In April, I wrote about how to target better customers in the “Golden Opportunity” segment (see D&WC, April 2005, page 56). If your back issues of this magazine aren’t handy, refer to the Quick Review provided here of the four major segments of customers defined by home value.
HOW TO SELL THE GOLDEN
The first thing to remember: the Golden Opportunity segment represents only about 20 percent of all homeowners. That means, on average, at least three times more customers are interested in functional light control and privacy than they are about creative ideas. So what? you ask. Well, the message is: You may lose this sale because you under-sell this customer and try to keep cost down.
Better customers want quality products and great designs. They might want draperies, or at least a fabric valance. They might want real wood shutters instead of faux. They have money and want to invest in quality. Use words like “authentic,” “unique,” “exceptional.” If you use the same words and the same sales approach to this group that you project to average customers, you reduce your chances to win the sale.
CHANGE HER THINKING WITH IDEAS
$800,000 to $2 million and above—About three percent of the market, a natural for full-service interior designers to help select multiple products of furnishings, floor coverings, accessories and window treatments.
$300,000 to $800,000—GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY—about 20 percent of the market. This segment values quality, service, professionalism and good ideas to make their homes beautiful. These customers are ideal for draperies, quality wood shutters and distinctive window treatment designs.
$100,000 to $300,000—Almost half of homeowners, the broad middle market served by many blinds and shadings specialists. Perfect for functional privacy and light control—and comparison shopping.
Under $100,000—About 25 percent of the market, buyers of ready-made draperies, bargain blinds, do-it-yourself solutions; function is primary, pride and beauty are secondary.
Basis: National average median household income $45,000 and median home selling value $200,000. If your market is higher or lower, index your median values and adjust the segments up or down to find the Golden Opportunity segment in your community.
Your competitor thinks its job is to “do what the customer
asks.” Instead, the consultant who sells concepts instead of
commodities will change the better customer’s thinking to consider
another product, one she hadn’t thought of before. Customers
don’t know the market options as well as you do. Customers
may ask for a popular product, but might actually be happier with
a product you suggest that is more unique.
For example, if she likes wood blinds, why not shutters instead? Give her a choice of elegant “furniture-quality” wood. Maybe you will propose motorization. Be sure to suggest fabric valances for softness and unique design. Help better customers make their windows beautiful and their rooms more charming. Every friend who comes to her home will reinforce her good decision to buy from you.
BETTER CUSTOMERS VALUE IDEAS AND PROFESSIONALISM
If you want to sell better customers in the Golden Opportunity segment, learn to sell more than products—sell ideas. Position yourself as a professional. There are some terrific experts in our industry who understand concept and consultation selling. Sally Tucker has some great ideas. Sally Morse is one of the best. Fred Berns will tell you how to set yourself apart from a crowd of competitors. Jo Ann Brezette is one of best, having taught window coverings throughout Europe and South America. Whenever you see one of these experts, attend their programs. Whatever you pay you will make it back quickly.
ONCE YOU SELL BETTER CUSTOMERS YOU’LL NEVER LOOK BACK
Only a few window coverings specialists have the skill to sell better customers in the Golden Opportunity segment. It takes marketing skills, sales skills and serious desire. But once you learn it, you’ll never look back. You will sell bigger jobs than before. You will sell at higher prices. You will receive more referrals. You’ll never be afraid of the Big Box home improvement or catalogue competitors.
The Golden Opportunity segment is a great market opportunity. Seize the opportunity and earn what you deserve. You can do it!
This article is based on Steven C. Bursten’s actual experience
with sales and financial information working with hundreds of window
coverings businesses. Whether you are a sole manager who aspires
to higher sales, or you manage 50 window fashion decorators in a
multi-million-dollar business, this series will help you manage
sales better and increase your profitability. Bursten is the retired
founder of Decorating Den Interiors and author of a how-to book
on new business start up, “Bootstrap Entrepreneur,”
and is a leading expert in window coverings marketing, sales systems
and sales management through his company, custEmers.com. Questions
and comments welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (888) 333-8981.
Free reports by Steve Bursten—“How to sell concepts instead of commodities” and others— now are available at www.custEmers.com/ reports.