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Underlayment: Proper education is the key to closing sales

April 2/9, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 21

By Lindsay Baillie

 

Arming retail salespeople with the knowledge to prescribe and sell the right underlayment for the job is the key to success, suppliers say. Once a retail sales associate is properly trained on the latest products, he or she must make it a point to educate the consumer.

Following are a few key points to remember when selling underlayments.

Look for trade-up opportunities. Underlayments offered on a good/better/best platform provide retailers with twice the opportunity to upsell—once, when the consumer decides whether to purchase underlayment along with her floor, and again when she has the option to choose between underlayments of different qualities.

As Jeff Bonkiewicz, channel manager, Laticrete, explained, “Underlayment products are valuable accessories that help increase margins and generate higher ticket sales for retailers. Upselling from an entry-level product to a specialty underlayment is achievable through comprehensive product education. This focus on education starts with the dealer outlining the   benefits of using an underlayment before installing materials.”

Focus on the benefits, not features. Once a consumer learns about the characteristics of underlayment, the product will no longer seem like an accessory but rather a necessity. As most underlayment suppliers point out, qualities such as sound absorption and comfort sound great to a consumer who is looking to install new flooring.

“Sound absorption is extremely important in multi-story, single-family homes, condos, apartments and multi-story office and hotel buildings,” explained Jim Wink, vice president of sales and marketing, Foam Products. “In terms of comfort for hard surface flooring, a high-quality foam underlayment can soften the feel of walking on the floor, especially with thinner laminates and vinyl plank flooring.”

Underlayments complete the installation. When a consumer enters a store looking for flooring, she is typically only interested in the style and color of her new floors. Suppliers believe it is crucial for the retailer to slow her down and force her to think through the function of her entire application, including hidden problems that can occur within the life of the flooring materials.

“For example, when it comes to floating floors, most consumers and contractors know they need an underlayment,” said Deanna Summers, marketing coordinator, MP Global. “Problem solved, right? The trick is to understand the full installation and match the right performing underlayment that will be best suited for the entire makeup of the floor, not just the floor covering materials.”

In addition to its other characteristics, underlayments also  reduce the amount of floor preparation required for a successful installation. As Wade Verble, vice president of underlayment, DriTac, noted, “The associated labor savings will typically offset the cost of the underlayment and labor needed to install the pad.”

Padding extends the life of the floor. Since underlayment can protect installations in various ways—such as limiting water intrusion, damages and cracking as well as aiding in sound reduction—this accessory helps to present a better overall surface to adhere finished flooring. “Adding an appropriate underlayment could mean the difference between a three- to five-year installation and a durable lifetime installation,” Laticrete’s Bonkiewicz said.

Providing consumers with the proper underlayment can also create consumer trust. As DriTac’s Verble explains, “Peak performance for any flooring system is always optimal and underlayment is critical to achieving the highest level of results and customer satisfaction.”

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Proper education is the key to closing sales

April 2/9, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 21

By Lindsay Baillie

Arming retail salespeople with the knowledge to prescribe and sell the right underlayment for the job is the key to success, suppliers say. Once a retail sales associate is properly trained on the latest products, he or she must make it a point to educate the consumer.

Following are a few key points to remember when selling underlayments.

Look for trade-up opportunities. Underlayments offered on a good/better/best platform provide retailers with twice the opportunity to upsell—once, when the consumer decides whether to purchase underlayment along with her floor, and again when she has the option to choose between underlayments of different qualities.

As Jeff Bonkiewicz, channel manager, Laticrete, explained, “Underlayment products are valuable accessories that help increase margins and generate higher ticket sales for retailers. Upselling from an entry-level product to a specialty underlayment is achievable through comprehensive product education. This focus on education starts with the dealer outlining the   benefits of using an underlayment before installing materials.”

Focus on the benefits, not features. Once a consumer learns about the characteristics of underlayment, the product will no longer seem like an accessory but rather a necessity. As most underlayment suppliers point out, qualities such as sound absorption and comfort sound great to a consumer who is looking to install new flooring.

“Sound absorption is extremely important in multi-story, single-family homes, condos, apartments and multi-story office and hotel buildings,” explained Jim Wink, vice president of sales and marketing, Foam Products. “In terms of comfort for hard surface flooring, a high-quality foam underlayment can soften the feel of walking on the floor, especially with thinner laminates and vinyl plank flooring.”

