Selling the Value in Brand Names

I know that, as a salesperson, I'm far more confident if there's a strong brand name that's recognizable to my customer attached to the product I'm offering.

You should feel the same way and for good reason. There are many strengths that a brand name brings to a sales presentation:

  • There's assurance that the product has been time-tested and, with this, comes the inference of quality.
  • Being time-tested and having a definitive identity in the eyes of customers creates the perception that the product is being offered at a fair market value.
  • A strong brand name suggests stability, which strengthens any warranty, as well as the ability to back the warranty up.
  • To many consumers, the possession of a brand name product has tangible emotional value. First, it provides assurance in the knowledge that many other people have made, and are making, the same purchasing decision; this develops confidence in their decision and minimizes the risk of "buyer's remorse." Secondly, possession of a brand-name product is often recognized by consumers as a status symbol, and promotes a positive self-image.

Let's take a look at how we should use each of these strengths in developing a sale.Time-tested

I believe and I expect you share my opinion that when a product has been in the marketplace a long time and has developed a strong brand identity, it suggests that the product possesses proven quality and staying power.

What does that mean to your customer? I believe it helps establish a customer expectation that the product will enjoy a long life without failure. It also infers that the brand-name strength has been earned because the manufacturer pays attention to quality.

Don't assume, however, that your customer is necessarily thinking along these lines. It's important that you say something to your customer taking advantage of the brand name and gaining agreement on its quality.

As an example: "Mr. and Mrs. Jones, my experience with (brand) cabinets assures me they offer great quality, and I believe that assurance of quality with (brand) is important to you, isn't it?"

Fair value
Think about any strong brand name that you're familiar with outside the kitchen and bath industry. Isn't there a feeling that the brand wouldn't exist over a long period of time if it didn't go to the market at a fair price.

The cost of a product is a very important factor in the buying decision of most customers, but when we sell effectively, we provide them with reasons to believe their investment is justified because of the value of the benefits they're gaining through ownership. This is our chance to use the power of the brand name to reinforce the customer's perception that he or she is making a wise value decision.

As an example: "(Brand) flooring has been in the marketplace for many years and I've always felt that proves (brand) products are priced correctly to give you maximum value. Don't you agree?"

The dictionary defines stability as "the strength to stand and endure," and I suggest that a brand-name product that has demonstrated long-term stability means a lot to most buyers.

I've seen manufacturers who are marketing products of little stability offer equal, or stronger, warranties than those of products that are long-standing and have a well-known brand name. But warranties offered by companies with unstable products have no value. Why? Because, inevitably, those companies can't support their claims, and often wind up out of business.

As designers and sales professionals, we want our customers to have the assurance of stability; we also want that same stability when we need support from the suppliers we do business with. We need to project that sense of stability to customers.

As an example: "It's important for you and to me to have a product in your home from a manufacturer with a track record of stability. (Brand) countertops provides us with that sense of stability. Don't you agree?"

Emotional value
We're all concerned, to some extent, with self-image. Our customers are no different. They think well of themselves, for example, when they know they're making a wise decision a decision that many others have made, as well.

When your customers feel that they have made a correct decision, and others will be in approval of that decision, their self-image soars. Selecting a product with a strong brand name provides them with that opportunity. It also provides you with an opportunity to reinforce their emotional reaction to the product.

As an example: "I have a lot of confidence in (brand), and I know you'll have a lot of peace of mind in choosing a (brand) whirlpool bath. I think you'll agree that peace of mind is important, isn't it?"

At the same time, keep in mind that it's important to many people to possess something of prestige. Interestingly, the kitchen and bath industry has many products that are considered "prestigious" to homeowners. Take advantage of the fact that people often like to flaunt what they have.

As an example: "Your choosing (brand) is a good decision, and I'd expect you'll get all kinds of compliments from your friends about your new (brand) cooking equipment. I don't think you'll mind the compliments, will you?"

A few last thoughts on creating or improving the brand-name products you offer:

  • Talk about your personal experience with the product.n Obtain a third-party reference for support.
  • Demonstrate the manufacturer's strength with photos and/or articles about the company.
  • Add your own company's warranty to the manufacturer's warranty to prove your trust in the product.

The kitchen and bath industry is full of brand names that are household words. It's our challenge to reinforce that branding as best we can, and to take full advantage of the brand-name products we sell.

Many manufacturers in our industry have developed strong product brands. Let's make sure we use them to close as many sales as we possibly can.