Selling Accessory Items

Add-ons and doo-dads can make you a little money. Here are tips on presenting a smart selection. February 11, 2009

With a new customer, I spend virtually all my time getting the layout, style and finish perfected. When it comes to accessories such as cutlery trays, spice racks, etc. I usually hand them a catalog and let them decide. This doesn't seem exactly optimal, and I find these types of items pretty boring to contemplate.

So how do you approach the selling of accessories? How much time do you spend with the customer on it? How much is defined before you start of the kitchen?

Forum Responses
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor C:
Like you, I spend a lot of time with a customer going over the details, and I will give them a catalog and let them decide on hardware and accessories, just flat out tell them that I do not get involved in these areas for the simple fact that it is purely personal taste, and they do not need my help. Customers do, however, value your input as far as what will work. I am working on one now where there was five or six finish changes, and many issues with what space will work for what.

I just go with the flow until the design is nailed down, then the real business begins. It has been my feeling that if you push customers along, problems will arise when they are rushed, but walk them through, and they get what they want, happy and they do tell friends. It might take longer to go to the floor, but far less changes.

From contributor M:
I used to just try to whip through the accessories also, or just give them a catalog. I have changed my way of thinking on this. I know that you should spend an hour going over the possibilities with them. For one, if you mark it up correctly, its pretty much a no risk profit item. Second I have found that if they get what they want, and some do like the gadgets, you will get referrals from the job. You will find some who dont/wont spend the money on interior items, but 1 out of 5 will just amaze you in what they will spend.

From contributor B:

My opinion of most accessory items is that they are overpriced junk. I realize that some could turn them into a profit center but I can't sell something I wouldn't be willing to guarantee. I usually open the catalog and let them look. If after viewing the suggested retail price they still want it then I am willing to order. I believe their money is better spent on what I make. At least at that point I know it will last.

From contributor M:
I limit them to proven accessories that give me no callback problems. For instance there are only two trash units that I will use. If they pick something I think has a chance of causing a call back, I just say no! I tell people a couple times a month that if they choose to do something that I do not feel will hold up or look good for many years that I will choose to not do their project.

From contributor P:
I had the same problem so I took the time to build my own catalog using photos of only the accessories that I was willing to use. The client sees "my" catalog, not a hardware company's book with hundreds of confusing items. I also have pages with shop-produced items too.

I scanned from the catalog or found the pictures on the web. Each page has a picture of the item, the name I chose to use for it, my logo, and all specs I need to design a cabinet to fit the item. I have about 40 items in a professional looking binder that I show my client. Selections go quickly and smoothly. This binder has made me tons of money, and my Rev-a-Shelf rep told me I was the biggest buyer in my state - so it works!