Creating a Memorable Showroom Experience

Throughout our lives, we continuously reflect on our most memorable personal experiences. In most cases, we enjoy reliving positive memories.

On another level, we do the same for good marketing and branding.

I can think of many memorable marketing ideas related to luxury products: “He went to Jared,” luxury car ads, Swarovski crystal kiosks at every high-end shopping mall and airport, etc. The list of positive memories pertaining to luxury items is long.

As purveyors of luxury plumbing and hardware, we must create the same positive memories for our clients.

As a national sales manager, I travel the country with esteemed representatives. We visit showrooms – some good, some not so good.

Every once in a while, I am taken back and hit with the wow factor as I walk into a showroom. It makes that showroom truly memorable.

Working with a dynamic rep or truly exceptional manufacturer can have the same effect.

How to be Memorable

So, what makes a business or industry professional memorable?

For showrooms, it might be a unique location or facade, creative display merchandising or a staff’s sales technique. For a rep, it might be the way they work with staff, the sales approach, unique product knowledge or that special little something he or she is known for. For the manufacturer, it’s about creating cutting-edge products, hiring memorable employees and providing outstanding customer service.

Our industry has been built on the development of memorable relationships and, in this new economy, it’s more important than ever to be memorable. We are selling luxury and selling luxury means being memorable.

Since a picture is worth a 1,000 words, I would like to share with you several pictures of some of my more memorable experiences while traveling to showrooms.

At Designers Plumbing in the Design Center of the Americas (DCOTA) in Dania, FL, you just cannot miss the “vignette of gold faucets” – the most luxurious gold faucets ever assembled in one place.

At Union Hardware, Bethesda, MD, the staff is always creating memorable experiences, ranging from a free-flowing (disappearing water) Alape basin front and center in the showroom to more seasonal experiences such as a Hansgrohe exposed shower unit watering the tulips in the spring and toilets and tubs crafted from snow in the winter (see photo right).

Eurobath and Tile (EBT) in Denver, CO created many memorable experiences in its showroom. According to proprietor Jen Grant, EBT keeps its showroom fresh and memorable by having evolving displays. “We are always under construction somewhere in our showroom,” Grant says. “One thing we learned many years ago is to not become stale. If you want to attract the top designers and end users, being fresh is a must.”

Years ago, I received a holiday card from a rep agency that I will never forget. The agency decided to have everyone get in the shower together for their annual photo holiday card. It was original and quite amusing.

These showrooms have all previously been nominated and/or are winners of the Decorative Plumbing & Hardware Association’s annual showroom of the year contest.

As members of DPHA, these showrooms – along with the partnering of their DPHA reps and manufacturers – have learned how to set themselves apart from the competition and gain the competitive advantage in their marketplace.

Learn how you can become memorable, too, by attending the 2010 DPHA Annual Conference and Product Showcase, Oct. 15-17, at the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood, FL.

A Focused Approach

Keep in mind that creating memorable experiences for customers does not happen by accident. It requires a meticulous approach with flawless execution.

In order to help DPHA members create more memorable experiences for their customers, a member group in northern California (consisting of showroom owners, staff, reps and local manufacturers) developed a showroom checklist for all DPHA members.

According to Mary Labowitz, Premier Marketing, and Jerry Williams, WMS Marketing (both leaders of the DPHA member group), too many times at the end of a job, an item has been left off the order. As a result, the contractor has to rush around for the missing item, starting a fury of frantic phone calls. They just want to complete the job, so guess who gets the sale for that missing item? The big box. Now that luxurious bathroom has an item that is not so luxurious. The end user loses, and the showroom, rep and decorative plumbing and hardware manufacturer have lost a sale. And a non-memorable experience (or negative experience) has occurred.

The checklist is divided into a few sections and details the necessary accessories one might need to think of when picking product for the bath. For example, in the tubs section, there is a reminder for the drain. When ordering the bath sink and faucet, you will be prompted to not forget the stops or a special drain that might be needed.

Creating a memorable experience for your customers is a combination of a sharp showroom, high-end luxury products, outstanding product knowledge and a thorough sales process. If all areas are flawlessly executed, your customer will remember his or her experience with you.