By Megan Salzano
Overlooked by most consumers during the purchasing process, trims and moldings play an integral role in the final outcome of any flooring installation. Retail sales associates should, however, never overlook the add-on sale. Those who don’t tap the potential of these accessory pieces are poised to miss out on significant revenue opportunities.
However, while these products usually boast high profit margins, many RSAs are often faced with a barrier to success. “If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times—transitions are the biggest pain of any sale,” said Bill Treiber, technical sales and education manager, Artistic Finishes. “For many an RSA that’s true, generally because not only do they wait to discuss transitions, but they may fail to bring them up at all.”
What’s important to keep in mind, vendors noted, are the advantages trim and moldings bring to the final outcome of the installation. Kraig Coxon, owner, Pennwood Products, put it simply. “Trim and moldings offer several benefits for flooring. First, it gives the floor a finished look. Second, molding transitions conceal the cut edges and gaps necessary for expansion and contraction.”
Knowing these and other specific features and benefits of the accessories is key for retail sales associates looking to help consumers round out their purchase and successfully complete the project—all the while increasing the sale. “It’s easy to focus on the aesthetics of the floor during the sale, but really that’s your customer’s decision,” Treiber added. “It’s the retail sales associate’s job to deliver the requirements that go with the entire new floor in an acceptable manner. Remember, it’s a process to complement the floor in both function and aesthetics. In the end, your customer will be your best form of advertisement.”
Where some RSAs get tripped up is in deciding when exactly to broach the topic of accessories during the purchasing process. And, some often question how to appropriately stress the importance of accessories without pushing the customer out the door.
Treiber stressed that the time to discuss transitions is when the job has been fully understood. “And that understanding begins in the first five minutes of a conversation with a potential client and continues throughout the information-gathering phase. The more questions you ask, the more your customer assumes you know your job and relies on your expertise. A good RSA will inquire about the job site, painting a picture in their minds of the location’s limitations and dimensions, taking notes while assessing the particularities involved for the job. Notes on height changes, floor product changes, color changes and lighting are just a few of the considerations to include.”
Haley Plank, marketing manager, Flexco Floors, also suggested a route to success. “[RSAs] should begin with a discussion of the room that is receiving new flooring, guide them through features and benefits of different types of products and then help the customer decide on the style and color they prefer. Once the flooring choice is made, the discussion should move to the reasons for including wall base in their project and a features and benefits discussion of different types of wall base options they can choose,” she explained. “Photographs of completed projects help put the customer at ease when making these decisions.”
Pennwood’s Coxon also noted the importance of merchandising to help support the RSAs guidance through the purchasing process. “It’s always recommended for the RSA to have a chain set of molding profiles to explain their purpose. Consumers will always appreciate if you use visual aids such as the chain set or demonstration board. The RSA should also explain that the trim and molding is designed to blend with the floor.”
Pennwood has created hardwood transitions with multiple stain options that are designed to blend with the flooring.
For the RSA: “Every salesperson has their own method of discussing trim and molding, but it’s usually brought up after the flooring selection,” said Kraig Coxon, owner, Pennwood Products. “In many cases, during on-site measuring the estimator will note the necessary molding transitions and quantities needed for completion of the job.”
Base Sculptures wall base (seen here in the company’s new Fascinate style in almond) are manufactured in the U.S. from soft/pliable thermoplastic rubber. The product is manufactured with a bio-based plasticizer.
For the RSA: “When the consumer makes style and color choices the retail sales associate should discuss the benefits of including a transitional accessory to complete the look and feel of the project,” said Haley Plank, marketing manager, Flexco Floors.
Enduracor features a proprietary four-layer design, making it durable, water-resistant and blendable at a cost-effective price point vs. traditional solid wood moldings.
For the RSA: “Proper accessories correctly installed allow the floor to perform as intended,” said Bill Treiber, technical sales and education manager, Artistic Finishes. “Often overlooked and misunderstood is the direction of the pattern or flow of the room, or subfloor recommendations. Knowing this will benefit a customer’s knowledge for why transitions may be required. Your goal is to get it right and then make it happen.”
Seneca added to its SignatureEdge collection with three new stair tread edge profiles. Its eased edge tread has a 3⁄16-inch slightly rounded top front edge; its chamfered edge design showcases a 1⁄4-inch angled top front edge; and the double chamfered design features the 1⁄4-inch angled edges on the top and bottom of the tread. All treads are manufactured in the U.S. and are available unfinished or prefinished.