Two speakers presented workshops regarding showroom selling and merchandising at the Omni spring meeting in Orlando this past February.

Here are highlights of those presentations.


Jason DeBruer, training specialist at Basco

Jason DeBruer, training specialist at Basco, spoke about “Showroom Selling – Eliminating The Fear Factor,” and shared an eight-step process for selling glass shower doors:

Ed Ismert of Sioux Chief (L) with Scott Franz, publisher, Supply House Times.

1. Determine the application: tub or shower.

2. Define the surface materials.

3. For fiberglass or acrylic, determine the manufacturer and model number.

4. Review the models that fit the customer’s application. Most often a tub application will use a sliding door. Check modular opening dimensions, frame options and models available.

5. Ask the customer to select the type, model and unit number.

6. Discuss glass and frame options. There is a trend toward accenting other finishes in the bath with the shower door frame. Have frame boards and key chains with samples of finishes so customers can match them to their lighting fixture or faucet finish.

7. Present the price and ask for the order.

8. Determine the exact size and finalize the order.

Inge Calderon, executive vice president of ASA, with Rich Higgason, vice president, National Plumbing & Heating Supply, Lake Forest, IL.

Basco, founded in 1955 by Bill Rohde, is now operated by his son, George Rohde, who became CEO in 1992. The company has 211 employees and three locations: a main manufacturing facility in Cincinnati, and warehouse service facilities in Chicago and Baltimore. For more information,


Carolyn Peters, national sales and marketing manager at Masco Design Solutions

Carolyn Peters, national sales and marketing manager, Masco Design Solutions, spoke about “Your Showroom: Trends & Merchandising 2007.”

Here are some of her key points:

(L to R) Tim Bowler, Wheeler-Rex; Lisa Westwater, Westwater Supply; and John Stevenson, Wheeler-Rex.

  • It’s not so much about the product; it’s more about the experience you are trying to help create.


  • Identify different zones within the showroom using aromatherapy.


  • Delta Faucet found that 90+% of the time, the decision maker in the showroom is the woman.


  • Pay attention to the customer’s lifestyle so you can suggest products.


  • Appliance shipments are projected to be up 1% in 2007 vs. 2006.


  • Cabinet and vanity sales are projected to be up 1.8% in 2007.


  • If you are using hunter green and burgundy colors in your showroom, you might want to consider updating your look with more vibrant colors.


  • Consumers want more information, more choices and the best deals. They will go on the Internet for product information.


  • Product trends in the kitchen: pendant lights, track lights, decorative hardware, drawer inserts, exotic blown glass imported from Europe, jewelry or “bling,” and drop-down doors on microwave ovens as they are moved under the counter.


  • Other trends: creating entertainment centers in the kitchen; finding new applications for cabinets; adding a wine cellar, butler pantry, beverage bar, outdoor kitchens.


  • Trends in the bathroom: natural materials and serene colors for an at-home retreat; air-enriched showerheads; tiles that change color as the water temperature changes; vessels, which have been popular eight to 10 years, are being introduced in new materials, textures and colors, such as mother of pearl; growth in minimalist design and in universal design.


  • Integrate technology into the showroom. Have an iPod with information about products you don’t have space to show. Provide an Internet kiosk or show a film reel.

  • (L to R) Cheryl Broedell, Linda Koenig of Omni and Judy Post.

    Peters also suggested four best practices for showrooms:

    1. Lay out the showroom with the proper flow and traffic paths. You don’t want the customers to see everything when they walk in the door.

    2. Pay attention to the proximity of products with retail lighting and show consistency with displays.

    3. Ambience: Create an experience so people will come back.

    4. Focus on the functionality of displays - they should be easy to use.

    (L to R) Harvey Wasserman of Omni; Bill Tipps of Danze/Gerber; and Robert Hoff of Omni.

    Here are other ideas she offered:

  • Every three years take another look at your showroom. Is there technology or a color that you can use to refresh it?

  • Use graphics, signage, lifestyle photos and information.

  • Group accessories with faucets.

  • Put a café inside the showroom. Have Wi-Fi and a plasma screen.

  • Maintain consistency of the product boxes.

  • If you host an event in the showroom, such as a grand opening, serve the food inside vessel sinks.

  • Move from storytelling to story supplying. Think about the experience someone can have.

  • Satisfy your customers’ need to connect to others to be in the know.

  • Beef up your e-commerce presence and put your brand in the virtual world.

  • Tell customers what to buy.

  • Introduce something eco-friendly.

  • Interview your customers; understand their needs. Help them with their life and their family. Make their showroom visit an experience.

  • Masco Design Solutions is a value-added service company within the Masco family that offers commercial interior design and specializes in wholesaler showrooms and builders. For more information,