3 things I learned from high-achieving RSAs | Thomas Lister

Samir Alkishawi and David “Smiley” Botchway both earned lots of sales in 2021.

If you’ve been reading Furniture Today for a while, you might have noticed a story that looked at the sales acumen of David “Smiley” Botchway, a retail sales associate from Mathis Brothers. He sold $4.2 million in 2021.

More recently, you might have seen a story about City Furniture’s Samir Alkishawi, who also achieved stratsospheric sales figures, hitting $3.24 million in sales.

There are more such stories coming soon, including one with an eye-popping total of high-achieving sales pros from a single store. What do all these salespeople have in common? Here are three key takeaways:

1. Pay attention to your customer

Samir Alkishawi

“I tell everybody be yourself. The more you talk, the less you sell,” Alkishawi said. “A lot of salespeople, the minute they see a customer, they want to explain everything for them. Let the customer explain to you what they need. Then, you can talk.

“If you talk, the customer will forget what you’re saying. Let them explain their needs. You have to break the wall between you and the customer and build trust. The minute the wall is broken, you’re closing the sale. Talk less, trust more. Just be yourself. If you be yourself, I guarantee you’ll get all you want and more.”

Botchway said, “If somebody wants to do well in this business, they have to build relationships with people and make sure people are comfortable around them. That’s the only way to succeed in this game. Beyond that, you can only do so much. That’s how this works.”

2. Networking makes a difference

David “Smiley” Botchway

“When I’m in public, I can’t leave the house without my business cards, period,” Botchway said. “If you talk to me, you get my business card. That’s also helping. I solicit business outside here a lot. I also solicit business in my social life.”

Added Rit Mathis, Mathis Brothers’ chief marketing officer, “I feel I’ve got a pretty good understanding of what a first class or extraordinary salesperson looks like but there’s nothing like David. He’ll go to a customer’s funeral; He’ll visit them in the hospital and passes out cards to every doctor or nurse while he’s there.

“Everybody he meets, he tells them who he is, where he works. That’s part of what he does; he tells them what he does and invites them to come shop. He creates a lot of traffic by being friendly and asking them what he does,” Mathis added.

“I always talk about work when I’m outside. I always tell everybody where I’m working so if they need anything — friends, other people who know my friends — they know I’m working at City Furniture and if they need furniture, they know I’m here,” Alkishawi said. “I always have my business cards with me. I always introduce myself. It’s almost like it’s 24/7. This is your business. You have to get 110% out of it everywhere inside and outside the business.”

3. Work time is for work

“I come to work to work. I’m not there to make friends. I’m there for business. If I make friends, that’s OK but I’m there to work and help customers until I leave,” Alkishawi said. “I don’t sit around or go to the breakroom all the time. If I go, it’s for a second or two because my focus is taking care of the customer 100%. I don’t stop for chatting or whatever. I feel it’s important if I’m at work to give it 110%.”

City Furniture CEO Andrew Koenig added, “When I come through the store, he doesn’t really care that I’m here. Those are my favorites, those who are focused on maximizing every minute of their day. It’s probably something Samir doesn’t realize he’s doing, but he’s always working. He maximizes it with his relationships, his follow-ups, communication, problem solving, prospecting for future events, he’s maximizing every minute of his day. I’ve seen it because he doesn’t want to talk to me much.”

“I knew I had to get what I can while it’s good. I’m giving it all I have day in and day out, keeping my focus,” Botchway said.

Do you have an exceptional salesperson at your company? Let’s celebrate their successes together. Reach out to me at tlester@furnituretoday.com, share their story and how I can get in touch.

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