Flooring: Tips and Strategies for Upselling

Upselling. According to Shopify, the definition is “Upselling is a sales technique used to get a customer to spend more by buying an upgraded or premium version of what’s being purchased.” If you were buying a new sports car, you might get “upsold” into buying the newest model or one with more features. If you were ordering a hamburger at your favorite fast-food restaurant, the server may suggest you try their dinner special that includes not just a hamburger, but also a drink and two sides.

Floor sales are no different. Providing customers with the best flooring options for their budget can be rewarding. They might benefit from additional items? Maybe you could interest them in different features? It is possible there are higher quality selections you could sell to them within their price range? Here are some simple tips and strategies for upselling flooring.

First Step: Listen and Discover

Salespeople looking to recommend the proper hardwood flooring product, for example, need to ask a series of fact-finding questions first. Really, this fact-finding first step is something all sales people need to do when approaching a client. Examples of such questions might include where the floors will be installed, is it in a high or low traffic area, and what styles they are interested in.

Next, after discussing the project and getting to know your clientele, recommend a specific flooring product. This timing makes a big difference in the sale. At this point, discussing the differences between solid wood and laminate veneer lumbar (LVM) which is more pliable and sustains wear better than traditional lumbar, would be ideal. Afterward, suggest and demonstrate an eco-friendly floor cleaning spray made to be highly effective with the particular type of flooring they have selected.

Tradition vs. Digital

Traditionally, the practice of listening to the customer in a face-to-face store experience has meant getting to know your customer personally. It has been about learning their needs and fashion tastes and suggesting items they can appreciate. It has involved discussing finances confidentially. It has been about building a relationship.

Many places still function like this, but they are becoming rarer. A change is happening with traditional vs. digital marketing. While the older generation will continue to want a personal connection for their flooring needs, the younger generation would just as soon read all they need to know and handle the transaction online using visualization tools.

Technology has changed the flooring business. Digital Marketing has allowed customers to browse without person-to-person sales. Now, as a sales associate, studying demographics is paramount. Market analysis is the name of the game. For example, running ads in specific zip codes for items that pertain to that area allows you to compete well. Unlike flooring giants such as Home Depot, which maintain a wide variety of items available to a broad audience, a targeted online approach lends itself to meeting specific people’s specific needs. These days upselling is dependent on digital target marketing. Since Google can identify who is looking for flooring, personal attention presents relevant ads based on the customers’ search criteria.

A hybrid approach of in-home shopping and face-to-face service is also realistic. In-home measures and construction still have to happen, and automatic ads will continue to show on Facebook feeds. Upselling in person is within a sales associate’s skill set. Upselling online is definitely within a digital marketer’s skill set.

Flooring companies that find a way to incorporate strategies from both approaches have a bright future with upselling in the world of e-commerce.

Sourcing for Flooring Retailers: What You Can Do

COVID-19 had a significant impact on the flooring industry in unexpected ways. On the one hand, it was affected adversely by transitioning with appointment-only showroom visits, reduced staff, stricter sanitation, masks, and social distancing, which caused a decrease in walk-in clientele. On the other hand, business increased with the “Shelter in Place” mandate causing people to look at their homes more closely as long as they had to be there, many deciding to make upgrades. With digital formats, customers ordered materials and found ways to move forward with remodeling projects through shop-at-home options, especially for home offices. Thanks to virtual meetings and video chats, the flooring business did continue, although at a slower rate.

Although many flooring companies stayed open with adequate inventory, their product offerings were basic. Custom projects would have to wait since sourcing materials started to become a challenge.

The root problem with retail flooring sources involved major supply companies. Many were forced to reduce non-critical expenses, including capital spending. The primary flooring supplier, Shaw, announced they were temporarily suspending many of their operations in North America during the pandemic. Armstrong remained in operation remotely for outsourced products. Tarkett announced customers might experience lead time increases. Mohawk experienced massive hits stemming from Europe’s impact. All of these companies and more suffered through slowed manufacturer production. While this made meeting supply and demand difficult, do-it-yourself big-box store businesses increased. It was safer to order a boxed kit and do it yourself, although not as professional.

Depending on outside resources proved detrimental to the American hardwood flooring businesses amid pandemic concerns, forcing them to change the way they acquired solid and manufactured hardwood floors. In addition, supply chain concerns remained low for distributors sourcing wood locally.

Maintaining flooring supply inventory is vital to survival in the flooring industry. Since many businesses do not have enough key products right now, custom orders are put on hold. Stock is dwindling, and while sourcing agents are being reevaluated, it’s important to keep any available materials and use them sparingly.

The pandemic will end eventually, and the economy will improve. Until that time, flooring retailers need to remain ready for anything in these uncertain times. Presenting a flexible and adaptable attitude to the public is important.

Communication with Retailers and Vendors

One thing that is in your control is how you streamline your workflow. Communicating between vendor and retailer is an important aspect that occurs on a daily basis! Time is limited as we all know. Being efficient means doing things that work well and in a timely manner–that includes how long and in what way you do that when talking to vendors and retailers in flooring. With VendorPriceBook, you simply need an internet connection and you can login to a system where you can share confidential pricing information to your retailers, including inventory levels, too! Retailers can create purchases right in the same portal! Our web solution is here to help you save time and money!

LinkedIn to Grow your B2B Flooring Leads

Growing B2B leads is about making connections with people, one at a time. With the pandemic and many things turning (at least temporarily) to the virtual world, it’s important to learn how to network online.

