Volume 18, Issue 5 - September/October 2014

AsktheExpert
By Donna Wells

 

Steps to Greater Sales

Hello Window Film Magazine readers! It is fall and the following trade shows are upon us—International Window Film Conference and Tint-OffTM (WFCT) and the Specialty Equipment Market Association Show (SEMA). If you see me there, please do not be shy—say hello. I enjoy meeting everyone and it is always nice to receive feedback about my columns. More importantly, let me know what I can write about to help you build your business, which leads me to my current topic.

I recently spoke with two separate business owners. Both mentioned they were interested in building their commercial retail business. If you are considering entering this market, here is some food for thought on how to do it.

First, decide what the commercial retail market means to you. To some, it consists of hundreds of locations across the U.S. To others, it might be 50 locations across your region. Once you have decided on the retailer and the size of the market, visit several locations and talk to the in-house personnel. Are they familiar with window film? Do they understand how the product could assist them with their store issues? Ask who the best contact person is. For some, it might be the facilities manager in the corporate office and for others, it could be the sales/marketing manager within the store.

Every organization operates differently. Don’t go spinning your wheels; do some legwork. Once, I was working with a facility manager on a particular retail project and discovered that someone else within my organization was working with the security manager concerning security film at the same location. My point is this: Once you figure out who you need to contact, ask some very pointed questions about what their needs are and how you can assist. You could sell multiple products to the same retailer depending on their level of diversification.

Second, it is common practice to install film samples on glass for retail clients. If the client has not worked with window film before, he will want to see it on the glass before making a long-term commitment. Samples are a selling tool. Embrace this practice and install the samples free of charge.

Next, if you are working with a client that is located in a strip mall, be sure to check with mall management about window film. Some malls already have a window film policy. They have done their own research and have specified products they believe will enhance their mall, as do some residential neighborhoods. If you are not selling the manufacturer/brand that is specified, do not panic! Show the management team your comparison product and offer to install a sample for approval. Mall managers are usually open to suggestions, especially if you are showing them a like product. If they do not have a mall policy in place, take this as an added opportunity. Meet with mall management and ask them to specify your product as the go-to product. You might end up with an additional client that you were not expecting.

Finally, once the product is specified and the start date is set, do yourself a favor and discuss payment options upfront. Do not put off discussing deposits, purchase orders and payment terms. This is where many companies fall short, by not getting the details in place. This can lead to a financial struggle for your company. I suggest you receive a deposit and/or a purchase order before you install any product. I also suggest you talk to the accounts payable staff and find out beforehand what paperwork they will need from your company in order for you to receive payment in a timely manner. Discuss what their payment terms are: 30, 45 or 60 days? Are they planning on holding a retention for a period of time?

All of these questions asked and answered up front will save you headaches down the road. Good luck and happy selling!

WF


Donna Wells is the Vice President of Sales at Signature Shutters.

Got a question for Donna? Please email it to us at cflores@glass.com. Individual names and company names will be withheld upon request.


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