“Just the facts, ma’am, just the facts.” Ms. Jones might pull out this Joe Friday line when she’s furniture shopping. Even if she falls head over heels in love with a sexy chaise or a beautiful bedroom, she’s going to have to justify her financial investment with some cold, hard facts. Look at the following areas where Ms. Jones might find information about furniture. Rate them for accuracy, and then rate them for influence: 1. A recommendation from a friend 2. The internet 3. A store visit Now rate your store in these same areas. Have you irritated your customer base to the point that your name is dragged through the mud more often than it’s recommended? Do you have a website? Is it fresh and relevant? Do you have tear-offs in the store that she can take home with her? Does your entire staff know your policies? Are your designers well trained? Be honest! Once Ms. Jones is in the information gathering stage, she has already decided that she’s going to buy furniture. The only question is, from whom? How do you ensure that it’s from you?