It may seem counter-intuitive to consider your next customer as a new hire. But, after all, this is the cabinet business. Your highly configurable product needs proper representation at the consumer level; and it’s not always easy to get.
I need another line
Some new customers limp in, adding a line for cursory reasons:
- I need a fill-in-the-blank product (low, middle, high) to round out the other lines that I sell.
- We need to match the product at the Big Box Home Center across the street.
- ABC kitchens fill-in-the-blank (quality, delivery, follow-up, or, egads, terms) suck.
- I just hired Shirley from XYZ kitchens and she is comfortable selling your line (our personal favorite).
If you were hiring someone to sell your products, you would never accept those reasons as good enough to hire. Yet, every manufacturer has their share of this type of representation. The bigger issue down the road is that these opportunistic customers create channel conflict when you do meet the perfect hire.
Pre market crash, these were thought of as openings of share where, if you got your foot in the door, you hoped that you could expand your offering and steal share from others. Last time we checked, hope was not a strategy.
I want your line
We have to sell and market differently today. We recently met a second-generation cabinet manufacturer who brilliantly stated the obvious; my father didn’t have to worry about knowing all of the other pieces of the business. As long as things were good, he just had to focus on keeping the plant humming.
Today, sales skills are unique since consumers no longer enter the showroom credit card first. If you want customers who you would hire, you need to look for like-minded dealers:
- I want to build our brands together in my market
- I’m ready to move other lines out to focus on your products
- Your rep gave me a three year plan that showed our growth together
- We need to learn how to promote our brand and you seem to have mastered that for yours.
- You have the best combination of service, price, quality and tools to help me succeed.
The world is different
To say that the world is different today is an understatement. If you are to succeed, you realize that it will never be the way that it was. Holding on to the ‘when things come back’ nugget is fools gold.
Things will come back, but they will never be the same. Hire the right customers today for tomorrow’s success.
Find out how Equilibrium’s Quote to Order system can be the tool that brings your company to success.