Volume 38, Issue 6, June 2003

BusinessBasics

Are You That Number? 
Ways to Expand Your Glass Market
by John Baker

You have the tools, trucks and the ability to measure, cut and build. Let’s explore some various markets and projects remotely related to your core business—glass. What if you actively could seek and find new people and new ways to use your expertise and ability to advise, provide, repair and construct? Or, you could stay with the old business ways—waiting for the phone to ring and complaining about low prices and the economy.

Related Markets
Let’s start with a list of related products, projects and contacts:

• Caulking and waterproofing;

• Plastics and acrylic sheeting;

• Fences and partitions;

• Interior designers;

• Restaurants (tabletops and sneeze-guards);

• Film installation (flat and auto);

• Slopes and skylights;

• Custom furniture;

• Doors (wood, metal, aluminum and glass);

• Doors and windows (hardware, screens and frames);

• Bullet resistance (military and law enforcement);

• Hardware stores (such as Home Depot);

• Boats and marinas;

• Property managers;

• Mall maintenance superintendents;

• Schools and hospitals; and

• Airports (sound walls).

Calling yourself a “one source” serves as an excellent resource for good customers who trust you and don’t want to take the time and trouble to research or shop around, has been a relatively new buzz phrase in many industries.

Wouldn’t it be nice if they could call one number for any of the above services or products with complete confidence? Are you that number?

Establishing Relationships 
A good relationship with the general and related contractors in your area could pay ongoing dividends. If you are trusted and have performed well, the contractors may use you as an information source and even hire you for related projects and materials (break metal, specialty hardware, screens, etc.). 

Property managers and homeowners’ associations generally prefer to work with a small, trusted group of contractors and do not use the Yellow Pages. 

Good bonding and rapport with this group could get you on the short list where you bid less and make more. Every glass installer should have his radar working while out in the community—looking for targets of opportunity. Roofers and real estate agents frequently use the three-for-one sales call: visiting the adjacent neighbors of any current project or listing. New targets could include new construction sites, damaged homes or buildings, commercial retrofits and large apartment complexes.

Are you just another glass vendor or a trusted advisor who really takes care of good customers? 

Who will they call with the tough or oddball request? 

Are you a versatile hub of information or just another listing in the Yellow Pages? 

Too often, I believe we limit ourselves to what is traditional or generally accepted. However, to really grow and create new markets it is important to stretch and diversify. Consider these unlikely unions: Tostitos and the Fiesta Bowl, Marlboro and auto racing, Subway and Chevron, boxing and Indian casinos. I think somebody somewhere said “what if?” 

 

BAKER John Baker is an instructor for the Sandler Sales Institute in Irvine, Calif. Baker has been involved in sales training for more than 15 years and has several years of experience working with companies in the glass industry. 

 


USG

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