Don't sell the steak sell sizzleI love my job! Every day successful cabinet dealers share with me how they accomplish their impressive results and I get to share this knowledge with you. Recently I’ve been curious about the most cost effective manner of generating new leads and I’ve been surprised at how consistently I get the same answer. Anyone interested in selling more kitchens should read on.

Where to find Sales Leads

My question for the past several months is “What is your best source of sales leads?” For many dealers, the most popular answer is, “consumer kitchen and bath shows.” The good news is most cities have a large kitchen and bath show; the bad news is these shows require large upfront investments.

If you make the investment, you want to make sure you get the sales. Trade show success seems easy, but generating great booth traffic, qualifying prospects quickly and following up after the show is a challenge. Over the years I’ve learned a few tricks that I want to share with you now.

How to Discount Effectively

First, you have to remember that great show traffic doesn’t automatically turn into strong booth traffic. There must be a compelling reason for consumers to walk into your booth. My favorite is a prize drawing. The prize should be a large discount, expressed in dollars, off a kitchen remodeling job. I generally suggest a discount that equals the gross margin of your average kitchen sale. This number will be large enough to catch consumers’ eyes, motivate them walk in your booth and fill out an entry form – which gives you the information you need to follow-up with them later.

Shows are all about capturing names. I was always suspicious of the quality of leads generated by a drawing at a show. However, I’ve learned that consumers don’t spend time in booths that showcase products they aren’t interested in. So the goal of the prize drawing is to attract the attention of everyone interested in a kitchen remodel and compel them to identify themselves as prospects by taking the time and making the effort to fill out the entry form – and trusting that those who could care less about kitchen remodeling will not waste their time by walking in your booth.

How you handle the people who choose to enter your booth will determine how successful the show is at generating quick sales. Prospects are not created equal. Some prospects are ready to buy now and others won’t be ready until years from now. Your booth personnel must be able to quickly tell the difference.

Qualifying Early

If your staff asks each consumer, “Do you have a brand and style of cabinet that you’re particularly interested in?” The consumer’s response will tell them everything that they need to know. Most consumers who are close to buying have already developed a preference for specific brands and products.

If the person tells you a brand and style, they are in the final stages of their decision process. They have considered remodeling their kitchen, educated themselves on the products and brands and formed an opinion on which product will meet their needs best. These prospects need a salesperson that can help them understand how to turn their vision into reality.

Marketing to Hot Prospects

Two marketing techniques are very effective with these prospects. First, give “hot” prospects special collateral materials that clearly enumerate the reasons why they should choose to do business with your dealership, rather than anyplace else. Be specific. Is it quality, breadth of products, service, price or something else? Give specific examples of how you deliver this unusual value.

The material should also contain a personal profile of the designer they will be working with. The profile should describe the designer’s remodeling experience and qualifications. The goal is to give the prospect material that makes them comfortable that both the designer and company are extremely skilled and accomplished professionals.

Meet the Owner

The purpose of the second technique is to make their visit to your booth memorable. The prospect needs to meet the owner of the company. What the owner says is critical. The owner needs to look the prospect in the eye and tell them how much they appreciated them coming into the booth and then tell them why they should buy a kitchen from them (Price, quality, service…Etc.) and then express a clear desire to do whatever it takes to do business with them.

Everyone likes to do business with a company where they know the owner and meeting an owner so interested in them is memorable. Use this fact to your advantage.

Marketing to Early-Stage Prospects

What do you do with the prospects that don’t have a brand in mind? Give them different collateral materials. These materials should be more educational in nature. The information should help the prospect be able to understand the major products, how they differ in quality and their approximate cost. You want to help them get to the point where they feel knowledgeable enough to make an informed choice. This could take weeks, months or even years.

Your goal with these prospects is to position yourself as the expert source of information they need to figure out their remodeling project. You can gain their loyalty and shape their buying preferences by educating them on the critical factors they need to consider when making their decision and impressing them with your insights, knowledge and listening skills.

How to cost effectively cultivate these warm leads into hot prospects is a topic I’ll cover in a future article. But until then, heed the advice I shared with you today. The last person who followed these suggestions reported back that they generated 135 quality leads in a single weekend –more than twice the number leads they had generated in the past.

Request a Demo of Equilibrium