The great plumbing marketing opportunity

Oct. 4, 2013
If it’s broke, don’t fix it. Offer people upgrades. This is the great plumbing marketing opportunity and 99.9% of plumbing contractors miss it.

If it’s broke, don’t fix it. Offer people upgrades. This is the great plumbing marketing opportunity and 99.9% of plumbing contractors miss it.

The big boxes get it. They feature rows of designer faucets. Different designs. Different finishes.  Different price points. Ditto for the porcelain. 

What do you offer? How do you communicate it? Do you even communicate it in the first place?  For example, if your plumber encounters a bad stem, does he offer a replacement/upgrade option? Or, does he simply present the repair price?

If your plumber does present an upgrade option, what does he have to show the homeowner?  Anything?  Is he expected to verbally describe the faucet?

Because plumbers make little or no effort to present options, homeowners who want to upgrade their kitchens or baths are driven to the big boxes. They buy products, which are often inferior to those available to you, and then call you to install them. 

Once the consumer heads to the big box store, you lose. Your guy in his truck can’t compete.  Your only hope, and your great opportunity, is to present consumers with options before they think about heading to the big box. Moreover, the consumer won’t have to find someone to install the faucet for her. You are already there!

The optimum time to present upgrade options is the moment the homeowner faces a repair.    Instead of spending money to own the same faucet, a homeowner can apply the cost of the repair to an upgraded faucet, effectively discounting the price.

To exploit the upgrade opportunity, you must offer upgrades at the time of a repair, have the means to effectively present them, and change to a retail mindset. With a retail mindset, you recognize that kitchen and bath brass and porcelain not only serve a utilitarian function, they are home décor. 

Here’s how to sell home décor plumbing:

·      Train: If you expect your plumbers to offer upgrade options, you must train them how to offer the options, how to present them, how to look for opportunities, product features and benefits, closing techniques, and so on. Separate the sales process training from the product training. Once the process has been taught and absorbed, it should be reinforced in your weekly service meeting. Product training should be incorporated into your service meeting, focusing on one product each week.

·      Create literature: Instead of using manufacturer literature, use manufacturer images to create your own literature. Leave out the manufacturer brand name. Instead, focus on your brand name. Don’t skimp. Print the literature on quality paper that presents the images well. Remember, it’s not plumbing, it’s plumbing décor. If your plumber doesn’t make the sale, leave the literature to continue to sell.

·      Use tablets: Another option is to put all of the literature on tablets. Tablets offer the advantage of beautiful displays, video and 3D images. However, you cannot leave them behind.

·      Add samples: Over time, outfit your trucks with samples. If the manufacturer or your supplier won’t provide them, make the investment yourself. Make sure you wrap them in towels or soft cloths to protect them and preserve the finish. You won’t need samples of everything you sell, but you should have samples of popular/desirable items. You also want the samples to span your variety of finishes.

·      Post 30 to 60 second videos: Make short videos focusing on one product per video.  Show the faucet next to a sink, stressing its beauty first, and functionality second.  Upload the videos to social media, your YouTube channel, and website.

·      Create a social media focus: Each week stress a particular product in social media.  Make sure it’s a product you have already reviewed in a service meeting. Create a special promotion and spiff for your plumbers for the featured product. In addition to social media, your dispatcher can mention the special.

·      Update your website: Your special offer for the week should be prominently featured on your website, along with a video, images and other information. Once the promotion ends, move the video, image, and other information to an online product catalog.  Because search engines reward fresh content, this will also improve your search engine ranking.

Do not expect instant results. This is a process. It likely requires a change in your culture.  However, over time, you will see an increase in product sales. This will boost your top line and your bottom line.

Matt Michel is CEO of the Service Roundtable, contracting’s largest business alliance.  Check out the free downloads at  For more information, call  877/262-3341 and ask for a Success Consultant.

About the Author

Matt Michel | Chief Executive Officer

Matt Michel is CEO of the Service Roundtable ( The Service Roundtable is an organization founded to help contractors improve their sales, marketing, operations, and profitability. The Service Nation Alliance is a part of this overall organization.

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