Volume 16, Issue 6 - May/June 2012

AsktheExpert
By Donna Wells

Whole New Market

It’s the May/June issue of Window Film magazine! Do you realize this means that this year is halfway completed? Yes, time does fly and you should be well on your way to meeting your financial goals for 2012.

As the year reaches the 50 percent mark some have asked me recently how to create new markets for their window film—great question! Let’s look at how to open doors and break new ground.

What market do you want to delve into? Do you want to start marketing flat glass products to designers/architects/building managers or do you want to offer a high end automotive window film to your current clients?

Glass Edge
Let’s start with the flat glass market. Identify two or three target areas and develop market plans for each of them. Your potential clients belong to professional groups which tend to be rather cliquish. They rarely venture out to hire a window film company. They prefer to use a referral from a colleague.

You could send marketing pieces to this group, but those would probably end up in their “filing pile.” Personally, I would make a few appointments with possible clients. Set up face-to-face interviews. This is just as important for you as it is for them. I prefer to meet them in their office. Why, you may ask? You want to see how much business the firm is doing and how many people work there. Try scheduling in the middle of the morning or right after lunch. You can size up the office and meet a couple of associates. The best way to figure out if they are worthy of your time is to ask them very pointed questions such as, “How many projects are you currently servicing? Does your firm handle national accounts? What interests you most about window film?”

If you both mutually agree that they could benefit from your products and services then offer to give a formal presentation like a “lunch and learn.” Personally, I would only offer a lunch and learn after I visited the office. By the way, if you are unfamiliar with the term “lunch and learn,” it is a marketing tool where you buy lunch for a firm and the staff listens to your presentation while they are eating. I have found this to be a successful means to attract new business within this rather closeted group. (Editor’s note: There will be a “lunch and learn” presentation taking place at the International Window Film Conference and Tint-Off™ on Thursday, September 20 at 4:30 p.m. Come learn how to use this effective sales technique and tips for using this to grow business. Visit www.windowfilmmag.com/iwfc for more info.)

Wheeling and Dealing
Moving to the automotive industry let’s say that you have been installing window film for a particular automotive dealership. You would like to introduce a high-end product, but you are concerned that they might look for another installation company if you “rock the boat.” If your relationship is such that you cannot offer additional products without worry, your business relationship will grow stagnant. Offering upscale products will keep everyone current and could add dollars to both of your pockets. It is a win-win situation for both you and your client. New products that keep your clients current will draw positive attention to your business.

How do you introduce the product? You could try installing the product on the service manager’s personal vehicle. He or she would then be able to see and feel the benefits of the upscale product. They might be more inclined to talk to the senior management team on your behalf. What would happen if a competitor came into “your” dealership and showed “your” service manager the product before you did? Do you believe that would weaken your relationship or strengthen it?

In closing, keep this in mind—whether you are working in the flat glass or the automotive market, keep pushing forward and do not grow stagnant in your marketplace. The economy is moving forward so move with it. I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Until next time, happy selling! WF Donna Wells is the division head of the wholesale division at Window Film Depot.


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