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Patios Plus boosts sales expertise with ICFA training program

ICFARANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- Outdoor furnishings retailer Patios Plus is the first retail member of the International Casual Furnishings Association (ICFA) to have its entire sales team complete the ICFA Sales Training Certificate Program.

Established in 1976, the 10,000-sq.-ft. Rancho Mirage Patios Plus and a 7,000-sq.-ft. companion store in La Quinta have been under the direction of Jim Schultz and Kristine Schultz Hutchinson since 1992. The two were honored in September with the industry's prestigious Apollo Award in the multi-store category. It was their third Apollo win.

"ICFA is very pleased to recognize Patios Plus as our first retail member to have all of its sales associates complete the ICFA Sales Training Certificate Program," said Joseph P. Logan, ICFA executive director. "It is an admirable achievement and speaks to their commitment to excellence in their store operations. We encourage all ICFA member stores to follow their example!"

ICFA's Sales Training Certificate Program was developed in cooperation with Greg Welsh, Welsh Sales Group. The California-based training company has developed retail sales and management training programs for retail chains, manufacturers and buying groups. Welsh has personally trained more than 15,000 sales professionals over the past 19 years in 48 states and in more than 12 countries.

"With the current state of our economy and our wide range of clients, it has become much more important for us to adapt our selling styles to meet their needs," Schultz said. "With the completion of the ICFA training videos, we learned much more about reading our clients' needs - and not being afraid to ask for the sale when we have met them. Overall, it was a great way to refresh our sales team with new ideas and positive ways to look at every sale situation. In turn, we have seen a positive shift in our closing ratio, keeping us on the upswing for our new season."

The three-tier ICFA sales training program is DVD-based and includes companion workbooks, tests at each level and a certificate upon completion. Each sales associate who successfully completes the program also receives a lapel pin.

ICFA members can purchase the DVDs for $99 each or $297 for the basic, advanced and master level package. The cost is $795 for each level for non-member companies. The online tests are $15 each.

"As a three-time Apollo Award winner, it is no mistake that Jim and Kristine recognize the value of training their entire team to a very high level," said ICFA Chairman Eric Parsons, Gloster Furniture.

The ICFA sales training program can be ordered at


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