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Six Ways to Sell More Plumbing

To keep customers coming back to shop your plumbing category, you know you need to have a fully stocked department and knowledgeable employees. But that’s not the sum total of what it takes to run a successful department. Successful retailers usually go above and beyond to make sure their customers get the best service and don’t leave to shop the competition. Here are some of the ways you can make your plumbing department stand out.

Have patient employees. It isn’t enough for your employees to be product knowledge experts. They also need to have good people skills, especially if they are working with do-it-yourselfers. Employees working in the plumbing department may need to explain something more than once to customers who are trying to understand a project with some technical details. Your employees working in this area need to be patient and confident. That confidence will rub off onto your customers, and they will be reassured they can do the project themselves.

Post how-to diagrams near displays. A picture is worth a thousand words. Posting a simple diagram that shows how to complete a common project can help customers understand what they’re doing. It gives them more confidence about the doing the project themselves and shows what products they need to do it. In addition, it’s a good training tool for your staff.

Talk about your special orders. Customers may want something very specific, especially when it comes to fashion plumbing items. Or, they may just want the ability to browse a large selection of sizes and styles so they find exactly what fits their home. If you offer a special order service, don’t hide it. Your ability to special order a product could make or break the sale. Use clear signage to advertise this service, and mention it as you’re talking with the customer.

Offer a basket. It may seem like a simple gesture, but make sure you have a stack of shopping baskets within close reach. The plumbing department contains lots of small parts. If a customer doesn’t grab a shopping basket on the way in, they may wish they had one once they start picking out parts. Have one close so it’s easier for them to grab one. Or, have the employee who is helping them offer to get a basket for them.

Mention the products value. Don’t just tell the customer how a particular product meets the requirements of their project. Talk about the product’s benefits, too. Show how easy a product is easy to install and how it will save the customer money, rather than just focusing on all of the features it may have. Also emphasize the quality of the product. Train employees to upsell to higher quality items, underscoring how that product will last longer and perform better.

Connect customers to installers. Not every customer is a do-it-yourselfer. Sometimes they want either a handyman or a professional plumber, but finding that person can be a chore. Have a list of names of local contractors who are reliable. The challenge here is to vet these contractors carefully so you know they are providing good service. Those who provide bad service will reflect poorly on your store, even if they are not affiliated with you.

About Jesse Carleton

Jesse Carleton
Jesse Carleton has visited independent hardware retailers, conducted original research on the industry and written extensively about the business of hardware retailing. Jesse has written for more than a dozen of NRHA’s contract publishing titles, all related to the hardware retailing industry. He also was instrumental in developing the Basic Training in Hardware Retailing courses now used by thousands of retailers across the country.

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