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March 2013 


Is the Industry Moving from Product-Focused to Knowledge-Based?


Is the lighting industry becoming less product-focused and more knowledge-based? That's what Tim Stumm believes.


"Not so long ago, people used to come to a lighting store to see what was new in lighting and they didn't have a smart phone in their hand," says Stumm, who is vice president of marketing and showroom operations for Dallas-based ALA-member retailer Meletio Lighting & Electrical Supply. "When they walked into your store, you were able to isolate them because they weren't exposed to everything else out there. So you sold what you had - you sold your products."


However, today it's a different story, Stumm believes; now you have to be well-educated and well-prepared for customers' many questions about lighting.


"You have to know what wattage it is, what Kelvin color it is, how many finishes a product is available in, etc. - because customers are asking these questions," Stumm says. "They've done research online, so they come in with questions. This raises the bar for your store's salespeople. If you are not knowledge-based, you can lose a sale very quickly."


Due to the vast amount of information that's available on the internet today, consumers are also educating themselves on the elements of lighting design before walking into a showroom.


"Now they're talking about creating layers of light, they're adding recessed cans and sconces and pendants in addition to the chandelier," Stumm says. "They're talking about task lighting, ambient lighting, LED lighting, energy-efficient lighting, etc. So it's gotten more complex, and that's why it's become more knowledge-based."


With the help of Google, consumers are arming themselves with information before they ever walk into a showroom. This raises the bar on what's expected of your salespeople.


"Your salespeople and employees have to know more now than they've ever known," Stumm says. "The more you know and the better you educate yourself, the easier it is to educate a customer and close a sale. You either know and you get the sale; or you don't know and you don't get the sale."


Meletio estimates that nearly 80 percent of the showroom's sales are closed due to the rapport between the customer and the salesperson.


"Most of our sales employees are ALA Lighting Specialists and they've been with us for decades," Stumm says. "So they will take the time to educate their customers. Once a customer feels that they are educated enough, they will buy. If you really educate your client, it's very easy to sell to them."


Upcoming Live Webinars


How to Read Blueprints 

Date: Thursday, March 21, 2013 

Time: 11 a.m. Central Time 

Instructor: Joy Rey-Barreau 

Credit: 1 CLC hour 

Member Cost: $39 per participant 

Sponsor: Lutron Electronics Co.

Residential Lighting for Senior Living 

Date: Thursday, April 11, 2013 

Time: 11 a.m. Central Time 

Instructors: Terry McGowan, FIES, LC, ALA Director of Engineering and Technology 

Eunice Noell-Waggoner, President, Center of Design for an Aging Society 

Credit: 1 CLC hour 

Member Cost: $39 per participant 





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