7 Essential Tips to Prepare for a Laminate Shower & Tub Wall Panel Sales Call

Have you ever been asked to prepare a speech for a group at work, or a wedding or an industry event? Did you have soooooo much anxiety you thought you’d need to borrow your Grandfathers Depends? Now imagine talking to this group (or even just talking to one person) and not feeling you’ve got your speech down cold or don’t know what the heck you’re talking about.

Can you say panic?

When you’re uncertain about what to say FEAR takes over. Who would be crazy enough to ‘step onto a stage’ (whether this stage is a big speech or sales call for a new bathroom or shower wall panel system) without knowledge and practice?

On the other hand, you’re much more comfortable when you know your ‘stuff.’ You have your speech or product sales presentation down cold.  

When you’re talking about the ‘tried and true’ you’re in the groove. You’re in your comfort zone.’ You know ‘the answers.’ You’re on solid ground.  

While it can be tempting to ‘stay in your comfort zone’ and talk about the same-old, same-old products forever and ever, there’s a problem with this strategy if you want to grow. The problem is when you’re talking (and promoting) the same-old-same-old as everyone else you’re usually pushing commodity products.

You’re selling the same acrylic wall panels (or cultured granite) as every Tom, Dick, Harry, Jane and Jill down the street. When you’re selling a commodity (‘er the same product as everyone else) you need a story why your service is better – or you need to undercut the competition on price.  A ‘race to the bottom’ price war has few winners (especially in a market where finding and keeping labor isn’t done by hiring the cheapest people in an already tight labor pool).  

So if you’re sick of lower margins and same-old-same-old products and looking to differentiate and create a ‘category-of-one’ sales and marketing position in your bathroom remodeling business, you may be looking at alternatives like laminate shower wall panels.

While new alternatives are ‘fun to think about,’ they’re scary. After all, you’ve never sold (and your team has never installed) them before.

To grow with a new product, you need to learn a new process. You need to learn the value of this product. You need to communicate the quality behind what you’re offering. You need to know how this product compares (and beats) the commodity products you’re selling today.

And this is where this article comes in. My goal is to give you a ‘primer’ on how you prepare for a laminate tub and shower wall panel sales call. Learn what you need to know so you DON’T NEED GRANDPA’s DEPENDS when you’re headed out to your first call. You need to know this product, its origins, what problems it solves and where it’s unique benefits will solve problems your ‘old-school’ products don’t.

Here’s 7 essential tips to prepare for your first laminate shower wall panel sales call.

Essential Sales Tip #1 – Know the ‘track history’ of laminate wall panels

Without a successful ‘track history’ few prospects will be brave enough to buy a new (to the United States) product like a laminate bathroom wall panel. However, the first thing you need to know is this isn’t a new product. Laminate wall panels were developed by Fibo Systems in Norway 40 years ago. These walls have been used in European homes for 40 years, and in ‘rough’ environments like public bathrooms, showers in health clubs, assisted living bathroom walls, and in commercial restaurant kitchens.

Laminate shower look like tile in a European bathroom | Innovate Builders Blog | Innovate Building Solutions | #LaminateShowerWalls #TileShower #EuropeanShower

Bottom line, while laminate panels are ‘newer’ in the United States (they’ve been here for 2 years), the product is hardly new. It’s established and been used in not only residential homes, but also in public restaurants and commercial kitchens which are not known to get a lot of TLC.

Track history of Fibo laminate shower and tub wall panels | Innovate Builders Blog | Innovate Building Solutions | #LaminateWallPanels #ShowerWallPanels #WallSurrounds

Essential Sales Tip #2 – Know the benefits of ‘laminate’ vs. cultured stone or acrylic wall panels

If you can’t communicate why a product is better – in your prospects mind it likely will not be better!

Although ‘Formica laminate was invented in 1912’, the product being used on waterproof shower wall panels isn’t your Grandmothers ugly-old laminate from the 1900’s. These high-pressure laminates are multi-layered, waterproof and made so you’ll get the feel of tile, stone, wood or concrete with zero grout joints for your customers to maintain.

Since acrylic and cultured stone wall panels are molded the ‘faux tile’ joints are the same color as the tile or stone patterns. The challenge is these molded products – while waterproof – look fake (and it doesn’t take a ‘crack-detective’ to figure this out).

Laminate panels not only look real, but they’re also available in matte finishes (as you know acrylic only comes in gloss) and aren’t a pain to install. These sleek 2’ x 8’ panels are simple to haul up the stairs and get into your customers small 5’ x 8’ second floor bathroom.

