Why you simply can't afford
to have a
"Plain Vanilla" Showroom.
A great showroom is one of the best ways for a marble manufacturer to sell his product. If set up correctly it can help you more than you could ever imagine. For instance, stand back and look at your present showroom. What does it say about your shop? Does it invite customers in? Does it say you're a discount shop or a quality shop? Does it make customers curious enough to come in and ask questions, or is it just "pretty" ? Remember, no matter what size it is if it doesn't attract customers and make them ask questions it's not doing it's job.

A few years back KAST MARBLE of Colorado asked us what colors seemed to be "hot". At that time our lab was beginning to see a steady request for greens. We made a special green for Kast and they created a real show stopping display with it. Every detail, every accessory was perfect. At the Home and Garden show they were exhibiting at, I stood back and watched potential customers "try" and go by his booth without stopping. It was almost funny because nobody could just walk by. There was not a man, woman, or child that didn't stop and look. His display did exactly what it was intended to do and the show was a great success for him. He was able to recognize color as the sales tool that it is.

Using only neutral colors in your showroom because "that's what we sell most" is not always best. Color can attract customers, it can show off a design, or create a mood, but best of all it can get you sales. You need to show customers that your product is exciting, special, and affordable - but first you have to get them into your shop.

Whether your showroom is big, small, or even just in the process of being constructed, here are some points to remember. Each display should have something that makes the customer say "ooooh", like a modern color or design. If not, you are just wasting the space. Pay a lot of attention to detail in your display. Use beautiful flowers, accents and accessories to "attract" and make customers dream of the bath room they could have. In model homes strong "accents" are used to attract, and people in the construction business know that the perfect home is the perfect dream. Use the same strategy.

Reputations grow by "wowing" customers and not by "limiting" them. Face it, if people really wanted something ordinary they wouldn't have come to you. Many people believe that by picking beiges or white they can easily change to any other color scheme, and that is far from the truth. These plain light colors can be even more narrowing than other more dramatic color selections. Use your designer Marble Catalog to show them actual industry matches. Mix and match. Show them possibilities. If that isn't enough, and sometimes it's not, let them know that you can deliver any color they want. Tile manufacturers can't do that, nor can laminates or any other product. Only Marble can deliver these kinds of custom choices.

Need more specific advice? Buy lots of towels in different colors and shades that "go with" and "accent" your display. Divide them into two seasons. SPRING colors and FALL colors. Make a bouquet out of each and place them at opposite ends of your display. Let them shout - TAKE ME! Then just stand back and watch which one your customer is drawn to first. This is an inexpensive way to find out how best to direct them when it comes time for them to make their color choice. This also shows them that whatever color choice they make doesn't lock them into only one color scheme.

One more important thing. Think about making up a sign that says "Yes, IT IS AFFORDABLE" ! As I stand back at shows and listen, I always overhear customers wondering if it's affordable. Don't make them wonder or you could lose them.

If you want to avoid future problems use lighting to accent your work and educate your customer. Improper lighting in your showroom or at your clients home can cause big headaches for everybody. It's even a good idea to make an "in house" lighting area. If you have a nice marbled custom bathroom, install a toggle switch so you can show how different light sources can change the color of their marble, carpet, or wallpaper samples. When you educate them you become part of the solution and not part of the problem. You don't have to have all the different light sources, just showing them that colors do change can open their eyes.

Color choices are affected by regional differences, ethnic differences, the environment, and the economy. Know your region and study how the items mentioned above impact your customers choices. Showrooms can be one of your best tools, and the way you put one together, if done with forethought and knowledge, can put you and your products right up there with the Best of the Best.
Carol Witherington
V.P. Sales
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