What a superb industry we work in: cutting edge products, wonderful people, and every household in the land requires what we sell. In general, all our customers are great people to deal with, and if you get it right they will always come back and purchase more.
So what is the problem? It’s getting harder and harder to make a decent return on our investment. We have invested in staff, premises, vehicles, training, products, marketing and in our community. At the time of writing this article we have just come through a poor Christmas trading period. Several dealers have already gone into administration and it’s only the end of January.
You can’t stand there, look me in the eye and say it’s a level playing field when other dealers and internet traders are selling below our cost. It’s not right and something needs to be done. Some manufacturers have tried hard to address the issues but with little or no effect. An internet tax would appear to be a sensible idea, to have the RRP reinstated and banish the practice of loss leading will all help. How long, however, will they take to come to fruition?
However, there is a bright light on the horizon. CIH is doing a great job with the Blomberg range. An exclusive collection of white goods that have keen prices, great build quality and a deal-clinching three-year guarantee. Importantly, it’s a product range that will not be slashed on the internet. It’s a product range that can give you a sensible margin. It’s a product range that is a no brainer and can be stocked immediately. True, you have to explain the story and make the effort, but are you afraid of a little hard work to reap the benefit of a healthy margin?
Of course, the brands and product range you stock are crucial. However I maintain that people buy from people and you and your staff need to create your own brand, and to take every opportunity to promote your company within your local community.
A few days ago I was listening to one of my guys dealing with a customer. It was an absolute pleasure to hear them having banter with him, not just reeling off features and benefits but creating a relationship, one which will hold good for many years. Remember that most of our customers have an average of twenty products in their house that we sell. So naturally we want them to return to us time after time. Use all the tools at your disposal. Do you give all your customers your business card? Do you phone them to make sure they are happy with their purchases?
Remain positive, create your own good news, because if you don’t, nobody else will.