How sensory marketing increases sales

Before you assume this article doesn’t apply to you, I’ll let you in on this one valuable tidbit: What I’m about to share with you has a direct impact on your sales. And without following through, you are likely missing a huge opportunity to improve your bottom line.

A tremendous amount of effort is put into building your reputation and business to achieve your sales goals. Every investment – from the cost of displays to time spent with clients, to networking, to local trade show events…the list is pages long if you break it down. And yet, all of what you’ve invested can be completely lost without taking the time to consider your showroom from the perspective of your potential client.

Remember when we talked about clutter a few weeks ago? Assuming that your answer is yes (or that you’ve gone back for a quick read now :)) the question I have for you today is: Have you made any changes to de-clutter your showroom? (C’mon, be honest!) If you recall, one thing I asked of you was to evaluate your showroom based on some key questions:

  • What does the atmosphere feel like? 
    Is the temperature comfortable? (Touch) Do you have the music and all the lights on? (Hearing, Sight) Are there any unpleasant odors? (Smell) 
  • Is it clean and orderly?
    Are the surfaces dust and clutter free? Are samples stored neatly inside cabinets, or displayed minimally and pleasing to the eye?
  • How does the lighting make you feel?
    Are all the light bulbs working? Is there a flickering fluorescent? 
  • Are displays up-to-date, well-kept, and inspirational?

4 of 5 senses are immediately engaged when a client walks through the doors of your showroom: Sight, Hearing, Smell and Touch.

Did you know that smell is our most primitive and powerful sense? Our friend and colleague Robb Best, CKD gives us some insight on how to use the senses as a marketing tool in his article “Why Cinnabon is smarter than you and me combined”. You can read more on his blog: mindframewithrobb. And for tactics on sensory marketing, read this article too:

Now, if you haven’t gotten around to doing that evaluation and making those changes, that’s okay–in fact, I’ve got some easy steps you can take to get started.

Making a positive impression

What feelings do you want clients to be struck by when they walk in? Your showroom is an image of your business. It’s a visual representation of who you are and how you work.  A thoughtfully-designed, presentable showroom will give customers a subconscious reassurance that your business is flourishing and dependable.  Think about it—a beautiful, inviting showroom demonstrates to clients that you know your craft. Appropriate levels of tidiness and organization also show professionalism and help your clients feel that you are trustworthy and will be a reliable business partner (not a disorganized, scattered one). In your showroom, and at your desk or client meeting space, you’re not just showing customers how well you can do cabinetry, you have the opportunity to show them why you should be their natural first choice.

Showroom feelings

What feelings come to mind when looking at your showroom? Ideally, it should be words like those above on the left. Your showroom should feature products that are eye-catching, lovely, and most of all: covetable. The whole space should welcome your clients in—it shouldn’t be an impassable maze of cabinets, furniture, and samples.


Your displays can feature more embellishments or more aspirational design than your market norm! Imagine the shiny red luxury car in the front window of a car dealership—it’s not there to keep you from choosing the practical sedan they came in for, it’s there to remind you what’s possible. And by highlighting a sports car that can do 0 to 60 in 3 seconds, the dealership subliminally sends the message that even their less flashy cars have higher performing parts under the hood. That same strategy can apply to your displays as well.  Having at least one display full of grandiose ideas ups your qualifications in the mind of your potential clients and creates a greater memory-experience connection.

The goal of your showroom and displays is to spark inspiration in your client’s mind, daring them to dream and naturally envision your products in their home.  That means your offerings shouldn’t be confusing or overwhelming to potential clients—remember our post on narrowing down choices for consumers so they don’t suffer analysis paralysis? Simply said, less is more. Also, keep in mind, that a sense of ‘home’ can be part of your showroom presence. Fresh flowers, a coffee/tea station and a pie baking in the oven are just a few ideas that will help bring a pleasing ambiance to life. As a side note, I visited a dealer a few months ago who limited their door sample display to a couple rows of popular styles and finishes that were pertinent to what is trending and thought that this was a great idea. Consider paring back your wall of doors, as opposed to showing every single thing or including personal favorites that aren’t as popular with clients.

Walk it out

How do you know if your showroom “says” those positive things to clients? If you read our article a few weeks ago and said, “Hmm, maybe we should make some changes,” but didn’t do it, now’s your chance! There’s no time like the present to do a 15-minute walk-through assessment to find out what areas could use some elbow grease in your spring cleaning and decluttering!

Showroom Spring Cleaning Checklist:

Click here for a showroom walkthrough checklist you can download!

Not sure how your showroom and displays measure up? Bring your most organized designer, salesperson or a neat-nick friend 🙂 along on your walkthrough.  Or, consider asking your Medallion Sales Rep what they think! They have a vested interest in your success, and, unlike you, they only see your showroom every so often so they might notice little things that you don’t.

A few more questions to ask yourself about your display space:

  • Does this item/display help me more than it helps my client? (Does it inspire or distract, does it spur customers to commit to a project, does it help illustrate a product, etc.) Sometimes making it easy for you is not a visual enhancement to your showroom and adds visual clutter and confusion for your client.
  • Does it look like it belongs? (Randomly arranged spaces look messier and more chaotic than organized, intentional spaces.)
  • What is the weakest/least beautiful part of our presentation as a showroom? (Don’t forget about your public restrooms. The impact of a bad bathroom has monumental side effects.)


Watch out for clutter-breeding fibs like, “I might need to use that…someday.” And “It was my favorite thing…well, it was 15 years ago.” In my opinion, one of the hardest rationalizations to deal with is, “It was expensive.” You don’t necessarily have to get rid of those things permanently, but do they have to be on your showroom floor right now?

Remember, it’s all about improving that sensory experience for your clients. When you evaluate your showroom from their perspective and make these important improvements, you’re ensuring that your clients walk away with a positive, lasting impression of your business that directly impacts their decision-making!


Just like any home, general maintenance and annual reviews of the property should be on your schedule. Do you have a showroom standards checklist? How do you keep your display space fresh and exciting? As a designer in a showroom, how can you directly affect and improve your company’s store presence?


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