It’s all about increasing sales. That’s what everyone wants, and usually there are two ways to do it: add more products to sell, or do better selling the products you have. That goes for every product in the window coverings industry, but this month we focus on shutters.
In our annual Shutter Outlook (see page 38), we asked some of the
top suppliers what they thought dealers really needed to know about
shutters and increasing shutter sales. As usual, their responses
and advice were right on the money.
To begin with, dealers need to offer the right product, one customers
want to buy. They need to offer expert assistance, product knowledge
and attentive service that customers deem trustworthy and will lead
to excellent referrals. In a customer’s home, they need sampling
tools that show the features and finishes offered. In the showroom,
they need displays that properly show the benefits and beauty of
the product. And, finally, they need a reliable, qualified installer
to create the fit and finish this discerning client is looking for.
This year we found a new theme running through our expert advice:
advertising. It’s that thing all dealers know they need to
do, even though many aren’t sure how much to spend, where to
spend it or how often. Nearly every one of the suppliers who offered
comments about increasing shutter sales in the year ahead mentioned
the importance of building a strong presence in the marketplace.
“Increased sales are the result of effective advertising .
. .” says Bill Roberts of Woodfold Marco.
An advertising and marketing plan helps dealers establish the image
they want to present to customers, differentiates their products
and services from the masses of competitors and explains all of
the wonderful products and services they can provide. After all,
if you don’t tell people what you can do for them how will
they ever know?
An advertising plan also needs to be focused. “To increase
shutter sales, make sure you have . . . the right marketing,”
says Ron Swapp of Sunburst Shutters. Advertising must reflect the
quality of the products and services you provide as well as the
tastes and desires of the customers you want to attract. That means
a crucial step needs to take place before an advertising plan can
be put into effect: You need to know who your customers are. “Dealers
must understand their target market for shutters: the style-conscious
client who is looking for unique solutions, expert advise and service,”
says Steve Reese, Springs Window Fashions.
Effective advertising needs just two more things: coherence (all
materials need to stay “on message”) and time to work.
“Consistent advertising helps bring in the customers and gets
the phone ringing,” says Tom Connell, Gulf Coast Window Covering.
And isn’t that where it all starts?