Ring Up More Exterior Sales
In memory of this magazine’s creator Chris Mugler, we occasionally like to do an article based on his founding premise: to help you sell more paint. Since paint suppliers have a pretty strong interest in seeing you succeed, we asked them for a few hints on how you can increase your exterior paint sales. Even a few percentage points can make the difference; it might help you afford that second beach house—or give your staff a raise!
Since painting exterior has some greater challenges than applying an indoor product, there are a few specific selling and stocking strategies that may help you increase your exterior trade. If you try out some of the ideas in this article, let us know the results!
“A good strategy to increase exterior paint sales is to encourage customers to trade up to more premium exterior products,” said John Trenta, PPG Senior Marketing Manager, Independent Paint Dealers. “This increases your selling price per gallon and improves your customer’s painting experience by providing better performing product, with benefits that will pay off for years to come.” If your customer’s paint is still standing while their neighbor’s product has turned to chalk and dust, that chalk and dust crowd might just come to you for advice and product.
Remind your customers that in exterior painting, premium is even more important than it is indoors, Trenta continued. “Exterior painting is often more time-consuming and difficult than interior, so ensure you’re up-selling customers with a product that is guaranteed to last, protects their investment against the elements, and improves the curb appeal of their home,” he suggests.
Yes, it does cost more, and yes, it’s with good reason. “It’s easy for customers to be blinded by the upfront work and slightly higher price point vs. interior paint, but it’s important to continue to drive home the message that a small investment upfront can pay dividends for their home,” he said.
PPG has very recently ground some improvements into to its exterior lines, Trenta added. “In April 2017, PPG relaunched several exterior premium products that leverage advanced resin technology to provide long-lasting protection for both residential and commercial properties,” he said. “This new resin platform, found in PPG Paints™ Sun Proof®, Fortis® 350, PPG Pittsburgh Paints® Weather King®, and PPG Porter Paints® Acri-Sheild® exterior paint products, provides excellent adhesion on a variety of exterior surfaces, great dirt resistance to keep surfaces clean, and flash rust resistance to ensure rust stains won’t bleed through the paint.”
Try These Five
Eugene Andreassi, Benjamin Moore VP Retail Services, has five ideas for reaching practically any audience, any possible way. The broader your reach, the more you’ll sell.
Chase Ladders: When it comes to increasing exterior paint sales, there is nothing more beneficial than developing and enhancing relationships with professional painting contractors. Pro painters buy significantly more exterior paint than consumers. By prospecting and promoting yourself and your business outside the store with this most important customer, your efforts will be rewarded and your goal achieved.
Contractor Events: In-store events catering to pro painters are a great way to build loyalty and introduce new products to our biggest consumers of exterior paint. If a full-scale pro show is not in your planning, schedule several painter breakfast events.
Local Advertising: Plan to leverage your advertising budget during the times of the year when consumers are most attuned to exterior painting—Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day. The competition is doing this like clockwork, and you want to be noticed as well. This is the ideal time to reach out to the customers who already know you and like your presence in digital media.
DIY Paint Clinics: Weekends after the morning rush are ideal times to create some theatre and generate excitement in your store with a hands-on paint clinic. These events create a buzz and awareness that cascades from your attendees to their social circles. Make sure you plan to be fully staffed on these days.
In-Store Promotion: Take full advantage of end caps and other merchandising tools provided by your vendors to align your in-store product marketing with their national marketing campaigns.
Know Thyself and Thy Product
At Farrow and Ball, a premium paint-maker from England, Lead Decorator Wayne Armstrong suggests focus on knowing what you’re talking about. Know your products, know how they work, know how to apply them, and know about the tools to help your customers know what they need to. When everyone is in the know, there’s “know” turning back!
Know the product: Customers may come into store knowing what look they are going for or wht color they would like, but they strongly rely on the dealer as the expert to guide them in the right direction. It’s important to know which finish works best for softwood window frames versus metal surfaces, etc. For example, Farrow & Ball offer a range of exterior finishes to suit different exterior situations, from a Full Gloss finish for a smart front door to Exterior Eggshell to update a tired looking outbuilding. The more confident and knowledgeable you can be about the product, the better you can sell it.
Know the application: Though the application of exterior paint is not too different than interior, it can seem overwhelming to the unfamiliar shopper. By providing customers with as much information as possible about the application process of exterior paints, the project will seem less intimidating.
Know about additional tools: Have all the corresponding exterior paint tools available for purchase. It’s much easier for customers, and they will recognize you as the one-stop-shop for exterior painting. Make sure you offer standard and angled brushes, roller systems, plus masonry brushes just in case.
Margins of Less Difficulty
Emmett Fiore, Senior Color Strategis at Fine Paints of Europe suggests you don’t have to sell more so much as make higher margins selling the same. Sell 10 gallons of apartment white and make $10, or sell ten of a premium and make $75. We just made those numbers up, but you get the point. “Don’t worry about increasing your sales, rather concentrate on the profit margins. Fine Paints products will easily do this for your business. Do the math,” he suggests.
