BOB HEIDENREICH: Spring Cleaning
Starting fresh can line your business up for new sales.
After working through the winter months preparing for this year’s deck season, you’re almost at the point where you can get back to doing what you love to do—selling decks. There is, however, still work to be done to ensure you make the sale and line your business up for the busy season.
Just like at home, spring is often the time for clearing away the junk and starting fresh. It’s out with the old, in with the new. I take advantage of using the earlier months to not only tidy up the store, but I also prepare my business for new customers.
Moreover, the appearance of your business is just as important as any other operational task such as marketing, selling, stocking and hiring. Customers can walk into your store and quickly decide whether to purchase from you simply based on what they see in front of them. For that reason, it’s imperative to rotate your stock; clean all aspects of the store including retail, showrooms and stock rooms; paint any old furnishings or walls and renovate features that will benefit the customer’s experience.
But it’s not just the building that needs proper maintenance and upkeep, the yard is just as important as well. When the economy hit its lowest point, I did not want customers to glance at our yard and see that our inventory was a bit low. Therefore, I took care to make sure our inventory was displayed in such a way to make the yard appear as full as possible. This is a very important sales tactic because a customer is more willing to buy if he/she believes you can deliver the product instantly. Even if you do not have the product on-hand, but you can order it right away, the customer will gain comfort in knowing that the product is readily available.
Early spring is also the time to cross your t’s and dot your i’s. To ensure a prosperous year, make sure all your literature is up to date, contracts are completed and your employees are knowledgeable about the latest products.
In fact, you can really make yourself shine against your competitors by your product knowledge for installed and retail sales. If you’re the first to know about the latest product innovations (and whether or not they’re a good fit for your market), and the latest building code requirements, that may be the edge you need to snag the sale.
And as you begin to meet new customers and schedule appointments, consider this: I always leave a few dates in late May/early June for the procrastinators. It never fails that a customer will call, frantically explaining that he/ she has a graduation party or another event and they need a new deck, or renovations to an existing one, as soon as possible. Though you have already scheduled aside some time for these last-minute appointments, you’re still able to charge a bit more for the late notice.