Marina gray oak bathroom wall panels look like tile and wood | Innovate Builders Blog | Innovate Building Solutions | #bathroomWallpanels #TileLook #ShowerDesign #FIBO

Essential Sales Tip #3 – Know what gets people excited to spend money on a bathroom remodel

While your prospect may be motivated to buy a wall panel and shower base system if they had a leak last week which poured onto their dining room table below,  if they aren’t dealing with a disaster they’ll need a better reason to get excited and fork over the money to do this job. The sales challenge becomes how do you get them eager to buy?

I would argue you need to go back to ‘grade school’ and be prepared to do some ‘show and tell’ – or I might say ‘ask, then show, then tell.’

Buying is an emotional process where we apply our own logic to justify what we decide to buy.

For example, I might tell someone I bought my Lexus ES 350 SUV because it gets excellent gas mileage. I might tell my wife I spent the money because it’s safety ratings will keep our kids (or should I say young adults now – yes, I’m dating myself) safe. And while all this MAY be true, often the real reason people buy (a car or a bathroom remodeling project) is because they love how the car feels or how the rooms looks after the remodel.

We want beauty and luxury in our lives – no matter how much (or how little) money we have.

While we may be OK with ‘faux’ products, we don’t want ‘fake.’ We want style…on a budget.

And this is a key element in selling any wall panel. You want the look and feel of the ‘real thing’ with a lower cost and less maintenance. When you ‘feel’ laminate wall panels they resemble natural wood, tile and stone. When your team installs a laminate panel it can look like a cracked cement minimalist wall or a Transitionalist large format tile wall at far less of a price tag.

Modern minimalist laminate waterproof shower panels | Innovate Builders Blog | Innovate Building Solutions | #Laminatewallpanels #ShowerPanels #DIYShowerWalls

So, in the sales process are you asking your customers what their ‘design vision’ is? Are you asking how they want to ‘decorate’? Are you asking for images from Pinterest or Houzz which inspired them to call you? Do you have a sales kit where they can see, touch and feel what they’re getting? A brochure today simply isn’t enough to get people excited enough to cough up the dough.

While there certainly can be ‘functional’ reasons to do a bathroom remodel (and nasty grout joints rank at the top), often the ‘fun’ reasons are what gets owners excited to SHOW YOU THE MONEY!

Bring along your sales kit. Let them feel the Modern Farmhouse, Contemporary High Gloss or Modern Minimalist panels to builds enthusiasm. While explaining the ‘logic’ behind the product is good, getting them excited is what will get you more signed deals.

Essential Sales Tip #4 – Know how to figure what size laminate shower kit you need

Have you ever sold a job and thought, “I’m going to make out BIG-TIME on this project.” Then you buy the shower wall panels and find you need a special sealant (which you don’t have). You find out you need a seam trim piece (which the customer HATES and will add more cost). Then you figure out the backer board is 2x more than you thought and you need to buy full sheets and eat the cost of the offcuts.

Just like buying a fancy dinner, when you end up on the ‘al la carte menu’ with all sorts of extra pieces-parts, margins get ‘nickeled and dimed’ right out of the job.

Avoid these problems with laminate wall panels. Figuring out what you need is simple.

First get an approximate measurement of each wall and divide by 23.6” (this is the width of the panels) and ‘round up’ toe the number of full panels you need. For example, if you’re doing a tub to shower conversion and removing an existing fiberglass one-piece shower, you’ll see the back wall is usually 60” and the side walls are 32”. The 60” back wall will need 3 panels (60”/ 23.6” per panels) and for the 2 side walls you will need 3 panels (note you’ll use one full panel on each wall and can split other panels to use ½ on the left side and ½ on the right side). Consequently, you’ll need a total of 6 panels.

Now you’ll know you’ll need a ‘IBS-3W-MIDA” (a 3-wall panel, Mid-Sized-Alcove Kit which has 6 panels). This kit AUTOMATICALLY comes with the sealant, trim pieces, wipes and cleaning tool for the job. No more getting nickeled and dimed or sending someone back (AGAIN) to the hardware store for more supplies.  

Essential Sales Tip #5 – Know how the shower pan or shower floor will ‘play’ with the wall panels

No matter if your client is using a one level wet room, a standard height curb, a ramped entry base or a low-profile shower pan – knowing how the base ‘works with’ the shower wall panels is essential. And it’s even more important if your prospect had walls which leaked before and water leaked below their shower pan (now that’s a disaster they WILL NOT want repeated).

