Knowledge is power. If you share your knowledge with customers, they’ll hear it, understand it and apply it for increased effectiveness, profitability and satisfaction on the job.

There is an understandable “fear factor” associated with selling shower enclosures among showroom sales staff, according to Jason DeBruer, an award-winning training instructor at Basco.

Showroom sales associates deal with many different product lines and they need to be an expert in every one of them. For shower enclosures, they need to be able to address everything from precise measurement and specification challenges to helping homeowners past the “deer in the headlights” blank stare phase, to gently navigating around contractor and homeowner scheduling demands.

More than 30 kitchen and bath showroom personnel from Tennessee and Michigan spent two days attending Basco University’s maiden showroom training class at its Mason, Ohio, headquarters. In the past, showroom sales staff attended Basco University sessions although the class focus was oriented toward installers and covered measuring and installation techniques. Now the company has expanded the program with a specialty curriculum for showroom associates whose challenges and circumstances greatly differ from those of the installer. 

“We worked with showroom attendees prior to the class to identify their ‘hot topics’ -things that were important to them - and customized the training to address their needs,” DeBruer said.

The showroom training session discussed actual selling challenges and potential situation by situation solutions. It also covered installation techniques, sales training skills, product education and sales and marketing tools. The training included a factory tour that provided an overview of manufacturing processes and quality control procedures.

The goal is to educate the vendors so they can better serve the needs of their customers while satisfying the revenue goals of the showroom.

Comments From Attendees

Dottie Ramsey, president of Modern Supply in Knoxville, TN, and past president of ASA:
“When you know what you are selling, it is easier for you to sell that product because you can relay that confidence to the consumer. I’ve been sending showroom personnel and installers to vender training for years. After Basco’s training, I’ve watched how the increased knowledge and confidence gained during the trip translated into immediate showroom sales. I wanted to see what it was about. We who have been in the business for a while think we know everything, but even I learned a lot and I’m ready to send more people to the next session.” 

Kristin Swanson, a newcomer to the industry who recently joined the team at Modern Supply’s Chattanooga, TN, showroom:
“Any program where the vendor takes the time to train the salesperson is a helpful one - especially since it’s a whole new category for me. The group environment is also important because you learn more from the experiences of your peers. Since attending the showroom training, I’ve sold a builder custom shower enclosures for a 400-unit project.  In all honesty, without having attended the training, I would have never had the knowledge or confidence to make the sale.”

Terri Olson, showroom manager, Builder’s Plumbing Supply, Lansing, MI:
“I like to see things being made so I can tell my customers what goes into it and how it’s made. At the showroom, we deal with issues of ‘now’ and ‘later.’ Our ‘now’ challenge is selling a plumber a product they can install quickly and easily. ‘Later’ we need to be able to support a homeowner who could have a product issue as much as 10 years or more [after the sale]. Understanding how the product is made assures me that the company will be around to support us. That way we can support the needs of our plumbers as they satisfy homeowner issues.”