Does “increasing sales” to your shop generally mean you got a few extra referrals? Maybe your best builder pulled a couple extra permits?
While both situations are a welcomed event, they were not planned, and more importantly not under our control.
This article is going to dive into five specific ways cabinet shops can increase sales. Implement these rules and you will be on your way to being a sales rockstar!
When you know there's a problem with sales
We have all been there as business owner, fighting the vicious sales cycle, the feast or famine that seems to plague most small businesses.
The problem with feast or famine is that it has a profound effect on our cash and operations of the business. One minute we are swamped with work and everyone is on overtime. The very next minute we are pulling everyone back on hours and there is not enough work to go around.
This cycle is an indicator of a lack of a sales process.
Just like you have a process in the shop for building a cabinet, or cutting wood, you need a sales process that is generating leads, providing quote opportunities, and ultimately turning into paying projects.
the problem spreads
Living in the vicious sales cycle doesn’t only burden you as an owner. It can also cause a whole other host of issues that may not seem apparent at first look.
Mostly dangerously, the vicious sales cycle can have an effect on culture in our shop.
Employees want stability. They want to know that they have a secure job. With an up-down sales cycle it will be impossible to promise them security. You’ll notice that it is when employees don’t have this sense of security, that you will have problems with culture.
At first, it looks like you may just have a disgruntled employee. A couple weeks later, you notice that this attitude has spread like a virus to the whole crew. It is very difficult to build a culture, but it is risky to have to rebuild one.
Top line Growth
Top line growth is almost impossible if going through these cycles. You may have some luck for a while but there will be a point when you max out the amount of sales you can get from your cycle.
we are the fuel
Most owners seem to think of sales as a necessary evil. We only do it because we have to. In reality, sales are the engine and we, the salesman, are the fuel. Without a process, we will be left on the side of the road stranded.
What if I told you that you can smooth out your sales cycle and change it from a vicious curve to a revenue producing line up and to the right on a consistent basis?
What if you could do so, even double your sales, without investing any additional capital?
Fueling the engine every day
It was not until I was in business for several years that I realized this was a possibility myself. Before, I could never understand why sales came and went in clumps.
Since then, I have studied, read, and listened to as many resources on the phenomena of sales as I could.
What did I learn?
Beyond some basic principles, the takeaway from all the education was this: Selling must be a consistent, steady effort day-in day-out.
5 rules to successfully fuel your sales engine
So what should that day to day effort consist of? Take time every day to take steps towards accomplishing these 5 rules and your sales will thank you later.
Define what your company does well.
Identify exactly who your ideal buyer is.
Get a killer website.
Start using a CRM like HubSpot NOW.
Give the buyer what they want, without them even knowing! (Inbound Marketing)
Step 1: Define What Your Company Does Well
Do you excel at builder work, commercial, remodel, or restoration? Intuition will tell you that there are some types of jobs you make money on every time and others you make money on some of the time.
Pick your top 1 or 2 company strengths and write them down so we can expand on that thought in step 2.
If you focus on your strong area, then you can start to formulate a plan to get more sales that fit your strong suit. It will be tough going from a “yes” shop to one that is targeting the sales they are best suited for.
Decide now to not just say yes to whatever comes in the door. From now on, you decide what you want. Craft a sales plan and focus on it with laser intensity until you get the sales you need.
The step of identifying your strong points can be a business changer all in its own right. You may decide to stop on this step and get going. For some that may be fine, but if you want to supercharge your sales process keep reading. I assure you, you will be blown away by the results if you follow through with these steps.
Step 2: Identify Exactly Who Your Ideal Buyer Is
Build a persona and tell everyone in your company what that person's traits, habits, challenges, and goals are.
First, you may be asking, “What is a persona?”
No, it’s not your imaginary friend named Flip that you talk to when you’re by yourself.
Your business persona is a specific layout of your ideal customer. In other words, if you could hand pick your customer, what would they look like? Give your persona a name and go through the persona template to complete the exercise.
Without going too deep in this article about how to use personas and inbound marketing, take care on this step and put as much effort into it as you possibly can.
Word of caution: Don’t jump out and make 5 personas and expect that to help your efforts. I suggest making no more than 2 to start. This will keep you focused and give you a place to start from.
Step 3: Get a Killer Website
Think that your current website is strong?
Go to https://website.grader.com/ and find out the real truth. If you score low on more than 1 or 2 of their measuring parameters, then you may need help.
If you have a healthy score, next ask yourself, "What is my website accomplishing for me?" If it is not meeting your goals, (generating quality leads, presenting your brand as trustworthy and professional, etc.), then why is it there? Better yet, why are you paying monthly to "maintain" something that doesn't make you better?
It is usually pretty easy to tell when you are on a great website versus a website that is there because they were told at some point they needed one. I found out early in the process that website building was not my forte, so I found a professional and got professional results. Check out the finished product at ultcab.com.
While I do not know how to design or make a website, I did know what type of content and feel I needed to speak to my persona. If you find the right website designer, they can take your persona, thoughts, and content and craft a website that you are not only proud of, but that actually speaks to the people you want to speak to.
A couple things to keep in mind when finding someone to build a site:
You get what you pay for.
If you find someone to build you a site for $300, then that is what you are going to get. To put it into perspective, how much time can you give a customer for $300? Not much, right?
What’s a going rate for a professional website?
That is a loaded question, but I can tell you I paid around $2,500 to build it, plus the additional costs of video and ongoing monthly support. That was way more than I could have ever thought about spending had it not been for another customer of the website builder that I talked to before the process.
Normally, I would have been the one looking for the $300 deal. Trust me, you will not get enough value if you only spend $300.
Make an investment like you would in equipment. Justify the purchase with an ROI and suddenly you will notice that you cannot afford not to spend more money on your website.
Marketing Strategist, Khalil Benalioulhaj, of Benali Marketing refers to steps 1-3 as a foundation. You cannot skip them and hope to reach new customers by blindly aiming and throwing whatever you can at the "target".
Now you may ask, “What am I going to do with this fancy foundation?”
Next week, we will dig into steps 4 and 5 to complete your guide to amping up your cabinet sales. Get ready to be free of the vicious sales cycle.
In the meantime, I challenge you to take the first step to controlling your sales process. Take a shot at steps 1 & 2 this week using this template and you'll be ready to roll next week.