“The number one reason customers don’t buy is lack of ‘Wow.’  We’re not losing customers to competitors, we’re losing them to other industries,” said Terry Wheat, founder of RFMS.  I was in the audience at Domotex listening to his presentation on selling, and I had to agree.  When a customer walks out without buying and disappears into the ether, most dealers think they lost them to a competitor.  While this is sometimes true, oftentimes the customer decided to buy a flat screen TV instead.  Why does this happen?  According to Terry it’s, “Lack of ‘Wow.’”

Since I founded Flooring Success Systems in 2007 I’ve been preaching to dealers that it’s essential to ‘Wow’ customers. But when I walk into most showrooms it’s the opposite of ‘Wow.’ In fact, it’s oftentimes downright depressing. Here are some examples from showrooms I’ve visited in the last year.

One dealer had a massive showroom stacked floor to ceiling with racks holding thousands of samples, with narrow aisles in between. The windows were blocked, and you couldn’t see more than about 20 feet.It felt like the warehouse scene at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Another showroom was, again, stacked floor to ceiling with racks. It was dark and the windows were dirty.

One showroom was so cold I had to put my jacket on. Why in the world would you freeze your customers? It also was stacked nearly floor to ceiling with display racks.

A few months ago, I visited four showrooms in one day, and every single one them were downright depressing. If I was actually shopping for flooring that day I, too, might have gone to Best Buy where the showroom is bright, exciting and fun, and blown my flooring budget on a flat screen TV just to cheer myself up after visiting those depressing caves.

Here are just three of the depressing commonalities I found in many of the stores I’ve visited:

Way too many display racks, sometimes stacked floor-to-ceiling, oftentimes blocking windows and generally creating a claustrophobic effect. Why does anyone think that this is a good idea? Look, you don’t need 107 samples of light, beige LVT. You need to curate and create open space.

They smelled like glue and dust. At best, new flooring products have a chemical odor, and if they sat in a warehouse, add dust to the mix. This is not a smell that inspires people to open their wallets. Bake some cookies or bread and make your showroom smell like home instead of a dusty warehouse. Keep your store cleaned and vacuumed, including your carpet samples.

They were utterly silent. This was one of the most depressing aspects of so many of the stores I visited. Use cheerful background music to banish the awful silence.

Ladies and gentlemen, you’ve got to start putting yourself into Cathy Consumer’s shoes. She’s spent hours online looking at flooring. She’s excited about finally getting new floors.Finally, she decides to visit some stores. On the way she stops at Starbucks where the interior is clean, open, cheerful and happy. She walks inside, smiling a little as she inhales the delicious aroma of fresh ground coffee. There’s a hum of pleasant sounds: drinks being made, customers chatting, and hip background music. She gets her caramel latte to go, climbs into her SUV and heads to the first flooring store on her list. (Maybe yours.)

She walks inside, smiling a little in anticipation of finding the floor of her dreams. Unconsciously she’s expecting an experience on par with her visit to Starbucks. Instead, she experiences the utter let-down of a crammed, cluttered and silent showroom that smells like glue and dust.

Is it any wonder she decides to buy a new hot tub instead?



To Tons Of Customers!

Jim Augustus Armstrong is The “Coach”

Jim Augustus Armstrong is the President of Flooring Success Systems, a program that equips dealers to double their profits, cut their work hours in half and beat the boxes! Many dealers have totally transformed their businesses and their lives for the better after joining Flooring Success Systems.
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