How To Sell Flooring: 4 Things You Can Focus on to Increase Sales
The flooring industry has seen growth over the last few years because of the housing boom in the United States. Even though housing sales have been starting to go down in recent months, flooring is still doing well because people are continuing to remodel the homes they already have. However, no matter what the economy looks like, there will always be a demand to increase flooring sales and grow your pipeline.
How does someone become a successful flooring salesperson? What can you do to increase your sales? Because the flooring industry is so unique, it can be difficult to learn the ins-and-outs of the industry in a short amount of time. Although you can’t control what’s happening in the market, you can control what you value and how you interact with others.
After interviewing some current and former flooring sales experts, there were some common trends and best practices they followed to find success. Here are four crucial things you can focus on to sell more flooring and increase sales:
Basically, you want to lower costs so you have more breathing room for the inevitable slower sales.
1. Become a Better Listener and Communicator
TJ Hardy, a sales associate for QPro Software, said listening is one of the more important aspects of increasing flooring sales, “Listening to the customer’s needs is very important to understand how to sell to their business specifically. The most important part of sales is trying to help [the customer’s] business succeed.”
Likewise, Josh Burt, Manager of Ogden's Flooring and Design in Draper, Utah, says listening makes it easier to close flooring sales. “Listening and making sure you follow up with customers are two of the most important aspects of selling flooring. Flooring is not that difficult to sell. People need floors and we just want to be the best place where people can get them.”
As you listen, you’ll be able to make lead follow-ups and check-ins more meaningful and personal. Recalling something from a previous conversation can go a long way. If a salesperson can’t read the customer right, they might end up making them frustrated from too much contact or apathetic from too little contact. It’s essential to be transparent and identify questions and concerns upfront.
Colten Gines, Director of Sales at QPro Software, recognizes this balance and how important it is to the sales process. “Communicate early and often. Set proper expectations upfront that there may be bumps in the road throughout the process. But the best way to avoid making problems worse, is to remain in communication with your customer as things come up. Keeping them in the loop will help them understand how much you care about them and their experience with your company.”
2. Showing (Not Telling) Customers You Care
Showing the customer you care is another simple thing that is commonly overlooked when it comes to selling flooring. It can be easy to get caught up in wanting to close the sale, but that should be tertiary to helping the customer understand that you are there to help them and have their best interests at heart.
TJ Hardy explained that one way you can improve customer care is by identifying pain points and concerns:
“Find the areas where [customers] are having problems because that is really why they are calling you. They are calling you because they need something, but they aren’t always upfront with it. You also need to be direct and honest with them.”
Being transparent in sales is sometimes a difficult thing to do. Some sales associates are guilty of going off on a monologue, explaining why the customer needs the product they are selling. But remember that customers aren’t dumb - they can tell the difference from someone who is interested in their success vs someone who just wants the sale for their paycheck. And sometimes the product may not be the right fit for what the customer needs, and that’s okay. If you are honest with someone about your products and services, they might not buy now but there is a higher chance they will purchase more flooring products in the future.
Colten Gines mentioned how making the customer view you as a consultant rather than a salesperson can build trust and relationships:
“Take a consultative role in helping [customers] make good decisions and execute on those decisions. Timeline, budget and criteria all contribute to the decision-making process. Being proactive as a partner when establishing that process will build trust, and ultimately success towards closing new partnerships and keeping existing partnerships.”
3. Adapting To Changing Trends
As with any industry, flooring trends are constantly changing to meet the demands of consumers. Being adaptable and having industry knowledge is key to making sure salespeople can solve current challenges with innovative solutions.
If you want to increase flooring sales, you’ll need to increase your willingness to be adaptable when it comes to meeting your customer’s needs.
“Being willing to change, adapt, and adjust is a very big thing in the flooring industry,” said TJ Hardy.
How do you keep up with flooring trends? One way is to read the latest industry publications, social media accounts, and blogs. Just spending 5-10 min a day on industry news can make an enormous difference in the long run.
“Following the industry publications and events on social media is the fastest way to see the current trends within the industry,” said Colten Gines.
You can also work with carpet manufacturers to ensure you have the most current flooring samples to show to customers.
“The mills send frequent updates to keep styles up-to-date. Another thing that has helped is using room visualizers, like Roomvo, to show customers what the carpet will look like in their home.” said Josh Burt.
4. Utilize Technology to Automate Sales Processes
Technology has changed the sales process for all industries, and the flooring industry is no exception. In any industry, using technology has its pros and cons, but overall it helps to make the selling process much simpler and more efficient.
TJ Hardy added this when talking about selling online:
“At QPro Software, we mostly deal with selling online, and it is definitely more challenging to build a rapport with the customer than it is face-to-face. to build a rapport with the customer. They can sort of tune you out by turning off the camera or things can get lost. But overall, it is easier to sell online because you can keep track of everything much easier.”
Using flooring business management software systems like QPro Software can streamline the sales process so you can quickly calculate prices, check stock, and create sales orders. Additionally, it prevents you from making mistakes, saves you time from manual data entry, and increases your efficiency. If you want to learn more about how QPro Software can streamline your business, visit this page here.
Colten Gines has seen this in action:
“Technology has made things faster and more accurate. Whether it’s pricing or checking inventory, technology eliminates the extra phone calls and emails.”
Additionally, during the sales process, it can be easy to lose track of leads, forget what the needs of specific customers are, and remember to follow up with individuals. That is where CRM software comes into play. A good CRM enables flooring sales reps to organize and nurture their leads, ensuring nothing will fall through the cracks. If you don’t have a platform that easily houses all your client data, you could potentially be losing future opportunities.
BONUS: Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect…It Makes Progress
If there’s only one thing you can take away from this article, remember that there’s no such thing as a “perfect sales pitch.” The more experience you gain interacting with others, the more powerful of a salesperson you will be. And when there’s a tough month (for there will be slow months ahead), you can take heart with this quote from Og Mandino:
“Obstacles are necessary for success because in selling, as in all careers of importance, victory comes only after many struggles and countless defeats."
Increasing your flooring sales doesn’t come all at once. But as you become a better listener, show the customer you care, adapt to changing trends, and utilize technology, we can promise that as time passes you’ll see a great improvement in your sales and pipeline.