Making it Easy for the Customer

My wife developed some foot problems, so we were sent to a foot doctor. The doctor was in an office building on the second floor with no elevator. We could not believe he would make his patients limp up the stairs, so we cancelled and went to another foot specialist. This one had no parking so you had to walk or hobble a few blocks. It struck me that these doctors were not thinking of their patients and made it hard to deal with them. Let’s take a look at your dealership and see if you are making it as easy as you can for customers to buy from you and how you can make it easier for them and more profitable for you.


Take Orders & Appointments Online

It’s a busy world, and I suggest you take orders for salt, delivery and filters online. You don’t need to invest in a full e-commerce website; you can simply set up a button with an e-mail form customers can fill out saying what it is they want. You can follow up with a phone call or deliver and pick up the payment. I bought my last car from a dealer who offered online appointments for service. It wasn’t the only factor in my decision to buy from them but it was an important convenience.


Remind Customers

Over the last few years, I have moved a lot and have probably bought five reverse osmosis units from different dealers. Each one of them said they remind you when your filters are due for a change but not one has ever contacted me. Make it easy for your customer to buy from you by reminding them of filters, resin cleaning and anything else they need on a regular basis.

Many dealers also forget to place stickers on the equipment they install. When a customer needs to call you, how do they remember your name and phone number? Make it easy by placing large stickers with your contact information on each piece of equipment you install.


Offer Something New Every Month

Our industry is populated with a lot of people who seem to think once you have bought something, you are done and will never buy again. I suggest that to make it easy to buy, you train each member of your staff to be excited about a couple of new or different products every month. Teach them how to introduce these products, the benefits and why the customer needs it. These items could be things like:

  • A cooler cleaning system;
  • Resin cleaning;
  • Leak detectors;
  • Soap;
  • New equipment; and
  • An outside spigot bypass.

Talking about these items is a service to the customer and makes it easy for them to get what they want—better water.


Carry Salt & Water

The dealer I bought my softener from does not deliver salt. Every time I remember to buy it, my back hurts for a week from carrying it. Do you offer to carry salt and fill the bin for your customers? I would love to pay extra for this service, especially if you called or e-mailed to remind me I was about to run out.


Sell Items for Every Home & Price

Some dealers might ask, “Can you believe the idiot who just called only wants to spend $100 and he doesn’t even own the home? What a waste of time.” It is a waste if you don’t make it easy to buy.

Perhaps you could have sold that caller a shower filter and a countertop kitchen sink filter. Perhaps you could have convinced them to spend $200 or $300 if you showed them the benefits and put it on a credit card so it was easy for them to buy.

Many dealers tell me they don’t offer financing. Some say everyone pays cash in their town. All I know is that the customers who need financing are not going to tell you. They will say they will call you later or that they have to check with their uncle. Not many will say, “I want it but I don’t have the money.” That is why no one knows how many sales they lose by not offering financing.

Financing makes it easy to buy. You will always have price and closing problems when you say the system is only $3,995, but you make it easy to buy when it is $75 per month.


Offer Rentals

Statistically speaking, 28% of people you talk to about equipment will only rent. If you only sell, you are not making it easy for them to buy. The people who will only rent include:

  • People with shaky credit;
  • People who are in your area temprarily (like military or contractors); and
  • People who did not believe your presentation enough to buy.


Ask for More Options

Train your techician to ask customers to buy an extra item on delivery. If they just bought a softener, it is easy for the technician to say, “Where do you want your drinking water system installed?” When they say they didn’t get one, he can then offer it. You can use this technique to make it easy for your customers to buy something extra on every install.

Another important way to make it easy for people to buy is to be open and have your best staff available when people shop—on evenings and weekends.

There are a few ways to make it easier to buy, and easier and more profitable to sell. I hope you will examine your operation and see if you are easy to conduct business with. I know you will profit from the effort.

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About the author

Carl Davidson is director of Sales and Management Solutions, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in sales and management video training, recruiting and live seminars exclusively for the water equipment industry. A free demonstration video and list of products and topics is available at 800.941.0068. Send comments on this article to him at [email protected];