Jeremy Brett, Managing Director of the Consumer Protection Association, reflects on a politically charged year and shares his top tips to help installers weather the storm to win more business.
Trump. Brexit. Leicester City winning the Premier League!
Who would have thought any of these people and projects would have been pushed to the forefront of our political discourse and achieved such success?
There is no doubt, that it is no longer business as usual and even institutions such as the tabloid press are seeing their influence wane.
But despite the political uncertainty, the UK economy seems to be holding up as business owners and entrepreneurs navigate the landscape regardless; and get their heads down to continue creating jobs and wealth.
However, in uncertain times it is important to re-evaluate your business to ensure it is the best that it can be. So, here is our 7-step guide to make sure you succeed in this tough climate.
These will help you differentiate yourself in the home improvement market and clinch the all-important sales that fuel your business and the economy.
1. Establish an online presence with a high-quality website
81% of shoppers conduct online research before buying so it is important to have a high-quality website that is SEO optimised.
Using a mobile optimised or responsive design – which scales the website to be easily viewed from a laptop, tablet or phone – will make it easier for potential customers to navigate your site, increasing the time spent on pages and the likelihood of an enquiry.
Finally, clear calls to actions and easy to find contact details will drive the viewer to get in touch, fill out an enquiry form or request product literature. Your website is your shop window – so make sure it is the best it can be.
2. Introduce niche products to your range
Niche products are popular with homeowners – and often those with more disposable income – so by diversifying from you core range, you can capitalise on the high demand for these products.
Niche products are typically aimed at the high-end of the market, giving installers better margins on installations.
One example is bi-fold doors. The domestic market has embraced bi-fold doors, drawing on the aesthetic values. Shows such as Grand Designs have escalated the popularity of this product, creating a wealth of opportunities for installers. But what’s next – think hybrid products, VS windows and warm-core.
3. You can potentially look to diversify from your core market
You have a main market you operate in and this is important to create focus and become a specialist and trusted brand. But putting all your eggs in one basket can mean that you miss out on big opportunities.
Many double glazing and home improvement companies have diversified into the roofline market, competing with builders and roofing contractors for the installation of fascia’s, soffits, guttering and cladding.
Installers are also branching out into different sectors, with domestic installation companies establishing a commercial offering and vice versa. Solar was a good example, even though it is now a declining market.
4. Constantly renew your sales approach
Like anything, what buyers are looking for is always evolving and how you sell your products and services will need to do so too.
Consumers often research online before buying so are well informed of the features and benefits of products. Installers instead need to focus on added value service that sets them apart from the competition.
And with the rise of social media, companies can now connect easily with potential buyers, but there is also an urgency for companies to respond to comments and complaints immediately; so, this is important too.
Selling is also about sharing knowledge and information – companies that are seen to do have a better conversation rate than those that don’t.
5. Gather customer feedback
Customer feedback is essential but you may not have the time or resources to collate this information.
As part of the CPA package, members get quarterly assessment reports. Every time an installer registers an IBG, once the job is completed the consumer is sent a questionnaire to fill out, asking a series of questions about the installer’s work and approach.
This data is then collated by the CPA and sent to the installer in the form of a quarterly report, helping them to identify areas of service for improvement and increase best practice. Over the years, it has been proven that companies that have access to this knowledge and act on it – perform better than those that don’t.
6. Multi-channel marketing
Having a great website is not enough on its own. The most successful companies use multiple methods of marketing to raise brand awareness and increase leads.
There has been something of a shift from traditional paper and magazine advertising to digital marketing but there is no magic bullet as what works for one won’t inspire another.
By using multiple, varied methods you are more likely to get a response than repeated use of outdated marketing materials.
7. Be amazing
It sounds glib but right up from your van livery to telephone manner, companies that go that extra mile have more chance of succeeding.
Charlie Mullins started out life as an apprentice plumber, and subsequently built up his business, Pimlico Plumbers, to become a multi-millionaire. Everybody said at the time that there was no room for such an operation and it wouldn’t be possible to scale up a plumbing business.
Charlie says he set out to change the image of the plumbing industry and get rid of the stigma associated with it. The business revolves around core values of exceptional service, honesty and a strong work ethic and is one of the most successful home improvement businesses in the UK.
His secret – ‘to constantly be amazing’.
The company has been helping installers win new business for more than 20 years. To find out how the CPA can help you call 01462 850064 or send us an online message.