Stop Thinking You Sell Kitchens. What You Really Sell is Happiness
There have been voluminous works published on the changing nature of consumer behavior. Today’s kitchen and bath showroom clients are not renovating their kitchens bathrooms or building new homes to impress neighbors. The primary emotional driver of the decision to redo a kitchen, bath or build a new one is to become happier. Happiness is not the byproduct of what someone buys. Instead, it stems from experiences or what people do, and turning a kitchen into the epicenter of the home or a primary bath into a personal retreat is an attempt to live a happier and more rewarding lifestyle.
Cornell professor Brian Wansink has conducted numerous experiments that illustrate if you can change a consumer’s perception of a product, you can change the consumer’s behavior, e.g. they will purchase more expensive products and increase the happiness quotient from the purchase. In a recent experiment, Wansink invited two groups of diners to eat a meal. Group 1 was given a menu that listed ingredients such as fish, green beans, scalloped potatoes, salad and chocolate cake and served the meal at institutional-type tables on paper plates. When asked to rate the quality of the meal on a scale of 1-10, the diners in group one rated the experience on average at 3.4 points.
Group 2 ate at tables set with linens, candles and floral centerpieces. The lighting was dimmed and the menu provided detailed descriptions of each menu item. The service involved real plates with restaurant-styled tables and stemware. Group two received the exact same meal as group one. However, the average rating from group 2 was 8.0 points on a 10-point scale.
The difference had everything to do with perception. And therein lies the lesson for kitchen and bath showrooms. If you believe and act that your role is to sell cabinets, countertops and backsplashes, you are most likely to receive the same rating as group 1 gave their meal served on paper plates. However, if you tell compelling stories to clients that your role is to make their lives easier, more enjoyable and happier by specifying the perfect products that will benefit their lifestyle daily, you are positioning your showroom to receive ratings provided by group 2 or even higher.
Today’s consumers with resources to purchase new kitchens and baths from your showroom don’t focus on status and prestige. They want compelling stories and experiences.