With options like online shopping, big-box store displays, and in-home sales, many companies wonder if dealer showrooms have become obsolete. According to Jim Cory of Professional Remodeler, this is anything but the case. Here are some highlights of the benefits of showrooms as he explained on the Professional Remodeler website:
Showrooms Provide Hands-On Experience
Most remodeling customers will visit several websites and talk to several contractors before deciding on a particular supplier. They’ll also consider many different project ideas. All of the information that comes at prospects during these processes tends to blend together into an amorphous blob, and the prospects end up forgetting important details. Companies and dealers that use showrooms stand out enough to avoid being lost in this mental murk.
One reason showroom visits stand out is the fact that fewer companies still use them. Another reason is that a showroom offers more ways for prospects to see the details of products. For example, a plumber or deck contractor can use computer simulation to show what a project will look like once it’s complete and how it’ll look next to the surrounding elements of the house and property, window dealers can show what a particular frame will look like, and contractors who offer full projects can show each element of a proposed design as well as how it all comes together.
According to Cory, many customers end up adjusting some of their choices after this process, which demonstrates how they get a better idea of what they want once they have a chance to properly visualize everything. This, in turn, increases the chance of long-term satisfaction.
Yes you can do much of the above with a laptop in a prospect’s living room. A showroom offers two other advantages. The homeowner is not going to be interrupted by things like children or pets in the showroom. In the showroom, its much easier to show product samples to homeowners rather than to try and bring everything with you.
Showrooms Are Excellent Event Venues
Showrooms generate little spontaneous walk-in traffic, but this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to get qualified prospects to stop by. Hold events to draw attention from the general public, contracting companies, and other demand generators. Seminars are great for explaining various installation processes or design ideas that, of course, feature the products you choose to promote at the time. Remember that these and other showroom events aren’t just good for immediate sales. They also give you the chance to collect names, phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses for future marketing efforts.
Even though most showroom operators make their actual sales to contractors and remodelers, it’s important to engage with the general public. Once people are convinced of the suitability of your offerings, they’ll specify that the contractors they hire use those products. This doesn’t mean that you should never offer events aimed at the pros, but it’s a good idea to offer plenty of seminars and demonstrations meant for regular people.
I toured several plumbing showrooms in Denver. They were all beautiful and represented a major investment by the dealer. One of the dealers had an active program to use the space for events and draw traffic into his showroom. The others did not. All the dealers have about the same amount of money invested in their showrooms yet the one who uses it more, is getting a better return on his investment and making more sales.
There are dealers who sell products but do not install. These dealer showrooms can be the showroom for the contractor. Contractors who can not afford a showroom should be encouraged to send their customers to the dealers showroom without fear of losing the customer.
Helps Sell Premium Products
Dealers of premium building products will always say to me, “If I get them to touch the product, I will sell it.” There challenge is getting a busy homeowner who may be working with an architect to take the time to visit the showroom. This is an area where manufacturers of premium building products can help their dealers with marketing advice.
Covering the Cost of a Showroom
Big showrooms are expensive enough that many companies are concerned about being able to recoup the costs. According to Cory, the key is to work with the very people who are often ignored by the industry: one-truck installers and DIY individuals. The one-off purchases by these people will add up to enough money to cover the expenses of a respectably sized showroom. Bring them in with a few events and use the rest of your time to work with the customers of your larger clients.
Finally, remember that the point of a showroom is to get leads. When planning events, choose themes that will attract qualified buyers instead of masses of people who just want to kill time. By keeping your events focused on people who are looking to remodel their homes and on the contractors and installers who serve them, you’ll enjoy a steady stream of new prospects.
To find out how to grow the sales of your building materials, just contact us. We’ll be happy to analyze your current business situation and develop winning strategies.
Thanks for the following comments. I’d like to hear your feedback and suggestions on how to sell architects.
“So very true but you must make your product stand out and be memorable. Make it an experience. Make the customer feel like they must have your product. Tell a great story. If you look and feel like everyone else then you will probably lose the sale. Great article Mark Mitchell”