Salesmanship: The world is upside down

Home Columns Salesmanship: The world is upside down

by Warren Tyler

Doesn’t it seem the whole world has been turned upside down? The powers that be in Washington believed they could spend us into prosperity, which never works. For most of my life I’ve been trying to do the same thing personally. All those trips to Europe and Hawaii never put a cent in my pocket.

It used to be all the major bowls were played on New Year’s Day so guys had an excuse to drink beer all day long without interference. Do you know there are now only two major bowl games on Jan. 1? What happened? It also used to be that colleges had to earn their way to a bowl invitation. Now, what college couldn’t earn an invitation to the three dozen or so bowls with names like “Hunger Bowl,” “GoDaddy Bowl” and “Compass Bowl?” What in God’s name is going on?

Lately, I’ve seen ads that seem to exhort consumers to carry their little machines into stores and instantly compare retailers’ pricing against the online merchants. Any self- respecting merchant should install equipment to jam these evil devices. Consumers actually use their cell phones as sales protection devices by talking while entering your store.

Your suppliers are complicit in turning our world upside down. Whose idea was it to sell flooring through outlets whose salespeople know absolutely nothing about flooring except how to lie about the products? Common sense dictates if the boxes didn’t carry flooring products, consumers would have to buy them somewhere else. Who stands in the door of Lowe’s or Home Depot advising consumers to check the Internet concerning installed flooring/customer complaints— Lowe’s and The Depot—and up will pop 500,000 consumer horror stories!

Who advises consumers about the applicability of the products they think they want on the Internet or freight costs as well as the cost of adhesives and other sundries needed? Where do they go to get certified installers when professional retailers have problems separating the bums from the craftsmen? And, most of all, who is there to take care of problems, concerns and complaints? Tainted by the illegitimate outlets, we have gone from a having a dubious reputation to that of being outright con artists.

At one time carpet used to make up 80% of our volume.

Why? Because it is the most beautiful, practical, fastest, easiest and cost effective way to completely transform our customers’ homes. It is also the best consumer value on the market. However, because of the quality of carpets sold by Ollies, Walmart, and, in some cases, builders and other mass merchandisers, consumers now believe that carpet won’t stand up in the home. Add to this the unbelievable carpet warranties that suggest the carpet could stand up to anything short of a nuclear war and the perception of indestructibility can only lead to disappointment. Carpet now accounts for 50% of our volume. What a travesty! Upside down!

Be this as it may, besides the illegitimate outlets and consumers who now can’t go two steps without speaking on the cell phone, always having to have a bottle of something with them along with snacks, they have also developed dishonorable ways of dealing with merchants. Still, we have to deal with them. We have to get into their perverse little world, develop ways of counter measuring and working for the Internet providers and counter the lies of the big boxes and finally learn how to sell quality materials and present them in a way that makes sense to people.

I would be very interested in your comments about how you are meeting these challenges. Please post your comments below.

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