The Science of Selling Big Dreams

There's a real science to successful showroom design, but it has as much to do with what customers do not see as it does with what meets their eye.
That may sound a bit illogical at first - but it's true.

The best kitchen and bath showrooms, in fact, are far more than simply a visual showcase for product and design ideas. Similarly, they're far more than simply a place to greet prospects, collect information, establish relationships and conduct transactions.

At their finest, showrooms are retail environments that inspire - and help sell - bold and vivid dreams.

They inspire dreams about kitchens where people can discover the unique and special magic of family. . . about kitchens where people can feel warm and nostalgic, peaceful and secure. . . about kitchens where people can gather and connect, laugh and love, and share a multitude of simple pleasures.

Delivering those dreams, of course, is at the heart of excellent kitchen design. And, reminding customers that the dreams have a definable, tangible quality - that they are possibilities that can truly be achieved - is the goal of excellent showroom design.

That message is being delivered to kitchen and bath design professionals in key U.S. markets through a newly developed series of educational programs which focus on designing, accessorizing and managing showrooms for maximum visual and sales impact.

The four-city series - entitled "Profitable Showroom Design" and co-produced by Kitchen & Bath Design News and the NKBA - kicked off last month in the New York metropolitan area. A special preview of the program will also be presented at the NKBA's Dealer Council Breakfast next month in conjunction with K/BIS. Additional 2005 programs are scheduled, as well, for Atlanta, Chicago and Boston (see story, Page 12, and Special Pull-Out Section, Pages 76A-T).

At the core of the seminar series is the notion that truly impactful showroom design encompasses far more than even such critical factors as location, layout, product mix, signage, lighting, ambiance and accessories.

Underlined in the seminars, instead, is the idea that showrooms should engage all of the senses - not just the sense of sight - and should establish an emotional connection that's unmistakable and compelling.

In other words, showrooms should convey, and evoke, the powerful emotions woven most deeply into the consumer's psyche, and most intimately connected with their dream of the perfect kitchen.

This isn't necessarily as easy as it sounds.

It may also mean thinking a bit outside of the box.

Designing profitable, top-draw showrooms takes into account far more, for example, than simply displays, vignettes and traffic flow. Instead, it should be a carefully conceived exercise that's a product of the business model your company employs, and a reflection of the psychology of your targeted consumer - who they are, how they shop and what turns them on.

Selling kitchens - or any dream, for that matter - takes a keen understanding of how you want your customers to feel when they enter your place of business, meet your staff and leave after their visit.

As the primary touchpoint for your business, your showroom should provide an emotional experience that's positive and clearly worth remembering. It should excite. It should inspire. It should touch the heart and warm the soul
of visitors.

If your showroom achieves those goals, it can become a business tool that can help boost profits, differentiate your company and help you sell even the most expansive of dreams.