The third part of this three-part article compares stock floor mats with custom options.

As with any product, trends in matting can vary by region. In general, however, customized options are popular across industries, from professional and residential buildings to auto body shops and hospitals. The most receptive customers are typically those who have heavy traffic and are concerned with image and branding, such as retail shops, schools and universities, and hotels and other hospitality businesses.

“Requests are becoming more popular as companies are attempting to increase their own brand recognition and workplace design has become more important than in the past,” says Chris Shalhoub, general manager of Holland Cleaning Solutions in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Customized mats represent about 10 percent of Holland’s total matting business. “It can help the company stand out and leave a strong impression with its building users.”

Although most companies could use customized mats to improve brand consistency and recognition, there are some market segments that may be less likely to make the investment, says Ghen.

“Its really tough for an office to customize, because it has so many companies in the building,” he says. “Hospitals seem to be living on extremely limited budgets, so they usually have inexpensive mats due to budget constraints.”

Despite these limitations, customized mats represent 35 percent of Scoles’ overall matting purchases.
It’s important to read a customer’s willingness to hear about custom options. If a client is resistant, it may be better to focus on solving its matting needs with stock options.

There are, however, some tricks of the trade that can help sales reps convert hesitant customers into custom believers. First, focus on results. Shalhoub says it’s smart to recommend customized versions of more popular mat types, like wiper and scraper, which customers already know and need. Also, encourage customers to use simple, straight-forward graphics, which are easier to reproduce and, therefore, will better please the customer.

Another great tip is to present a custom option alongside stock mats. Seeing the nicer customized mat may encourage a customer who hadn’t previously considered the option to take the leap. Conversely, offering up the stock version to a customer who shows interest in customized may boost their confidence that the rep isn’t just trying to push the custom option to make more money.

Most importantly, customized matting should always be part of the distributor sales reps’ presentations. It’s wise to mention custom matting year-round, but it’s especially important during the late summer months when all mat sales are on the rise.

“Most of the time, matting isn’t top of mind for distributor sales reps,” says Ghen. “The usual focus is on bigger-ticket chemicals, paper and equipment products. If they place a focus on selling matting, they will see an uptick in the category. And once they realize there is an opportunity with matting, they have no issue identifying the opportunity to customize.”

Becky Mollenkamp is a freelance writer based in St. Louis.

previous page of this article:
Give Customers Brand Exposure With Custom Matting