Driving sales in any market can be tough. When it comes to water treatment, providing solutions to your clients is not all that hard once you have gotten through the door. Getting in the door, however, can be a difficult challenge. The following are some time- tested ideas for driving sales beyond residential and into the commercial and industrial markets.
Know Your Market
Knowing your market has a double meaning: First and foremost, knowing the competition in your market will help you determine what you are going up against.
Performing an analysis of your business’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats will help you determine your business’ strengths. Use this to your advantage—you do not necessarily want to be good at what your competitor is good at doing, but you should capitalize on your strengths.
Second, knowing what your business is going to be in the future can set you apart from other companies. Knowing your company is strictly commercial and industrial, for example, allows you to concentrate on targeting that specific market for products and services. This will set you apart from other companies and can allow you to become an industry expert in that specific field.
Have you ever heard that knowledge is the key to success? This is true by all means, so you should invest in yourself and your team.
Knowing as much as possible when it comes to products and applications is crucial. Every day there are new or existing products that are used in new ways. Knowing and keeping up on the times will give you a leading edge.
It is key to not only invest in education but also in safety. In today’s market, many commercial and industrial customers require some sort of safety training. Set yourself apart and get your service staff OSHA 511 certified. This will also show your customers that you are serious about safety.
Even in today’s tough market it is important to advertise. But in the commercial and industrial sectors, advertising is a little different—simply placing a flyer in a coupon packet in the mail may not be the best option. Invest in marketing tools such as the Sales Genie or the Manufacturers Index. These tools will save time and give you up-to-date phone numbers and mailing lists.
I have also found that mailings are not dead. E-mails might be more cost effective, but mailing something such as a postcard is not a bad idea. One thing that works well with current customers as well as for opening doors to new ones is offering a free preventive maintenance inspection.
Faxing is another great tool, but keep it simple—just a couple of bold lines about what you are offering and who to contact are a great way to reach out to customers. Just remember to check your local laws when it comes to sending faxes.
It’s all about who you know—and if you want to break into a new market or even grow in your existing one, this cannot be emphasized enough. Networking can provide a huge payoff.
Offering people an opportunity to get out of their office and into yours is a great networking tool. Try hosting a Lunch & Learn, which is exactly what it sounds like. Come up with a topic to talk about, such as the differences in pretreatment, discuss solutions and share real-life examples, and then offer lunch afterwards.
Another effective idea is to network with chemical reps in your local area. Some chemical reps sell equipment as well, but they may not have anybody to install it or service it afterward. Some reps do not sell any pretreatment products—this can be an opportunity for you to partner with the rep and work together.
Asking for referrals can be a great way to boost your sales. Making it a point to visit your customers after completing proposed work can help with knowing how your customers feel about your service, but this is an even better time to ask for a referral.
Plenty of opportunities exist with current customers. Ask your current customers if there are other pieces of equipment they need, such as filters or salt.