Anybody who’s watched a toddler wobble her way across a living room floor—apple juice in one hand, crackers in the other—understands why a family with a 2-year-old may have particular considerations when purchasing new flooring.
Fast-forward a few years, and parents face a whole new set of challenges. Whether it’s battling spilled finger paint or flung dirt from football boots, each family experiences its own variety of flooring fiascos. And, they rely on a sales person’s knowledge to help minimise the evidence.
With the expertise from USA based Jeff Fromm, a speaker and professional consultant on marketing to millennials or Generation Y with kids, we pinpointed three questions sales personnel can ask when assisting parents in the store, based on how parents shop.
“Today’s parents with young children have different expectations from consumers in the past,” says Fromm. “Whereas the old sales mantra was ‘Follow the ABCs: Always Be Closing,’ the new focus should be ‘Remember to ABH: Always Be Helping.’”
Sales personnel are most helpful when they understand their customers’ needs. “Time is precious when you’re a parent out shopping,” Fromm says. “Respect their time by asking questions that show empathy and give you insights into their situation.”
Knowing the ages of the children using the space in question will help sales personnel understand the messes the customers face. Once the ages of the customers’ children are known, sales personnel can determine the parents’ current life stage and listen to their specific challenges.
Are they constantly vacuuming dirt out of carpet fibres? Do they often spot-clean stains from food or art projects? Once their cleaning needs and methods are understood, explain how a particular flooring solution, such as STAINMASTER® carpet, makes it easier to clean even life's messiest moments—spills from food and drinks, dry soil from shoes and other stains.
Parents conduct online product research before, after, and often even during a sales interaction. “They consume content on every subject from carpet to baby food to buying a car,” says Fromm. “And when they buy a car, for example, they use their friend network.”
For sales personnel to join a customer’s friend network, they must become a trusted resource. Ask open-ended questions that give parents an opportunity to provide more information, which in return gives the sales person an opportunity to listen.
“Keeping a dialogue going by asking questions and then truly listening to the [parent’s] response will allow you to build this trust with your customer,” Fromm says.
Parents define “useful” based on many criteria like cleanliness, lifestyle, safety, comfort, and overall room design.
“I would ask whether there are other aesthetic considerations,” adds Fromm. Is the parent trying to match wall colour or existing furnishings? Maybe the customer would be willing to share a photo of the space to give a better idea of what currently works and what challenges can be solved with the new flooring.
And, for parents to purchase a new product, Fromm says they must be convinced that it’s valuable. In the case of flooring, sales personnel are more likely to make a sale if they can show parents how different options fit their lifestyle. For example, if children use the playroom for gymnastics and dance practice, parents may prefer a soft, plush carpet, such as STAINMASTER® EverSoft® carpet.
Above all, Fromm reiterates that it’s all about helping. “If you actively listen, people will share their needs and trust the solution you design together.”