kb-network    People 06 Apr 2016
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Richard Court comments on how bathroom sales teams have evolved over the years

“As the bathroom has evolved from a largely functional space to one of comfort and luxury, so the way the fixtures and fittings to put in them are sold to consumers has had to change too,” says guest blogger Richard Court.

“Nowadays selling bathrooms, particularly at the luxury end of the market, is about engaging with consumers on an emotional level and discovering how they feel about the various products available and bathroom design in general.

“On the surface, you could be forgiven for thinking that this actually makes bathrooms at the top end easier to sell – after all, surely it’s just a case of showing empathy with your customer and demonstrating some good customer service skills. While this is important, training is also needed to ensure that your sales team can approach consumers in the most effective way, ask the right questions and feel comfortable enough to share their emotions with you.

“Consumers shop for luxury products in a combination of ways – they will be led by their heart and then by their head – the emotional side of the brain before the logical side. Think about your own thought processes when buying a high-ticket item such as a new car. You will have a clear idea of what practical things it needs to have, in terms of number of seats, number of doors and so on, but will then look beyond these elements to the luxury add-ons, such as built-in sat nav, parking sensors and perhaps even a fancy sound system.

“A good salesman will concentrate on these ‘nice to have yet non-essential’ selling points in order to secure a higher profit margin, drawing on your emotions while also being mindful of the logic behind the purchase. When they are successful these non-essentials are added to the list must-haves in the head of the consumer, becoming just as important to them as the four doors and five seats always have been.

“The same process is needed in order to sell luxury bathrooms. Retailers need to appeal to the emotions of their customers as quickly as possible, before the logical side of their brain kicks in.

“Talk to them about bathroom design in general, establish what they want as well as what they need from their own bathroom and, above all, show empathy. Taking some time out of the showroom to undertake some training is key, as the trick is to pick up on body language.

“We humans are very good at hiding our emotions so knowing what clues to look for and the best way to react to them is important. Selling luxury bathrooms is about selling an experience; consumers are looking to invest not just their hard earned cash, but their thoughts and feelings in getting the space just right, so the retailer needs to invest just as much of their attention into training to get that sale spot on.”

Richard Court is the training manager at Laufen UK. www.uk.laufen.com