every night I send out at least once or twice a week encouraging emails that go along with that. If anybody wants to know what I’m doing there, I’ll send it to you guys as well. But my emails really easy. It’s Dr. V. as in Drv@miskellys.com. So if anybody would like any clarity, feel free to email me I’ll be happy to engage with you. Share what I share because I’m passionate about what we do. I’m passionate about helping out other people to help out other people get a better night’s sleep.
Mark Kinsley: Well if you didn’t have your notebook handy for this episode. Note I suggest you go get it and listen to it again because my notebook is two pages full and I’m trying to write my Skype. So thank you for help all the gems of wisdom and like Quinn said, thanks for the passion you bring. And by the way, I’m gonna go and make this announcement now, because I’m just going to speak it into existence. We’re gonna do a series of deep dives with Dr. v. So make sure you go to the fam, go to fam news, get subscribed. And by the way, if you subscribe, you get the audiobook of come back to bed completely free. So go over subscribe right now to fam dot news. If you’re a salesperson, retail manager leadership role doesn’t matter. Go subscribe, and you’re going to get the deep dives with Dr. V. First, and also Hey, while you’re out subscribing and the newest stuff, leave Quint review. I mean, he just he loves five-star reviews. So if you feel like he earned five stars, you can leave me five stars well, but take two people to do it. So then we get to review See what I did there guys.
Mark. Quinn: Brilliant Kinsley. I love it. And also guys know something about the show. I mean, there’s a lot of people in this industry who may not be aware of it or be aware of news. It’s a great resource. We want to expand the fan. We want you to be in it. And Dr. V once again. Thanks, my brother, you are awesome. And remember everybody. Get the leadership involved at the very top. Let it trickle down. Get people excited, make it fun, and you too can have 20% of your business be the mattress category.
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