Retail education: You know more

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by Kelly Kramer

Even with all the research it takes to put together training manuals for flooring retailers and other industry experts, I’d still be considered ignorant when compared to the scientists, engineers and designers that make our products today. I’m basically a guy who is good at doing book reports; I take as much technical data and personal sales observations I can and condense them down to understandable versions to educate my readers.

I’ve borrowed/stolen technical information from brilliant scholars like RBI’s Reg Burnett, FCNews’ columnist Lew Migliore, and the late great Carl Williams to give you the best information on how products are made and tested. In fact, Carl Williams allowed me to borrow portions of his “Textiles Dictionary” to use as my own flooring dictionary for my first training manual, “Selling Clean In Retail Flooring.”

Reg Burnett gave me the most thorough training on carpet fiber, stain blockers and tufting construction that one could ever hope for. I learned from Lew Migliore what happens when you improperly educate your buyers on what is really going to happen when the flooring is actually in the home or business. In selling methods I have to give credit to Dale Carengie who “wrote the books” on understanding human psychology and what motivates people.

FCNews’ founder, Al Wahnon taught me that a man’s word is everything in life, and to always hire the best. And I can’t forget my mentor Warren Tyler, who understands salesmanship like no other. So you might say that with all my research, these guys still know more than I do. As Warren always says, “All the great information is already out there.” We just compile it and put it into plain English.

No matter what level of education you are at, you still know more about flooring than the general buying public. But do you remember to use it? Personally, when I need to break a poor selling streak, I go back to teaching. Instead of looking at a customer as a sale, I treat them like an ignorant/ uneducated consumer. Remember this buyer may have already met two or three sales clerks who simply tried to push a sale, which was probably of the highest priced item in the showroom.

You realize that just a little education can set you far apart from your competition. Most people just want to know why one product costs more than another, what will do the job, and what cheap and luxury products are. A brief education does that for them.

To give you an example of how a little education goes a long way, I’ll give you the two minute education my new customers all get on ceramic tile. First, there is a red clay back or foundation/bisque. Next up the line is a white clay back, then a porcelain base, followed by a solid body porcelain. What do they coat the top with? Is it two, three or four colors, is it textured, dull or shiny and does it have an imprint like stone?

Basically, the better the base materials are and the more steps taken to achieve a certain look, the more it costs. If scientists and engineers who make tile heard this description, they would call me a simpleton, but my buyers say, “That guy really knows his stuff.” Now I’m the guy they want to buy from.

My training manuals contain a ton of my own information as well as information from the people I referenced above. Make yourself the one who knows more than they do and be “that guy” who really knows his stuff. Order the Top Package in my ad because education pays well. I’m living proof of that.

Thanks for reading.

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