LPG and IMARK Nation,
Welcome to the summer of 2023. Strange times we are in. Business seems to be both up and down depending on the market you are in, and whether you work in commercial products. Overall, I think the year will end with mixed results. I am optimistic that LPG will outperform the market, as with every interaction I have with members, they are more aware—and taking advantage of our partnerships. When we support each other, we run a better network of businesses.
LPG has taken on some new vendor partners of which you should be aware. MTI Baths | Luxury Bathtubs, Counter-Sinks, Vanity Sinks & Shower Bases, Jörger—exclusive in every detail (joerger.de), Armani Roca, Deco N Deco—producing the highest quality cabinet hardware products, drapery hardware & bathroom accessories, Inicio - Quare | Bathroom Design & Solutions (quaredesign.co.uk) and Armadi Art USA. Now more than ever before, LPG members have access to true luxury brands. I urge you all to meet with and consider using our new partners— there is such a sea of sameness when it comes to consumer grade products that offering and displaying these unique products will give you a competitive advantage.
Peter Ollestad, our director of business development, has brought several new members to the table, as well as a defined direction for Current Faucets. Our exclusive brands are critical to our success in the long term, and if you haven’t given them a hard look—you really should—as they are profitable and functional. Peter is truly making a difference to LPG and has the support of our vendor community—so expect good things once we head toward EXPO.
EXPO, by the way, is January 17-20 at the JW Marriott in San Antonio, Texas. It promises to be the best show yet! We at LPG are making changes based on your survey responses, and doing the best we can to fit everything in.
I was recently out running for groceries and stopped by a roadside farm stand. The family member who was running the stand excitedly offered me a tomato that just came out of the garden. “You have to try this,” he said and offered a knife and fork to eat it right there. While I was apprehensive at first, his excitement led me to give it a shot. And I’m usually not a fan of just tomato—but it was fantastic! Of course, I bought some to take along. As soon as I got in my car, I was thinking how can a showroom offer the same excitement on products, and how could they offer a “sample” to make the customer feel obligated to buy.
The first step is to love the products you sell as much as that farmer loved the tomato. If you have anything on your showroom floor that you wouldn’t put in your own home, then you should get rid of it. You can’t be 90% authentic with passion—people will notice. The farmstand owner was a great salesperson—and knew exactly what he was doing by guilting me into buying the tomatoes.
The next step is to be generous. With information, with inventory, with surprises. Have you ever considered ordering lunch for your customers if they book a 10:30 a.m. appointment? Or actively tried to book at that time, so you can book lunch and keep them a little longer? Ordering a complimentary lunch would be equal to the slice of tomato—it would help make them feel obligated to buy.
The bottom line is you have to use your farmstand mentality against the bland, lifeless national chains and offer something they just don’t do—use passion and knowledge to sell.