Retail education: Real discounts

Home Columns Retail education: Real discounts

by Kelly Kramer

I’m sure you’ve seen television commercials that offer 60% off flooring. In the commercial, a lady stands in her home and says. “I only paid for this much carpet and I got all this! How do they do it?” I’ve never worked for a retailer that marked anything installed up to a 60% profit but I know how they do it: They lie and treat the buying public like they are stupid. They are of the old-school belief in selling that says “stick it to them because they would stick it to you.”

This same company uses high-pressure home closing tactics and even refuses to give yardage or footage totals for their final in-home estimate. They present it to the customer as a package deal where the yardage is not important—it’s the total price. The customer is not shown the total area footage or yardage. She is just told what a great deal it is because it is 60% off. Then, if the customer does not fall for that price, they make them a final, in-home, last chance offer. I’m jokingly guessing that this last offer must be close to about 75% off.

These estimators/hard closers are trained to close the first time in and are paid little to nothing if the sale is made after they leave. When they fail to close, a call is made from headquarters about three days later with an even lower discount. I’m guessing this discount must be about 110% off. It seems they will pay you to take carpet off their hands. She just pays $6,000 for the pad and labor on three bedrooms, plus shipping and handling. Here’s the worst part: it works on enough buyers that they keep doing it. You know the saying, “You can fool some of the people”? At my very meanest, I could never treat people this way.

Tough times, creative discounts

Although I’m starting to see volume pick up these last few months, I’m also starting to see my customers look longer and try to shop smarter. For example, my wife and I own some rental home property. In most cases, I do the repairs myself but there are a few things I won’t do like trimming tall trees. So my wife suggested we call around because “times are tough and there might be someone out there willing to do it for less.”

My first response was that I didn’t want an out-of-work yahoo climbing a tree with a chain saw in my yard. That is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

But the point is, people are looking to take advantage of these poor economic times. So find some legitimate discounts that are still worth doing.

One thing my company does is offer furniture moving at no charge for seniors. Here is how that one first came across: An elderly couple, I’m guessing in their late seventies, were sitting at my desk giving me information to go out to measure. The old guy said, “Is this the best price you have? I plan on getting other bids.”

I smiled and said, “We always offer our best prices along with terrific installs and service. So, you do have my best price”

Then I followed up. “I hate to ask you this, but are you over 60?” He knew it was some cheap flattery but still wanted to know why I asked. “We offer no-charge furniture moving to seniors because we don’t want anyone getting hurt.” Bingo. He got my best deal and a bonus to prove to his wife he was a tough negotiator.

There are several ways to show a real discount. Just look for real needs, be creative, and always be up front that you want their business.

Thanks for reading.

Kelly Kramer, based in Loveland, Colo., is an author, inventor and owner of Kelly’s Carpet Wagon. To book him for public speaking engagements, call 970.622.0077 or e-mail

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