Business graphThe kitchen and bath industry is full of artistic souls who create beautiful problem solving solutions through their designs. The problem is, they can’t always sell those wonderful spaces.

It’s tough to accept that you are the most talented designer in your company, yet others still outsell you left and right.

We’ve got a secret

They outsell you not necessarily because they design better, but because they sell confidently.

“I’ve got confidence! I’m not scared of the sale!” you say; but do you always sell with that confidence? Maybe, maybe not. The important thing is that you start selling with that confidence from here on out.  Leave your old ways (relying only on your great design) behind, and start selling like the guys who are out there making the money.

Know the process and know what you’re doing

Put your clients at ease by being clear about every step in the process. Customers hate nothing more than feeling like something is going on behind the scenes.

Before reviewing your process with them, make sure you have all of the details straight – Who will be contacting them? How many times will they need to come in to speak with you? Where will the ordering happen? How long will it all take? Those answers should already be second nature to you (and if they’re not…you’ve got some work to do). Hummm-ing and haaa-ing over what’s going to happen next will send your customers out the door and into someone else’s showroom.

Find the “why” of their buyand don’t be too pushy with your own ideas. Discover why they want to remodel, and then use your knowledge and expertise to create solutions to their problems. Be helpful in your suggestions, and try not to remind them of a pushy car salesman. If someone says they need more storage, don’t just tell them they should add on 500 sq. ft. and buy deep roll-out shelves in every cabinet. Show that you were listening intently to their needs by developing solutions with them (that they can also afford).

Embrace rejection

It might sound a little backwards to embrace rejections occasionally, but if you don’t, you’ll never learn how to bounce back from them. The toughest rejections are the ones that happen after the designs have been drawn and the closing presentation has been made. The best way to learn from them and combat future losses is to practice, practice, practice (haven’t you heard that practice makes perfect?).  Try role playing with co-workers in these scenarios – present your designs and see if they’d buy from you.

The flip side to learning how to embrace rejection from a customer is to go into every conversation expecting success. It’s the “fake it ‘til you make it” mentality. If you expect a successful outcome, show the customer that you are on their team and want this project to move forward.  They will feel those good vibes, and that can help close the deal. Don’t walk into a design presentation thinking that they’ll never buy or that they are going to jerk you around for a million design changes.  If you do, they’ll sense that too.

Selling a kitchen or bath isn’t entirely about how great your designs are these days; it’s about your ability to be confident in your skills.  With regular training and practice, you’ll be able to turn your selling strategy around and give that new guy a run for his money.