Month: June 2012

“Product Power: how you show and what you know”

The Vent-A-Hood display at Ferguson in Fort Worth. Pictured L to R: Karsen Braccolino, Tammy Bartlett, Christie Montis and Melissa Huff.

A year ago, the Ferguson Bath, Kitchen and Lighting Gallery in Forth Worth made room on its showroom floor for a triple display from Vent-A-Hood.  The display included several distinctive range hoods with the signature Vent-A-Hood logo and won instant attention. However, it’s one thing to show a product. It’s another thing to know a product.  So the consultants at Ferguson did what any smart sales team would do. They headed for the classroom, otherwise known as Vent-A-Hood Training at the company’s corporate headquarters in Richardson, Texas.“You cannot sell what you do not know,” says Christie Montis, store manager for the Fort Worth location. Since putting up the large display last summer, Montis says the focus has paid off not only in Fort Worth but at Ferguson locations across North Texas. Some 10 Ferguson consultants from stores in Fort Worth, Grapevine, McKinney and Dallas have attended Vent-A-Hood Training in the last year, and sales of Vent-A-Hood products are up 60% across their locations.“Training has been so beneficial to get comfortable selling and talking about it,” Montis explains, “because ventilation can be so tricky. It’s technical, not just pretty.” Having attended the class herself, Montis says the information has become invaluable not only to sell the Vent-A-Hood line, but also to understand the principles of cooking ventilation in general. That has translated directly to the showroom floor and the ability to inform homeowners, builders and installers about cooking ventilation in different ways that they can understand.“You’re still doing the, ‘Hey, what about your ventilation?’ speech,” says Montis for her team. “That’s mainly for homeowners. The builders and designers, however, are approaching it at a higher level.” From the basics of ventilation for a first-time buyer, to the complex engineering and design for the veteran kitchen designer, Ferguson now speaks the language. The triple display in Fort Worth creates the perfect stage to offer a show-and-tell demonstration at the same time. After the unit was installed, the store hosted an event for designers followed by a Powerpoint presentation on the product line.  With an array of canopies, operational lights, and functional blowers that showcase the whisper-quiet technology, the showroom came alive.  “Having products on display that customers can see, feel and touch makes a difference,” Montis says. That difference has produced serious business. And business is booming with the sound of quiet ventilation.  “I think what most homeowners hone in on is the ability to turn it on and hear what it sounds like,” Montis says. “They’ll still ask ‘Is it on?’”