Selling More Decorative Residential Hardware

The key to selling decorative hardware is offering your customer something that can't be purchased from the local hardware or home improvement store.


Basic door lock hardware is available from a number of sources. Customers can buy standard residential style and finish doorknobs online, from a hardware store, from a big-box store or from a locksmith. Notice how 'locksmith' came almost as an afterthought? As a directly involved...


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Basic door lock hardware is available from a number of sources. Customers can buy standard residential style and finish doorknobs online, from a hardware store, from a big-box store or from a locksmith.

Notice how 'locksmith' came almost as an afterthought?

As a directly involved participant of this industry for over 35 years, that doesn't make me happy. I didn't mention it to make anyone happy. I mentioned it because it is a fact of life. It's a reality you must be aware of, and you can do something about it!

You have plenty of competition for the almighty sale of the common everyday doorknob. Unless you know a secret that the rest of us don't, you'll never win the sale by battling the big-box store on pricing. So don't.

The potential for increasing sales is by offering the customer something different. Decorative hardware sales exist in the other markets, but the huge chain stores can't customize their selection to meet the needs of the customer as well as most local locksmiths can. A great variety of Grade 2 and Grade 3 hardware is available to you and a lot of it is something your customer will never see or hear of unless you expose them to it.

By offering your customers a product selection they don't see at the other sources, you'll be perceived as specializing in the hard-to-find items. This, combined with some great customer service is one way to win more business.

What sells well in one neighborhood may not move at all in another. Some finishes look great but don't hold up. Most people like to have complimentary or matching hardware throughout the home.

In some cases selling new decorative hardware for the front door can bring additional sales for other doors in the house.

As far as decorative residential hardware goes, you've got a lot of choices. Most lock manufacturers have a residential line. The scope of choices will vary. Some lock manufacturers specialize in decorative hardware.

Following are four areas to think of when considering ways to increase residential decorative hardware sales. What works for you will depend on your specific customer base. It may be a combination of some of these ideas and some of your own.

SELECTION

Brands — Try selecting some variation of brands. There is an advantage with offering well-known name brands, but don't overlook the lesser-known names. If you're not sure of the quality of a brand you are unfamiliar with, ask your fellow locksmiths. You can order a sample to inspect it. Show the hardware to your co-workers to get their input.

Styles - There are some very attractive knob, lever and escutcheon designs. Glass and porcelain knobs, knurled and engraved knobs and dozens of lever styles are available. Some escutcheon plates for cylindrical and tubular locks give the appearance of old-style bit locks (skeleton key locks for you youngsters).

Functions — While entry locks are big with the home store crowd, don't overlook passage, privacy and dummy functions. As mentioned earlier, some people will see a new style they really like and want to change out the hardware on other doors in the room or all the doors in their home. Don't be afraid to mention this possibility when you're discussing hardware with the prospective customer. Remember: Sales come directly from selling.

Finishes — From flat black to bright chrome and everything in between, there are a wide choice of finishes. Consider the area your customer lives in (most bright brass hardware doesn't hold up too well near the ocean), and the type of finish. 'Lifetime' finishes are available at a higher price from some manufacturers. Antique finishes in nickel, copper and brass are popular, but not all manufacturers offer all functions in all finishes. Bright polished finishes look great when they're clean, but some tend to show fingerprints easily. Satin finishes generally hold up well, but aren't quite as decorative. Specialty knobs in plastic, glass or porcelain will still have trim rings or back plates that will be in standard finishes.

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