Underlayment: Proven tips to trading up to better cushion

In a similar vein, David Jackson, Sika Corp. Technical Services Manager, suggested pointing out key, easy-to-understand benefits, such as acoustic reduction, moisture control and thermal protection. “Educating consumers about the added value of floor underlayments is critical to a retailer’s ability to sell and promote systems, exponentially improving their bottom line,” he said.

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TIP #3: Sell the whole system

One of the more effective ways to promote padding, especially high-quality products, is to demonstrate how the product works in conjunction with the flooring material. In other words, sell the system. “While individual subfloor sales should not be discounted, the most valuable approach for retailers is to integrate their subfloors into solution-based, multi-layer system product offerings from suppliers from a single source,” explains Sika’s Jackson. Properly installed, complete systems can provide the highest degree of total value and provide the consumer with a warm, dry, and desirable solid-sounding floor—something that the customer can easily appeal to.

Experts say improved cushions and underlayments provide the retailer with the full selling experience while providing the best buying experience for the consumer. Hence the importance of packaging the installation to simplify the purchasing process for the shopper. “If the retailers don’t offer all aspects of the setup, they force the end user to shop elsewhere or compete,” said Marcus Guy, vice president and general manager of pad and pillow, Mohawk. “This could endanger the entire job package.”

TIP #4: Start at the top

Whether buying a new flooring product or a brand new car, customers generally don’t like surprises, especially after getting a quote. That’s why experts recommend starting with your best pillow instead of starting low and then trying to work your way up to a more expensive filling. “Never start by offering to sell a lower quality underlayment that has inferior properties to the premium underlayments,” advised Jim Wink, Foam Products vice president of sales and marketing.

In addition, Wink emphasized the importance of doing the customer right and educating them on all the benefits of the premium underlayment options. “The customer will share this better experience with their friends so that you as a retailer get new customers,” he said.

TIP #5: Avoid late add-ons

The most successful salespeople quote customers for the entire task when providing estimates. While this approach could initially increase the likelihood of ‘sticker shock’, it avoids having to return the customer with a higher estimate than originally proposed.

“Always include the subfloor in the specified estimate and explain why it is needed,” explains Wink. “The client doesn’t know, so they will respect your expertise and honest explanation.”

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