What’s nice about laminate wall panels is they can be used with any type of shower pan. Like most panels they’re placed inside the ‘flange of the shower base (or the tub surround) so the water will be directed down the drain by the sloped floor of the bathtub or pan. There is a ‘base profile’ the wall panels ‘sit’ on which is sealed so no moisture wicks up through the walls.

Laminate shower panels with low profile textured black shower pan | Innovate Building Solutions | Innovate Builders Blog | #Texturedshowerbase #ShowerBase #lowprofileshower

Essential Sales Tip #6 – Bring up the ‘elephant in the room.’ Know why laminate shower or tub panels are 100% waterproof

Many people buy shower wall panels because they’re flat-out-unequivocally SICK of tile grout joints. It’s not the tile in their old shower which steams them (bad bathroom pun intended), it’s those doggone tile joints they’ve been battling with a scrub brush for years they want out – A-S-A-P!

Elephant in the room | Innovate Building Solutions | Innovate Builders Blog | #elephant #Tileshower #BathroomWallpanels

They don’t want grout maintenance. They don’t want failed tile walls which cause leaks. They don’t want mold which has made a family member sick.

What makes the laminate wall panels unique – besides the fact they look and feel like the real thing – is their 100% waterproof design. These panels have a patented ‘Aqualock’ seal and a tongue and groove installation system which was adopted from the laminate flooring industry and applied into bathroom waterproofing. The high-pressure laminate top surface is on a marine-grade plywood (the same material used on boats – which of course HAVE TO BE WATERPROOFED) and been tested for 40 years.

Waterproof laminate panels being installed | Innovate Builders Blog | Innovate Building Solutions | #Laminatewallpanels #WallPanels #InstallingWallpanels

Sure, this system is different from acrylic and cultured stone – but it’s no less waterproof than those options.

Essential Sales Tip #7 – Show your shower and bath accessories for a more stylish and safer project

Just like accessories and shoes make ‘the dress’ (or so your wife or ‘significant utter’ reminds you when you ask why they have so many doggone pairs of shoes), so it’s true shower accessories make the shower function better and stay neater. You’re not doing your customer justice if you’re not asking what they’d like to store in their wet space.

And as my wife likes to tell me if I DARE complain about the number of products in the shower she’ll say, “Mike, the time from ‘wake up to pretty’ takes longer every year. So, this is the price you’re going to pay for me aging…very gracefully I might add.” And with that I (smartly) shut up (yes – you’ve can tell I’ve been married for a few years – ha! Ha).

However, in all seriousness showers without thoughtful accessories (like grab bars or places to put slippery shampoo bottles) can be dangerous (and create an ugly enclosure).

With the laminate wall panels you can use low-maintenance stainless steel niches. Include decorative grab bars or shower trays to keep shavers from falling to the floor.

Stainless steel recessed niche in laminate shower wall panels | Innovate Builders Blog | Innovate Building Solutions | #Laminatewallpanels #StainlessSteel #RecessedNiche

A great shower without effective accessories is like a dress without cool shoes and handbags (and I’m saying this and I’m not even a lady. OK, maybe it’s the tofu-rib-eating guy in me speaking right now – ha! Ha!).


For all of us in sales (or with a sales team we count on to grow revenues) we realize knowing what we’re talking about is ESSENTIAL to success. If you’re looking to get out of the rut of ‘every-day’ commodity shower wall products like acrylic or cultured stone you’ll need to invest time, money and training your sales team with new products like laminate wall panels to be successful.

This will begin with not only understanding who(m) your customer is and what they don’t like about the products available today, it’ll also essential to know your new product and its competitive advantages. You’ll need to know how it’s installed, how it’s waterproof and why it will provide years’ worth of positive performance for them. You’ll need to know how to communication what’s ‘sexy’ about the panels and get them excited to buy.

Once you’re on solid ground, you’re then ready to take on this growing bathroom wall panel business and differentiate yourself and ‘win’ in your local market.

I would be honored to be your ‘guide’ along this journey. If you’d like to learn more about laminate wall panels, how to sell them and grow your bathroom remodeling business call  888-467-7488 (and ask for Mike) or email me today. What are you waiting for, another low margin deal you’ve got to try to eek out a little profit by doing the work yourself?

Mike Foti

Mike Foti is the President of Innovate Building Solutions.

Mike Foti

Mike Foti is the President of Innovate Building Solutions.