There is one selling skill which I believe is consistently
ignored or underused in the kitchen and bath industry a skill
that’s available to all. When developed and used appropriately,
this particular skill has the potential to have an enormously
positive impact on customers’ buying attitudes, both emotionally
and logically. There’s no short cut to learning that skill, though
once learned, it offers maximum benefits to both salespeople and
The skill I’m talking about is the ability to demonstrate.
Demonstration, when done properly, will use customer’ five
senses to heighten their awareness of products and services. The
more customers can experience the offering, the more likely they
will recognize the benefits of ownership, propelling them toward
quicker decisions ‘and you toward a sale.’
I know many salespeople feel that demonstration is no longer
important. They believe consumers will look, touch, hear, taste and
smell on their own. Yet I see demonstration as a very powerful
When channel surfing on your television, haven’t you
occasionally caught a glimpse of a slicer dicer, juicer, cooker,
etc., and been fascinated enough by the demonstration to want to
own it, or at least to keep watching long enough to find out more?
That’s because these infomercials, with their demonstrations, use
the entire selling process.’
The kitchen and bath industry offers us so many opportunities to
demonstrate. Let’s do our customers and ourselves a favor and take
advantage of demonstration.
The first element of demonstration is to plan for it. I’m sure
you have some favorite products you would choose to display, and
features you could use to help ensure your customers understand
what they will be receiving or rejecting with their decisions. Each
display needs to be designed to be as inclusive as possible, and to
take advantage of all you want to demonstrate. In addition, the
demonstration units need to be positioned so they provide easy
Each time a new display is designed, challenge yourself to see
what can be done to appeal to the customer’s five senses, revealing
benefits to be gained by ownership of your product or design.
Okay, let’s say the right choices have been made for displays
and the demonstration units are in place. Now the challenge to you
would be to decide how to present them and then practice the best
way to present the benefits to the customer via
Practice is important here; you must practice the demonstration
so you are comfortable with it, being sure to involve the customer
as much as possible.’
Years back, I learned the importance of practicing my
demonstration skills when a brand of ranges we were selling
developed the easy-to-remove calrod surface elements.
They were easy to remove, but tough to put back into place. I
learned that, until the company made improvements to address this,
my demonstration would be more effective if it showed their easy
removal, without having me attempt to put them back in the presence
of the customer.
More recently, in our regular sales meeting, we invited a
representative to teach us about his product. Yet instead of using
demonstration to his advantage, he embarrassed himself and left our
salespeople questioning an important claim about his product. He
was demonstrating how his solid surface product would resist
stains, and also be easy to clean if stained. He used a sample
piece from our shop and also one of our permanent markers.
Something went wrong. Either the surface of our sample wasn’t as
he expected or our permanent marker was different. I can still see
his embarrassment as he was hand sanding away, his sanding becoming
faster and more aggressive, while the marks remained clearly
visible. The result was that a demonstration designed to sell us on
the benefits of the product instead left our salespeople doubting
the product’s merit.’
So practice the demonstration, and know what to say and do to
best show off your product’s advantages. Know where to stand, and
how to get the customer involved to best experience your
demonstration efforts. Prepare and practice to ensure that your
demonstration will bring the expected results.
Once you’ve planned and practiced your demonstration, figure out
when and where it fits your selling situation and do it! Always
follow up your demonstrations with a question asking for
confirmation that they understand the benefits illustrated by your
Here are some ideas for demonstration. There is no way I intend
these to be all-inclusive, but I do hope they will be a mind jogger
to generate ideas for your business.
- With any bath or kitchen cabinet or accessory, show how you
will improve the customer’s storage by making items easier to put
away, see and retrieve.
- Highlight features which improve ease of maintenance, ensuring
lasting durability, beauty and time savings.
- Illustrate other timesaving features, for example, if you offer
one of the new, quicker cooking ovens, have cookie dough on hand to
show how tasty the end product comes out, yet in less time. As a
by-product, the smell of baking cookies surely will put your
customer’s mind in the kitchen purchasing mode.’
- Show convenience and safety of plans and products, i.e. rounded
corners, non-slip surfaces, properly placed grab bars, countertops
which are not only easy to clean but won’t support bacterial
growth, hygienic cleaning cycles in the dishwasher and the like.
Show how the floor plan design will control traffic flow, and don’t
forget to design in proper landing space for hot items taken from
the range or oven.’
- Don’t forget special accessibility for the physically
challenged or those with special needs. Be able to demonstrate
maximum access and use of the space in a safe manner.’
- Don’t forget the industry standard features. We’re so close to
the industry, we often take for granted what our customers don’t
know. Drawer guide systems, adjustable shelves, slide-out shelves,
pots and pans drawers, proper lighting, ventilation, etc. all add
Demonstrations, when well done, are a powerful selling tool.
They help you to control the sales process and accelerate customer
decisions. So be sure to plan demonstrations, practice them and put
them to use.