Today, more emphasis is being placed on water regulations and conservation methods than ever before. There is no better place to look when discussing these matters than at the faucet. In homes or businesses, sink areas and faucets are hot spots for many daily activities, including cooking, washing dishes, hygiene practices and much more.

With that being the case, it is even more important to stress the need for a safe and reliable faucet that will help prevent contamination and deliver the best water possible. Improvements are constantly being made in this area, which gives dealers ample opportunities to successfully market and sell faucets.

Along with water conservation and cleanliness, some people are looking for new designs to help spice up the look of a kitchen or bathroom and others want a faucet that is environmentally friendly.

This gives dealers many avenues for selling faucets for residential and light commercial use. We looked at a few of those aspects to see how companies can capitalize on this growing trend.

What people are looking for

This can be a broad topic as people buying faucets can be looking for a number of different qualities. But, when making a case for a product it”s best to know the needs of the customer and then make your pitch.

“Customers buy [faucets] based on all three [factors]: Design, cost and environmental effectiveness,” says Freddy Vidal, CEO of QMP Inc. “The customer needs a design that will look nice in their kitchen and can bring a great touch to their wonderful home.”

So when starting to offer advice on faucets, it”s best to keep in mind these few simple needs and be prepared to offer a faucet with a new design that is cost efficient and environmentally safe.

Looking for a new design

When talking with experts in the faucet industry one of the first things people look for when buying a faucet is one with a hip new design that will make it a focal point of the kitchen. A sink is something that is used multiple times a day in a household or business so it”s important to people to make sure they have one that is up-to-date.

“Customers are looking for aesthetic features such as sleek and contemporary design and finish,” notes Gary Strunak, director of national sales for Tomlinson Industries. “They are looking to match and complement high end kitchens.”

Over recent years, more homeowners have looked to stay put and modernize their homes rather than take on more debt and move to a bigger house. As a result, as new construction tries to get back on its feet, the home improvement market for existing homes continues to flourish. Homeowners are looking to implement shiny new faucets to be the centerpiece of the kitchen.

If you”re able to offer unique, modern designs that fit in with today”s ever changing culture, it can give you an edge when selling this valuable equipment.

Vidal adds that customers are looking for a variety of colors and designs to choose from when selecting a faucet and that his company is doing everything it can to make sure it offers what they”re looking for. “The design should be eye-catching and have an impact on whoever gazes upon the product,” he says, adding, “Ceramic faucets are becoming a common product that customers like to accommodate with the modern designs in the kitchen.”

While most casual observers and probably many salespeople might not think of design as being the number one priority when buying a faucet, it has become important to customers, which makes it very important to dealers.

Meeting regulations

Another major concern when purchasing a faucet is finding one that is friendly to the environment. Whether that’s delivering clean water or doing so in a conservative manner, it”s important to note that these are huge factors for customers and dealers.

Recent regulations on lead have changed the whole landscape of faucets and how they protect customers from being harmed.

Vidal says that faucets have advanced in the past couple of years by offering lead-free products. “We also emphasize the lead-free manufacturing of our products. This is a significant sales pitch because having lead in products can lead to health problems for the consumer,” states Vidal. “The lead-free pitch brings to the attention our need to ensure the health and safety of the customer.”

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that if water samples report a lead action level of 15 parts per billion (ppb) in more than 10 percent of tap water samples then water systems are required to take action. While homeowners and dealers can”t always control the amount of lead in pipes and waterways, they can control how that water is treated at the point-of-use. Being able to offer a product that will help keep water within regulations and meet safety standards is a big plus in today”s faucet market.

“Stress that faucets meet U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and NSF requirements, especially the lead-free requirements,” says Strunak.

Water conservation has been in the spotlight lately because of the lack of rain most of the U.S. has received. During these seasons of drought a low-flow faucet could help customers stay under state regulations when asked to manage water usage.

Vidal notes that some manufacturers can customize faucets to a customer”s needs based on what type of flow they prefer. These are options that can help put you ahead of the competition.

How to outmaneuver the competition

Many dealers are finding it more difficult to compete with cheap overseas products and big-box stores. As the demand increases for this growing market, the ability to find ways to outmaneuver the opposition becomes an even higher value.

“Continue to stress the high quality features of the faucet,” advises Strunak. “Faucets with a ceramic disc offer smooth operation and durability. A ceramic disc does not wear out like rubber gaskets so repair is rarely necessary.” Strunak also adds that most cheap overseas products are not certified by the FDA and NSF and often don”t meet safety requirements.

The importance of buying a quality product from a well-known manufacturer is very critical when considering the health effects of water from a poor performing or old faucet.

“We strongly advise to tell customers to grow our economy by keeping American business growing,” says Vidal. “We emphasize that buying in the U.S. means that companies are mandated by the government to meet a quality standard to ensure the well-being of the consumer. This otherwise wouldn”t be possible buying overseas because the consumer loses the ability to know that the product is checked for the well-being of the public.”

The future of faucets

As mentioned, the faucet industry is growing and only becoming stronger as homeowners look to remodel and spruce up the homes they currently own. There is still room for growth as customers and dealers try and find new ways to improve on design and performance. As new ideas come along it”s important to stay up-to-date with these changes and to be able to offer several different options for faucets.

Strunak believes that in the future customers will have even more finishes to choose from and we will see an emerging popularity of faucets offering hands-free operation, which is currently available.

While other industries wavered during The Great Recession, the kitchen and bath industry continued to enjoy success and growth. With more homeowners and business owners staying put, modernizing their sink areas is inevitable. Customers can shop many places for a faucet, so it is important for your sales and marketing messages to stick out.