Jan 4/11; Volume 30/Number 14
By Nadia Ramlakhan
With so many flooring options available on the market today, some retailers and their salespeople may find it easier to sell one product or brand over another. Whether it is because of comfort, confidence or proven abilities, dealers find it is helpful to offer go-to products. FCNews asked flooring retailers if their personal preferences have an impact on sales and, if so, how they can get their salespeople excited about new product.
Carpetland USA Flooring Center
West Allis, Wis.
If a salesperson feels confident or more comfortable with a certain product they are going to push it. How do you get that confidence? Product performance and manufacturers living up to claims; anyone can say anything but prove it and show us what is important.
We always have PK [product knowledge] sessions with suppliers who bring in and demonstrate their products and go over features and benefits. I think it’s beneficial to have suppliers come in and do that because it’s coming directly from the manufacturing source itself.
Capauls Floor Covering
There’s a huge correlation; we actually just noticed some of our salespeople like wood so they tend to sell wood. Similarly, some of us like Karndean LVT and we sell a lot of that. Preferences and comfort play a big part in sales. We belong to the FCA Network; we’re comfortable with the pricing of our buying group’s products because I know they are private labeled and I won’t get shopped all over the place.
There is always a big burst of sales on the specific product a rep comes to show us. When a sales rep is actually willing to come to the store and does a display—like the new Shaw product Life Happens where they pour water on the carpet and set it in a bowl—that’s a big deal for us. I remember when [Mohawk] SmartStrand reps came out with a video of a rhinoceros [going to the bathroom] on the carpet and the carpet coming clean; it just makes us more confident about what we’re selling.
Greer Flooring Center
I think there’s a certain level of comfort involved. Anyone on the floor will tell you—if you have confidence in a product and you like it, it’s easier to sell. We’re creatures of habit; it doesn’t mean one product is better than another.
We give extensive product knowledge training and the bottom line is we are going to sell the customer what she needs and what is best suited for her, but I think when you have a certain level of comfort with a product you are going to learn more about it. What makes a salesperson more comfortable is a product with a good track record, no complaints and something installers also have confidence in. It’s just easier to promote that.
Van’s Home Center
It would be much easier to sell a product that I like. If you like something you obviously have some strong feelings about it. Liking something—to me anyway—means I have more information on how it works and I know more about how it performs as opposed to other product options.
Carol’s Carpet Flooring America
Yes, if you like the product it makes it easier to sell. You will find that all salespeople have a go-to product that they feel good about; whether they are more comfortable with it or if it is a manufacturer preference, it makes it easier to sell.
We have sales meetings every other week to get our salespeople excited about product. We invite vendors to pitch their [product]. We’re part of Flooring America so if a product is aligned with what we’re trying to sell we’ll try to endorse a promotion to make sure we get people interested.
Scharm Floor Covering
Des Plaines, Ill.
There isn’t necessarily a correlation because we sell the customer’s needs. We don’t particularly have a favorite although I have certain go-to products that are priced sharply for when we get stuck. I have about 10 different products that can be suggested if a customer is looking for a specific [feature] but wants something less expensive. We feel comfortable talking about everything, but I believe in selling quality. I also believe it pays in the long run to have your customer purchase something that is $1 or $2 more expensive if it will make her happier.
If you have more confidence in a product you can be more enthusiastic and more positive. If you feel good about it you can sell it. It makes it easier to sell the product if you are sold first.
When Shaw came out with Life Happens I saw how it works and it sold me right there. I have a [carpet] pad at home with LifeGuard protection so I see firsthand how it works and it is easy for me to sell that to customers.
We do product demos here at the store and we have reps come in with new products to do them as well so our salespeople can see performance firsthand. We’ve actually had some salespeople buy product in the store because they see how well it performs.
I think there is absolutely a correlation between sales and preferences. For example, COREtec is a USFloors product and I just love it because it looks great, it’s durable, it’s waterproof and it always performs well. For me, it is easier to sell something when you’re excited about what you’re selling. If you actually believe in it—have seen it perform and it’s done extremely well—it’s a whole lot easier to sell.
I think that excitement stems from product knowledge and meeting with vendors. If they are able to properly educate us and point out a product’s more appealing qualities it is easier to get excited about it and sell it. If a vendor comes in and you can tell they are not excited about it then why would we believe in it?