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Rating systems? Overrated selling tools.

Below is a letter sent to our regular columnist, Kelly Kramer, via FCNews regarding rating systems. Could this be of any help to your sales force?

Dear Kelly,

I am an avid reader of the columns in Floor Covering News by you, Warren Tyler and Lew Migliore.

I believe in the past, you have written several times about warranties on carpeting and your feeling that they are over-rated. Unless I have missed it, I have not seen you address specifically the “performance-rating scale” that now appears on the labeling of all carpet samples.

When showing carpet samples to a customer, it is very hard to ignore this comparison factor. I would find it most interesting, if you would do an article about your opinions on the viability of this recent aid to the carpet shopping experience.

I am sure others would find this informative also.

Ken Price

Ken-Mar Home Furnishings

Meshoppen, PA

Dear Ken,

Thanks for the note.

My opinion on rating systems is that they too are overrated as a selling tool. Because there is no national, flooring industry or governmental scale used, mills judge this for themselves. It’s like you or I being asked to judge ourselves. And, of course, we are fantastic.

Then, it’s even worse when they use an “independent testing lab” because they are paid to give certain results. In any event it is best to explain to your buyers that those labels are biased and self-serving for the mills. A good, old-fashioned education on carpet structure and durability to your customers will allow them to make their own decision. Plus, when you are blunt and honest about how manufacturers manipulate their labels you become a consumer’s advocate and a person worth listening to.

Also, manufacturers put these kinds of labels on samples because they think most salespeople don’t know how to educate and sell. The samples are not called silent samples for nothing. Take a look at the [amount of retailers] who show once weights. [Professional salespeople] know once weight has very little to do with a carpet’s real quality. For example, a pound of hamburger is very different from a pound of steak. But manufacturers know a buyer thinks 50 ounces must be better than 40 ounces.

Again, it’s educating buyers that makes them rely on you and not the ignorant silent salesman.

Kelly