Understanding The Right Terminology

Several years ago while standing in the office of a flooring installer I overhead him describe #2 common flooring as “dirty” in his conversation with a homeowner interested in having a character grade floor installed in her home.
Imagine the look on that home owners face as she thought about what would ultimately be an $8 to $10 thousand dollar investment when it was described as “dirty” by a professional installer.  When the contractor got off the phone, I asked him if he sold many Character grade floors.  His answer didn’t surprise me at all: “We never install Character floors in this area”.
As it turns out, it wasn’t the area that limited his sales of Character grade flooring, it was that simple little “dirty” word.
A hardwood floor can easily be the largest home improvement expense of any remodel or redecorating project.  The terminology you use to describe the products, the process and the look, influences the rate of success you have in closing sales.
Had this contractor discussed attributes of the floor with descriptions such as “natural characteristics of the lumber”, “a look that emulates a mountain lodge” or “a product that truly reflects nature”, he may have found his crews installing something other than Select & Better once in a while.
Having a solid understanding of the marketable descriptions of the products you sell has a dramatic impact on the ability of the consumer to fully understand what they are shopping for.  Additionally, knowing the correct terminology of the technical aspects of hardwood flooring not only gives you a sales advantage over your competition but it helps create clarity when describing a problem that may arise during or after installation.
Consider how seriously a manufacturer will take a complaint, if the contractor doesn’t understand the terminology of the products or how they relate to the issue.  Having that professional vocabulary brings legitimacy to your position and assists in getting a resolution to an issue more quickly.
Can you fully explain the attributes of Rift & Quartered vs. Plain Sawn flooring?  How about an explanation of how the steaming process works in the manufacturing of Walnut or Cherry flooring?
If terms like; hollow back, lower groove shoulder or honeycomb are foreign sounding, you can find many resources through NWFA, your local distributor or most manufacturers to assist in improving your technical knowledge and descriptive skillsets, which will help you sell more floors.
Remember the words of Albert Einstein, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”.

 

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