Alter Basic Sales Approach, High-End Firms
LAS VEGAS There’s a pressing need in the luxury kitchen and bath
marketplace to “move away from traditional selling techniques” and
to adopt a sales approach far more suited to the special mindset,
needs and buying patterns of the high-end consumer, for this client
is a very different type of customer.
That’s the opinion of Keith Wood, v.p./sales for Bentwood
Kitchens, a Lancaster, TX-based cabinet supplier. Wood was among
the speakers who were featured at the Luxury Kitchen & Bath
Collection, a trade show and educational conference conducted last
month in Las Vegas.
Addressing an audience of kitchen and bath design professionals
at the event, Wood observed that high-end marketers “could benefit
tremendously if we focus on selling more with less selling, and
just give the customer what she wants.”
“Giving people what they want is the most effective way to sell
in the high-end market,” Wood said.
And exactly what is the luxury kitchen and bath consumer
shopping and hoping for?
According to Wood, it’s essentially three things:
- An accomplished specialist someone she can trust and have an
engaging productive working relationship with, outside the realm of
price. “If the consumer is talking to you about price, she’s not
really emotionally engaged,” Wood said.
- A total understanding of the consumer’s wants, needs,
expectations, concerns and goals.
- A validation of the kitchen and bath designer’s performance
record, “so that the consumer knows she will get what she is
“The role of the kitchen and bath designer is expanding,” Wood
noted in his presentation. “The luxury customer is not going around
looking for a ‘salesperson’ in the traditional sense. Instead,
she’s looking for a specialist, much in the same way that she’s
looking for a lawyer, or a doctor, or a financial planner.
“She’s looking for someone who reaches a high level of
understanding about her needs. She requires the services of a
professional who will pay a great deal of attention to detail, and
who will take the time and interest to learn what her needs
Wood said that relationship-building is the key to capturing the
business of the luxury kitchen/bath consumer. He suggested creating
a “sale-opening” area in the showroom in sharp contrast to the
traditional “closing” areas in many showrooms. In this “pleasant,
comfortable” area, he said, designers can “build a foundation of
trust and rapport” with luxury customers by displaying professional
credentials, awards and similar items aimed at establishing their
“Here is where you can demonstrate that you are a caring,
personally committed professional,” Wood said.
Another key to capturing the business of this type of consumer
is to “create an entertaining, informative, time-productive,
specific-to-her presentation and evaluation,” Wood told his
“Luxury kitchen and bath consumers want to come away from your
showroom feeling that they learned something, or saw something new,
and that the meeting was beneficial,” Wood said, suggesting that
designers not be hesitant about “sharing your vision via
conversation, presentation and illustration.”
Providing references “from actual customers who are just like
her” is another key to capturing the business of luxury consumers,
Another technique is for designers to create a “Reliability
Index,” which provides prospects with tangible proof of a firm’s
aptitude, as well as its past performance, Wood added.
“Let the customer know how many projects you’ve completed, how
often the projects were completed on time and how satisfied other
customers are with the results you’ve provided,” Wood told his
audience. “Connect the prospect via e-mail, getting their
permission in advance to a group of satisfied customers who are
Luxury Clients Are a Varied Group, Designers
Las Vegas The luxury kitchen and bath customer is, in reality, a
mix of several different types of customers who are characterized
in a variety of ways, according to the head of a leading
kitchen/bath product marketing firm.
Reed Fry, president of the Newport Beach, CA-based Fry
Communications, told kitchen and bath design professionals last
month that there were at least three distinctive customer types
currently defining the luxury market “affluent males,” “evolving
females” and “design enthusiasts.”
Fry, whose advertising and public relations firm serves a number
of prominent building product manufacturers, made his remarks at
the Luxury Kitchen and Bath Collection here.
Fry observed that each of the three groups of customers
possesses a series of distinguishing qualities that can provide
cues on how to best serve them. Among them are the following:
- Affluent Males.
They are self-sufficient and confident in their abilities, tastes
They’ve survived many challenges and feel good about themselves and
They feel empowered.
They’ve gone from “keeping up with the Joneses” to “does this
purchase make me feel good?”
They care about image and style as much as their portfolio and
They offer no apologies for their desires. They’re entitled to it.
They’ve earned it. They work had for it. They deserve it. They have
nothing to be ashamed of.
- Evolving Females.
They have made the transition from “ladies who lunch” to “women who
They want and deserve recognition of their status as a
A significant percentage of the women who are married earn more
than their husbands.
They share many of the characteristics of the affluent male
They are in search of in-depth information and technical expertise.
For example, they are more likely than men to visit your company’s
- Design Enthusiasts.
Design truly “matters” to these individuals
They believe that excellent design is within their reach.
Beyond mere product features and benefits, they want the guidance
in identifying and defining their style.
They want you to share “the story” behind a design.