May 11/18, 2015; Volume 29/Number 3
By David Romano
“Strike while the iron is hot.”
“Get it while the gettin’ is good.”
“When opportunity knocks, answer the door.”
These words ring true when it comes to persuading a flooring customer that the products you are presenting at the prices you quote are such great values that saying “no” is a terrible choice. And is there a better time to do this than when you have just completed a measure and created the quote in the customer’s space? This is when she is most excited about how the new floors will look. This is your chance to seize the moment, make the most of your opportunity and squash indecision before it creeps in.
Many will argue that measuring is an art and cannot be rushed. For the most part, I agree but have always been amazed by how shop-at-home companies such as Empire and Luna are so successful when their sales associates are taught to take length by width and then multiply by 110%. Will this work all the time? Of course not. But with straightforward, standard carpet, laminate, vinyl, LVT, VCT, wood and ceramic jobs this should suffice. When it comes to intricate bathrooms, kitchens, patterns, borders, accents, warmers and backsplashes, trying to create an estimate while sipping some coffee at the customer’s dining room table could be a costly mistake.
I could argue that making the customer wait 24 to 48 hours for the sales associate to return to the store, create a quote and call back could cost even more in lost business. We all know many people buy on impulse and two days later much of that air has left the balloon.
According to a substantiated survey conducted by Benchmarkinc in which several hundred flooring owners participated over a three-year period ending in 2013, both arguments hold a lot of water and the practice of closing in the home is now quantifiable. Independent flooring stores that had their sales associates close in the home versus those who did not experienced:
- $398,966 more in annual net sales
- $182 higher average ticket
- Owners earning $13,856 more in annual wages
- Close rates at 62%
For those who had their sales associates close in the home, the gross profit was nearly 1 point lower. That could mean rushing through the measure, winging the quote or the pressure to quickly deliver a number led to more mistakes and therefore created a reduction in gross profit. Yet the net income for the stores that had sales associates close in the home was .63% greater, meaning the benefits outweighed the negative effect on the gross profit.
For those who are still leery of having sales associates close in the home because of the mistakes, there are some options for reducing error. Measuring and estimating software has come a long way in the last decade and so have laser devices. A Leica DISTO laser, according to their specifications, is accurate to 1⁄16 of an inch. These devices in the past could cost an arm and a leg, but you can find a base model that is Bluetooth enabled for less than $150. Purchasing a Bluetooth-enabled laser and measuring software such as RFMS Measure or FloorRight by Pacific Solutions will enable you to measure the room with a laser, and it will draw it to scale in the software. Even better, software will allow a sales associate to create an accurate estimate on site and reduce worry for the homeowner.