How to maximize the value of accessories


Client Value: Many of you have done work for clients who already have had their closets improved with a system. Often, they say, “Make sure you include….”. It can be a valet rod, a tie or belt rack, a jewelry insert — the point is they like it and want it.

The new items that are being improved or developed for our industry are certainly exciting, and our job is to be the conduit to our clients. An accessory, from our client’s perspective, can serve as either Form or Function and often both.
“Accessories make the outfit.” For a man, this can be shoes, a belt, or maybe a tie. For a woman, this can be jewelry, a purse, or a scarf. The point is that those items can separate the wow from the mundane. Think of some of the things that can be done to your designs, from the handles or knobs to the glass inserts in a door, maybe crown moulding, or a two-tone system. All these not only make the space uniquely theirs but can increase the wow factor.

Our industry has an annual trade convention called the Closets Expo, which was just held in April. In one of those sessions, titled “Trends in Modern Design” by Christina Relyea, Jesse Collins, and Gwen Petter, they used a descriptive term that I really like for its innovative clarity, which is “resimercial”. This refers to the client’s desire to create a space that makes them feel like they are walking into their own retail store every day. It allows them to make an individual statement with their space. The perfect way to do this is by accessorizing it!

Designer & business value
Think about and review the details of your last 10 jobs. What was the additional sale for accessories? My guess is that you will be surprised. Imagine if you had added a valet rod for $75 – just one accessory. Over the course of a year, this really adds up.

In my previous articles and in-person presentations, I have used, as an example of accessory value, an average sale of $5,000 and an average size company of $1 million. This gives us, on average, 200 jobs a year, so if you think about just one valet rod for every job, that adds $15,000 in sales for the year! Now, what if you added a few more improvements for your clients? What if you added just $500 per job, which would bring that average up to 10 percent per average sale? If you multiply that by your 200 jobs, this adds $100,000 to your bottom line.

So, looking at the example above, just by adding some accessories, you can increase your annual revenue by $100,000, but there’s more value than just the additional revenue. The best part is that if your average sale is $5,000, that is like getting another 20 jobs. If your Close Ratio is 40 percent, this means that you did not go on 50 more design appointments, you did not have to draw 50 more designs, you did not have to create 20 more job packs, your installer did not have to drive to 20 more jobs, your scheduler did not have to navigate adding 20 more installations …you get my point. The value of an accessory reverberates throughout your entire company.

If you think that you don’t want to burden your client, or you don’t want to feel like a used car salesman, or you don’t want to …etc., etc. … you are mistaken. Your job is to solve problems, and the way you do that is not only by providing smart designs but also by making the space both functional and beautiful.

Be open with your client about the accessories. Share with them the benefits, along with the price, and it will be up to them to determine the value of those accessories. I believe by educating your clients, you will be more successful, your client will have less buyer’s remorse, and your average sales price will increase.

What do you consider an accessory? Is it just the extra hardware, like a valet rod, or do you also think of doors and drawers, maybe crown? Is a color an upgrade?

I would suggest you start a list of what you consider an accessory. Classify that list by type. Some examples could be:
    • Handles & Knobs
    • Tie, Belt, Valet, & Hang Rods
    • Doors, Drawers, & Baskets
           Fronts like Shaker or raised panel
           Box upgrades like dovetail
           Inserts, like jewelry & dividers
    • Colors: Solid & Textured
    • Crown & Base Moulding
    • Lighting
    • Cool stuff, like the pull-out mirrors and ironing boards, pants racks, safes, or hook strips, etc.

Then list or show the options that are available to you and then which ones you want to offer to your clients.
When you look at this list, you know how all the above improves the system. Don’t be afraid to share ideas to talk about how these items will enhance their system or make the space more beautiful.

My point is this: If you are not educating your client and providing the many accessories or add-ons that are available to us all, you are doing both your client and yourself a disservice, and certainly your company a disservice.
The easiest way to sell more accessories is to offer them to your clients. Let them decide.

Tim Coleman is division manager of SCE Unlimited Chicago, a div. of IBP.


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About the author
Tim Coleman

Tim Coleman is branch manager of SCE Unlimited Chicago, a div. of IBP. Coleman founded his closet organization company in 1988 and ran it successfully for nearly 30 years. In October 2020, he took the helm at SCE Unlimited, which offers wire and wood organization systems, hardware and accessories.