Only the Rich Can Afford Cheap Paint
Dan Cohen, Executive Vice President at ICP-Construction, notes that your success in selling exterior rests on a combo of product knowledge and product itself. To sell premium paint, you’ll have to know about it as well as help customers understand its benefits.
“The key to success in exterior sales is selling your customers on longevity and prevention of failure,” he said. “The number one reason for exterior paint failure is moisture.” Once you get that into your customer’s head, you can sell them on keeping dry and explain what products can help. “For example,” said Cohen, “California Paints’ Trouble Shooter Primers—oil and acrylic—have up to 35% better vapor transmission than average exterior primers.”
Cohen reminded us that an independent dealer’s success rests on knowledge and expertise. Share some of that, and you’ll have increased profits along with increased happiness from helping people to a great finish. “Show them boards of failing product—show what moisture-blistered paint looks like so that consumers know if that is their issue,” he suggests. “Create an endcap with featured primers, paints, caulking, siding wedges, housecleaners, sandpaper, scrapers, etc. and articles on how to correct common problems.”
Finally, remind them that in the long run, paying extra for great paint won’t add nearly as much to the cost of the job as having to start over five years sooner than they want to. “Promote the fact that paint is usually only 15% of the cost of an exterior job and that it is far less expensive if they use the highest quality primers and paints to extend the life of the job. Promote the fact that vinyl and aluminum siding can be painted and does not have to be replaced when it looks tired. California Paints’ 100% acrylic paints are designed for these surfaces.”
Outside and Awesome
We asked our contributors to highlight an exterior product, and each one picked something that’s distinctive to their brand. Please turn the page and take a look at the quick product-knowledge seminar that follows!
Get This On Board
Storm System Deck Resurfacer from ICP Construction is a 100% acrylic flat solid finish designed for use on decks that have cracked boards or that have been exposed to elements for a significant period. This high build system product is designed to bridge small cracks and to prolong the life of decks that would normally not hold conventional stain products. Storm System Deck Resurfacer exceeds ADA standards for slip coefficient. icp-construction.com; stormsystem.com
Time for Timeless
PPG Paints™ Timeless® super premium exterior paint saves professionals time and delivers a long lasting finish. Made with 100% acrylic resin, it creates a high film build and a durable bond in one coat. (Some colors, drastic color changes or porous surfaces may require more than one coat to achieve a uniform finish.)
Timeless retains its gloss and color even after extreme, repeated cycles of accelerated weathering, so pros can achieve a freshly painted look that lasts for years. The product offers outstanding adhesion and dirt resistance to prevent paint from cracking, peeling, or flaking. Dirt and grime can simply be rinsed away with water. Timeless’ flash rust resistance properties help to ensure that rust stains from items such as nail heads will not bleed through the paint. VOC levels, less than 50 g/L, are VOC compliant in all regulated areas.
Eggshell Won’t Crack
Farrow & Ball Exterior Eggshell is used for softwood, hardwood and all metal surfaces including window frames, cladding, guttering, garden furniture, railings, and gates. It is a durable and flexible water based paint with a high resistance to flaking and peeling for up to six years. When tested for accelerated weathering and long term exposure it gave excellent results. All of Farrow & Ball’s exterior paints contain UV resistant pigments to ensure color retention throughout their lifespan.
Farrow & Ball Exterior Eggshell is classified as matte on the U.S. sheen spectrum. It has a 20% sheen level, allowing customers to continue the distinctive Farrow & Ball look outside their homes. farrow-ball.com
Get Hep to EHP
“It might as well be new,” says Emmett Fiore about this little-known product from Fine Paints of Europe. “Eurolux Housepaint is a 100% acrylic, satin finish that’s been flying below the radar for some time. Sales of this product are increasing every year. It is easy to use and spec out—I love this product! It exceeds all expectations on exterior. ‘EHP’ as we call it, is definitely worth getting to know.”
Fine Paints’ Eurolux is described by the company as a state-of-the-art, water-thinnable acrylic formulation in a classic satin finish. It combines the advantages of both modern acrylic and traditional oil formulations when used in combination with FPE Oil or ECO Primer/Undercoat.
Open the Door for Moore
A door is a special part of the house; often the place where even your most color-conservative customers will try to express their individuality. If they’re going to go bold on their home’s exterior, this is the place! Benjamin Moore’s Aura Grand Entrance brings rich, vivid color and exceptional durability to doors and trim. Inspired by fine European door and trim enamel, Aura Grand Entrance cures to a lustrous finish for a look of elegance and luxury.
Specially formulated to retain color integrity and gloss, this enamel is easy to apply, has excellent hide, and is available in unlimited colors. It is a urethane modified waterborne alkyd, available in satin and high gloss. It is only sold in quarts. If someone needs a gallon for their front door…hats off!