They say, once you’re in flooring you’ll never leave! I must agree since I’m now entering my fourth year as a Territory Manager with Tri-State. What makes this industry so interesting? For starters, it’s different every day. I work primarily with you, the retail dealer. You work with customers in your area. During my tenure in sales, I’ve learned that engaging customers is an important aspect to developing trust. One way is to ask probing questions designed to figure out just what your customers need. Below are some helpful questions to ask when working with the public.
Are you replacing an existing floor or is this a new application?
Often, customers are looking to replace an existing floor.
What type of floor do they currently have and why are you looking to replace it?
For instance, they have carpet in high traffic areas and want something that won’t wear as quickly. Or, they have a hardwood floor and want another hard surface product but don’t want to rip up their existing floor.
Where in the home are you adding/replacing your floor?
It helps to know this because different flooring products work better in certain areas of the home. As an example, you may want something more water resistant/proof in an area where water is prevalent such as a bathroom or kitchen. Many customers are adding a three- or four-season room to their existing home or have a cabin at the lake that is not used during the winter. Certain flooring products don’t work as well in certain times of the year such as winter or colder conditions.
What is the subfloor made of?
Typically, it’s either OSB above grade or concrete. This is important because it helps you to determine what type of flooring product is best suited to their needs. Many glue down LVT’s don’t adhere to OSB so an approved plywood underlayment is needed. If in a basement with a concrete floor an important question to ask is; Is there moisture in the basement? Is it prone to flooding?
Are they looking for a certain type of flooring product?
Most customers will tell you this right away. In fact, they may answer some of these questions in a single breath. For instance, “I’ve got some 15-year-old worn out carpet in my upper level and I’m looking for a floating click together floor.” They already answered questions 1-3.
Why do you want (blank) type of flooring?
This goes hand in hand with question #5. Many customers don’t really know what they want or need. They see or hear an advertisement for such and such product or their friends or family members have a certain type of floor. That’s what brings them into your store. They rely on you to find them the best flooring product for their needs.
Finally, as them what’s their flooring budget?
This is probably the toughest question to ask but certainly an important one to know. Most won’t divulge a number, but you never know until you ask.
Take the time to ask the important questions. The answers will help you hone in on a plan of attack. You’ll also find customers will consider you an asset and not shop around for a better deal. The more value you bring to your customer the more trust and loyalty you will garner. Good selling!
– Rick DeMatto