Knowing the customer and their specific cleaning challenges is the first step in formulating a successful sales strategy, say manufacturers.

“Make sure you match the vacuum to your customer’s application,” advises Tollefson-Frampton. “For example, if you have a lot of stairs, a cordless backpack vacuum will allow you to cover more ground faster without the trip-and-fall hazard of cords.”

Safety is a top concern for customers and should be acknowledged when promoting floor care equipment. At TTI Floor Care North America, safety — along with labor savings and productivity — is a focal point for promoting cordless and battery-operated equipment in general.

“Industries talk a lot about trip-and-fall hazards,” says Taylor Moody, director of sales, commercial and dealer, TTI Floor Care North America. “This is a business expense that runs a couple of billion dollars a year. You can’t have 100 feet of extension cords in staircases or lobbies without workers’ compensation claims and customer risk. Cordless vacuums are also being used for less time, which means less repetitive stress injury reports. In turn, the worker satisfaction goes up.”

Indeed, reference to ergonomics and its impact on employee safety and satisfaction is an important talking point for distributors when selling vacuum equipment.

“Discuss lightweight, ergonomically-designed equipment that can improve comfort and provide greater ease of use, thereby increasing productivity,” says Tollefson-Frampton. “For instance, if frontline workers are suffering from wrist strain, a canister vacuum might be a good solution because it weighs less than an upright and there is less weight on the handle.”

Also, with the increase in cleaning frequencies, now is the time to talk about the advantages of vacuums that operate at low decibels. As building occupants return to the office, end users will be looking for equipment that functions at the industry standard of less than 70 decibels, so it can be used around tenants.

Finally, manufacturers advise distributors to keep abreast of innovative technologies that give them an edge over the competition and reinforce their image as a progressive company.

According to Shull, Karcher is developing autonomous vacuums that will address labor shortages. The machine is not meant to replace humans, but rather free up skilled labor to work on other tasks. The industry is also working on new technologies to advance filtration systems that can grasp and kill bacteria, says Shull.

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