Once again, Martin, the spokes-gecko for Geico insurance company, is rambling on about their amazing customer call center, immediate, on-the-job appraisals, replacement value and tremendous low rates. We hear the same tired story from Allstate, Progressive, State Farm and all the insurance companies. It’s at the point where they never say the word insurance. That is because they are not selling insurance, they are selling peace of mind. Should anything happen to you or a member of your family they will make it all better. You have nothing to worry about.

Wouldn’t it be nice if they would also offer decorative showroom quote insurance?

Every time a salesperson sends out a priced quote, everyone in the company holds their breath. No matter the customer.  Your well-crafted pricing structure is now viewable by everybody. So, everyone holds their breath and waits for the order to arrive and waits and waits. Then you learn the quoted customer has given the order to another company because they have received a better price. First, you are mad as hell and cannot believe that a customer would have the gall to share your private quote with a competitor and give zero value for your time. Then you blame yourself for not shaving the prices a bit more.

As your rage diminishes and logic takes over, you decide you can save the day by talking to them. You have some wiggle room on the pricing and after realizing all the time you invested, they will certainly do the right thing and give you the order. Sometimes this tactic does win the order but, shaving prices sets a dangerous precedent. If you are dealing with a designer, builder, plumber or, even a socially engaged homeowner, they now know you will lower your quoted prices if pushed. Give Pavlov’s customer a quote and they will drool knowing they will get a better price.  

This is not a game luxury showrooms want to play. It wastes time, diminishes margins and defines your elegant, high overhead showroom as a discount house. What is a go-to showroom to do? How do you combat low overhead supply houses, showrooms that offer ridiculous prices to win any order and internet sites that survive on razor-thin margins. How do you separate your unique showroom model from all this?

Listen to the gecko…

When you or your salesperson reaches back to the customer keep these three thoughts in mind:

  1. Avoid talking about price. Price can be easily qualified and easily compared. When we discuss price the conversation becomes competitive and all of your company’s great deliverables have no value. If the word price comes up, carefully reframe the conversation about the value of purchasing your products from our showroom.
  2. Take the time to describe why it is in the customer’s best interest to purchase from your company. Frame your showroom assets around how they will ensure their remodel or custom build will as smoothly no matter what issues pop up.  Carefully explain that you and your team have a working knowledge of the products and that each one was specifically selected for your unique job.  Should anything happen, you inventory key parts and know who to contact at each factory to correct the situation and keep this job on schedule.  
  3. Remind them that you are a part of the local community. You likely know and have worked with all the people on this job. There is a reason designer. Builders, plumbers and engaged homeowners purchase from you. They understand that your team knows plumbing from trenching to trim out and are here to help. We understand that selling you the product is only one step in our process. Should something happen tomorrow or years from now you will be there.

These three steps remove the price game and explain the overall peace of mind you deliver. Nobody wants to stress over a defective product and lose time trying to solve the problem. By framing your assets onto this individual job, you are assuring the client that you will own and handle any issues that arise with these products. They no longer have to worry; you and your knowledgeable team have them covered.

Noting I have presented above is new. I am simply setting these important, often taken for granted services, in an easy to reference format. You can give these points a quick review before speaking with a wayward client and to train and remind sales and customer service people how your showroom is special.

Even after all this, you might not get re-win this particular job but you and your team have taken this opportunity to make sure this individual now knows why you are be higher priced than all the support weak, price cutters. Support at this level is not free.

Now, let’s get proactive.

Let’s improve your quote form. On the top, before any job description, product listing and pricing, and under the client’s name and your brand, note how your team and company will support these products and their applications. It does not need to be a legal statement, simply a short storytelling of your brand’s many-year commitment to customer service, knowledgeable sales team, well-vetted vendor partners and that each piece below has been individually selected for this unique job. This simple opening statement will loop in your client’s ears as they go through every product and price.  

To go one step earlier, make a poster of this story and frame it in a prominent place in their showroom. It is important to quietly remind your good and new clients that your showroom is not simply a place to see and buy fine plumbing fixtures.  It is a luxury business that is constantly improving to remain THE source for the designs, builders, plumbers and wealthy homeowners for all intricate facets of the fine plumbing business.