An easy, free way to find potential leads with Linkedin without bots or automation is to study a business’s website in the flooring industry. Read their overview and then search their list of employees. This will allow you to target people according to a job title. Next, use filters for various job titles as many titles are worded differently. The filter will produce many results, which you can contact with an email.

Another approach is called Outbound Lead Generation. This cost-effective strategy involves optimizing your profile with a professional picture and headline. Then, create a list in LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator titled “Connection Request Sent”. Send this request without a message to people active on LinkedIn’s platform within the past 30 days. This ensures you are reaching out to viable contacts. Save the “Responded” list. After this, under “Follow Up List” use “saved searches” to create a targeted list. At this point, using industry filters such as “Flooring” and then title filters such as “Flooring Retailers” will generate results for you to contact before sending a message of authentic everyday language to all on this list. Sending out 50 connection requests a day can result in 400-600 new connections a month. Keep in mind that Sales Navigator is a paid-for service. You can try it out during a trial period for free to test run the system and see if it’s worth it for you.

Installing Google Chrome extensions from the Google Chrome web store is another way to generate B2B leads on LinkedIn. Linked Helper will generate free leads on LinkedIn, however, overall account activity of any kind is limited to 150 actions per 24 hours so limiting actions to these numbers is wise.

In addition, a free account on LinkedIn will allow you to use Boolean, a logic program used to find specific hyper-targeted leads. Utilizing quotation marks or not using quotation marks and utilizing the words “and” “or” and “not” in particular ways dramatically affects the search results. This system is valuable to producing precise searches for locating high-quality B2B leads on LinkedIn. Once a connection has been established, asking for a Zoom meeting, offering a free e-book, or sending them to a landing page using direct, concise language can help increase business leads. You can share with them your catalog of flooring and related products.

Connect with others in the flooring industry on LinkedIn

Since LinkedIn is the world’s largest database with more than 450 million people listed, engaging with people by commenting on their posts is a great way to establish interest and, ultimately, a business relationship. Commenting is also a way to determine if you want to move forward and connect on Linkedin with a prospective lead or not. If your decision is to build trust, then leaving positive comments and tagging them in relevant posts is a non-stressful, authentic mode of building B2B connections, one valuable person at a time.

Feel free to follow VendorPriceBook on LinkedIn! We are another tool to help you streamline communication between flooring vendor and supplier. Check us out at VendorPriceBook.com.

8 Things You Need to Fix Now On Your Flooring Website

In today’s world, it’s more important than ever for flooring businesses to have a website. Think about it— Where is the first place you go to search for a business? Your answer was likely Google. One study found that 91% of adults use search engines as means of gathering information, and 83% of those users choose Google. Without an internet presence, customers are not able to find you, which essentially means you do not exist.

However, you don’t want just any old website. Your site needs to reflect well on your business, while attracting as many customers as possible. Below are seven things you can fix now to improve your flooring website by leaps and bounds.

Curb Appeal

As the saying goes, first impressions are lasting, and they can make or break you. Design is one of the most important factors to consider when building your flooring website.

Simplicity is key. Steer away from dark backgrounds, or bright colors. Also, try to avoid distracting ads and pop ups. You want your website to be inviting, not overwhelming. If you’re unsure what a well-designed flooring website looks like, invest in a reputable designer. You will see the returns on your investment.

Ease of Use

94% of respondents say easy navigation is the most vital website feature. Think of how frustrating it is when you go to a website looking for information and you can’t find what you need. Your website should be well organized, allowing your customers to find information quickly and efficiently.

Relevant Content

You want your website to be useful to your customers. Consider common flooring issues your customers may face, or questions they may have when searching for the perfect flooring for their home. If your customer was standing in front of you, what would their questions or concerns be?

Having relevant content not only meets your customer’s unique needs, but also boosts your credibility with the customer and your ranking on Google. So, another great investment is hiring a content writer. Many businesses are amazed at the leads they generate from a single blog post.

Mobile Site

85% of users say a company’s mobile site should be just as good or better than the desktop version. More often than not users are using phones and tablets to do a quick search. Make sure your mobile site is optimized. Doing so is easy and can help you gain customers and keep existing ones.

Make your flooring site mobile friendly so content easily fits across tablets, laptops and phones

Trust Building

A website research group, Nielsen Norman Group (NNG), created a pyramid highlighting the hierarchy of users’ trust for websites. In order to achieve the highest levels of trust with customers, consider what you would need to feel confident in a website. Some things to consider are:

  • Increasing your authority in the flooring industry by providing informative guides
  • Including a section for customer reviews
  • Make sure your website is HTTPS secure

Feedback

Allow your customer to give you feedback. Customers like to be heard, and some of their feedback can help improve your website.

Call to Action

You want your calls to action to be specific. Study your customers’ behavior on your site. Don’t be afraid to try new CTAs. A focused CTA provides 400% more engagement than a generic one.

Unique Story

Share what makes your flooring business unique. There are a million other flooring websites. However, you can stand out in the minds of customers and create an empathetic connection by giving customers insight into why you love what you do.

Bonus Tip: Pro Service

When you do get customers in your door, follow best practices for optimizing the guest experience! Make sure you also have the proper tools to quickly and efficiently quote pricing and availability of flooring. You can use a tool like VendorPriceBook.com to streamline these processes.

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