Blog for Building Materials Companies

How to Sell Showroom Dealers

How to Sell Showroom Dealers

Dealers with showrooms, such as kitchen and bath dealers, are a combination of retailer and contractor that require a special approach from building material manufacturers.

3 steps to success with showroom dealers.

1.  Sell them your product or brand.

2. Get them to prefer your product or brand.

3. Help them be more successful because they carry your product.

1. Most showroom dealers carry more than one brand of product

to give their customers a range of price options and to not be too dependent on a single supplier.

They also like to have some leverage with their suppliers to help keep prices in line.

If you want a dealer to add or convert to your brand, then do your homework.

Begin by building a simple spreadsheet database of the retailers where a consumer can buy your product.

Next list all of the brands that each retailer carries, including yours.  Then identify whether they service new home builders, existing home owners or both.

Take your best guess at ranking the dealers by size.  Visit or drive by as many of the dealers as you can. 

This exercise should help you determine which dealers are your best prospects and why.

Now you are ready to make your sales call on the dealer.

Instead of giving him a generic sales pitch, tell him you want to grow your sales in this market, and are looking to work with the right dealers, and that based on your research you think he would be a good fit.

This is not a sales call, but the beginning of a successful relationship.

Take him through your research to show him the opportunity he is missing by not carrying your product.

Marketing materials should be themed with terms like Authorized, Select or Exclusive.

They should go beyond the product line and give the dealer a sense of what it’s like to do business with you.  Items like customer service, delivery, problem resolution and dealer promotional support all go a long way.

If you also sell to big boxes, you need to be upfront about it.  Explain how dealers can effectively compete with big boxes.

2.  Get the dealer to prefer your product or brand

Many dealers carry more than one brand and they usually have a sales staff of straightforward sales people or designers who also act as the sales force.

Some companies have enough budget to reach targeted consumers with a focused consumer ad or PR campaign.

However, most building material manufacturers can’t effectively reach consumers. You need to make it happen with dealer sales staff and in the showroom.

The first step is to train the dealer staff how to sell your product line.  Install your point of sale that is designed to pull consumers to your product.  Provide them with marketing materials such as brochures.

Offer your ad, PR or social media campaign that will help pre-sell your products.

Talk through any concerns they may have, like delivery timelines and correct order filling.

Tell them how you resolve problems when they arise.  Convince them that they will not be lost in a bureaucratic system of corporate bull and red tape.

3. Help them be more successful because they carry your product.

Leverage your marketing team to supply the dealer with marketing programs that are designed first to help the dealer overall and second to promote your product or brand. Help him get more people through his doors.

Show the dealer how to effectively make more homeowners aware of him and differentiate himself from other dealers and big boxes.

Do not give him co-op funds.  Give him programs and ideas that he can implement with his own money and labor. For example, Travis Boyle of El Paso Artificial Grass Supply, to me that his best manufacturing partners always provide the most helpful sales and marketing tools such as display cases, banners, brochures, and even sometimes invests in his digital marketing ad spend programs. 

4 Ways to Help The Dealer be More Successful

1. Give him a themed promotional program with all the elements.  He can then implement a promotion and buy media.

2.  Suggest ways he can use his advertising and promotional dollars differently than his current promotions.

3. Help him with House & Home show participation.  Develop simple exhibit kits or plans to help your dealers sell more.

These could include simple but professional looking backdrops that you lend to the dealers for shows.

4. Be a consultant.  Offer to have your marketing department or agency partners review his marketing programs and offer suggestions.

An area where many dealers need help is with their website, SEO and social media.  A 30-minute call from one of your experts will be very much appreciated and valuable.

If you are serious about growing your business through showroom dealers, following these three steps will make a big difference.

Once again, it’s always about selling through your customer and not just to them.

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About The Author

I am the leading sales growth consultant in the building materials industry, I identify the blind spots that enable building materials companies to grow their sales and retain more customers.  As I am not an ad agency, my recommendations are focused on your sales growth and not my future income.

My mission is to help building materials companies be the preferred supplier of their customers and to turn those customers into their best salespeople. Contact me to discuss your situation.