Meet Christina Lamont
From the HGO Merchandiser
For many, shopping for a commodity is a chore. That is, something to be done rather than something to look forward to. Since it’s not always easy to make shopping for a new sofa exciting, it’s especially commendable when the sales associate thrives because she reminds the customer of one very important fact: shopping, whether for a sofa or any other piece furniture, is always supposed to be fun.
Christina Lamont of Smitty’s Fine Furniture was named the Retail Sales Professional Award recipient for the Central Region (Ontario and Quebec) because she makes customers feel like they’re doing something fun and special: making their home more functional and beautiful.
Lamont was nominated by Lani Lorenz, a sales manager with Smitty’s, a two-unit, family-owned independent retailer with stores in Hanover and Kitchener, Ontario.
“Christina has a special way with every customer she greets and works with,” is how she’s described in her RSP Award nomination. “She is very ‘down to earth’ and ‘tells it like it is’. Customers love her, respect her and only want to work with her. She is extremely talented at merchandising our showrooms to make each room grouping look its best. Christina has done many complete homes for all furnishings and accessories.
“In the five years Christina has continued each year to achieve higher sales to become our top salesperson for the past two years,” it continues. “This past year, she was top sales as well. Christina’s goal for 2019 is to be a million-dollar sales achiever.”
Lamont was surprised and flattered to find she had won and says she thrives in an environment where every day promises something new. “Every day is different. Everybody comes in with a new need and you get to research and help them find the right products,” she told HGO in an interview. It’s great to look forward to work every day because you are meeting new people and helping them create their dream spaces.”
Lamont works to create a stress-free environment for shoppers as soon as they walk in the door. “I usually just try to greet them and let them know that shopping is supposed to be fun and there’s no need to stress about it. I tell them to just come on in and try things out and we'll see what works.”
Customers will often share a great shopping experience with family and friends, which helps her – and the store – grow their clientele. “Stay friendly and they’ll come back. After their furniture is delivered and they’re sitting with their friends and family, it usually comes up how, you know, somebody might have helped them out and hopefully, that family member will come in and shop at the store.”
When clients walk through the door, Lamont listens carefully to what they want in order to guide them to the pieces that will best suit their needs. The sales associate’s job, she suggests, often involves some problem-solving skills. “I’m usually listening to the problem so I can help find a solution because they’re in the store because they don't know what the solution is. I can help guide them and help them find something, and even if we need to create it from scratch, that’s something that we will take the time to do.”
Lamont believes personality is important when selling. “Listening skills, and a little bit of humour [at work] and I think consistency is important,” she says. “Just know that you’re going to learn something new every single day.”
She’s also passionate about mattresses. “I think everybody should be sleeping on a really good mattress. Customers invest in something for themselves and it’s going to help them feel great about themselves or might even help heal something. A good mattress is going to help them feel good for the rest of their day.”
Ultimately, Lamont feels good when her customer feels good – especially if that good feeling lasts long after the sale is over. “It just helps me feel helpful to somebody else in the world.”
As far as career highlights go, Lamont says she’s appreciated getting the opportunity to travel to different Canadian manufacturers to see how they make their products. “Going to Quebec on the VIA train really stands out,” she says.
When she isn’t at work, Lamont loves to explore the world. “I love to travel when I can, whether it is camping along Lake Huronor heading somewhere warm in the winter, such as Jamaica or the Dominican Republic.”
The best part of her job – aside from helping customers – is feeling part of a family. “I like that Smitty’s is family owned and operated. Everyone that works here works like a team and we care about what we do,” she says.
Her advice for the budding sales associate is a friendly and easygoing attitude will go a long way. “I would say you have to be a good people person and just roll with it. Everybody has different personalities and hopefully, they'll like yours as well and you can connect with them on a personal level and help them with their furniture while they're there.”