Underlayments complete the installation. When a consumer enters a store looking for flooring, she is typically only interested in the style and color of her new floors. Suppliers believe it is crucial for the retailer to slow her down and force her to think through the function of her entire application, including hidden problems that can occur within the life of the flooring materials.

“For example, when it comes to floating floors, most consumers and contractors know they need an underlayment,” said Deanna Summers, marketing coordinator, MP Global. “Problem solved, right? The trick is to understand the full installation and match the right performing underlayment that will be best suited for the entire makeup of the floor, not just the floor covering materials.”

In addition to its other characteristics, underlayments also  reduce the amount of floor preparation required for a successful installation. As Wade Verble, vice president of underlayment, DriTac, noted, “The associated labor savings will typically offset the cost of the underlayment and labor needed to install the pad.”

Padding extends the life of the floor. Since underlayment can protect installations in various ways—such as limiting water intrusion, damages and cracking as well as aiding in sound reduction—this accessory helps to present a better overall surface to adhere finished flooring. “Adding an appropriate underlayment could mean the difference between a three- to five-year installation and a durable lifetime installation,” Laticrete’s Bonkiewicz said.

Providing consumers with the proper underlayment can also create consumer trust. As DriTac’s Verble explains, “Peak performance for any flooring system is always optimal and underlayment is critical to achieving the highest level of results and customer satisfaction.”

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MP Global event celebrates 20th anniversary

August 28/September 4: Volume 32, Issue 6

Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 12.03.29 PMNorfolk, Neb.—MP Global recently commemorated 20 years in the business by holding a special “employee appreciation” event to mark the milestone. The event included a golf outing, special recognition of longtime workers as well as food, fun and activities.

Beyond the fun-filled festivities, the event provided an opportunity to reflect on the company’s storied history. When Al Collison, founder and president of MP Global Products, inserted the key for the first time into the large vacant building that is now the headquarters, he stopped before pushing the door open and asked himself out loud, “Well, I wonder how this one will turn out?” Having just sold his shares to his cellulose insulation company he ran for many years, he felt there was more he could be a part of and build.

Fast forward 20 years, MP Global Products has stood the test of time, positioning itself as a leader in the underlayment industry. Starting out, MP Global made carpet padding, which Collison admits now that floating floor underlayments were the farthest product from his mind. “QuietWalk was discovered almost by accident,” he recalled. By his account, a former colleague said he was onto something with this thin, dense pad with a vapor barrier on it that could be installed under laminate, a product category that was soaring in popularity in the late ’90s. Once the new product was tested and developed further, it quickly became the underlayment many installers preferred under floating floors.

“What makes QuietWalk so different than other underlayment products out there is it’s made from 94% recycled textile content,” said Jack Boesch, MP Global’s marketing director. “We like to say we were green long before being green was popular.”

Because of the natural fiber makeup of the product in the patented manufacturing process, MP Global’s fiber-based underlayments inherently have zero off gassing and are third-party certified for clean indoor air quality, passing all California requirements for clean air.

Legacy of innovation
Since the early days, MP Global has evolved products into what flooring trends have demanded. The company recently launched QuietWalk Plus, which—unlike like its older sibling, QuietWalk—can be used under floating applications. QuietWalk Plus also offers one universal underlayment that can be floated, glued or nailed down. The secret is in the vapor barrier, which is engineered to accept glue or a mechanical fastener. “So many things have changed in recent years with flooring innovations, we realize we need to adjust to those changes as well,” Collison said.

Having many new innovative products to offer, MP Global is positioned to be the one-source underlayment provider for all dealers’ or distributor needs. “Because of our vast assortment of underlayments for virtually any type of flooring on the market, we can mix one truck with all the different products,” Boesch added.

More importantly, MP Global cited the teamwork employees exhibit day in and day out as its greatest asset in the last 20 years. “We are all in this together,” Collison said. “It is pretty special that we have enjoyed success, and it could not have happened without every member of our team.”

 

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Underlayments: Educating the customer

As any successful retailer or salesperson knows, selling flooring is never only about just selling, well, flooring. There’s more to it than that. As far as underlayment executives are concerned, the buying process for today’s consumer is not the total experience it should be without what lies underneath. There is an art to adding value and underlayments can provide a critical revenue stream to dealers currently operating businesses in such a difficult economic climate. Continue reading Underlayments: Educating the customer