Integrators need to be found / Marketing in the new economic times

Installers, dealers and Integrators need sales, budgets are tight, economic times are tuff. What can a small business do to drive new clients to do business with them? just a web site wont cut it. What to do?? Get found get clients calling you!

I have been in the CE business all my life, the one constant I see is technology evolving and continuing the business, making it spike and lift up, then slow down and then spike with the next new thing, It has always driven sales to some extent, but even the best mousetraps don't get sold if there isn't a market for it or if there are not people lining up to buy, The trap in our industry is we have become used to technology or products driving business, such as stereo to 5.1 to 7.1 surround sound or plasma flat screens to High Def 1080P to 3 -D and most notably the Apple iPod. Something has been there for us to gee and wow ourselves and help drive sales. Will 3 -D TV drive buyers to the dealers? Maybe but I don't know if they will go to the small specialty dealers that deserve and need those sales most.

Recently one of my close business associates traveled California with a well -known manufacturer of very cool and innovative product, they visited their existing dealers who are the cream of the crop. The report I got back from them after the trip was, it was dismal, and the dealers were depressed. They did not know what to do. He said they walked in to visit dealers all over the state and they found most of them just staring at the phone not knowing what to do next…

What's the solution???

Some of the solution has to be business related, because the problem is business related so the solution has to be also. Sorry gear is king here on planet CE but we need some sales!

First off attitude is important. One thing is for sure it is easy to know what not to do, life's been easy for so long who thought we would ever have to think about the business part of business? We love the technical and gear side, that's why most of us we are in this business, the toys! So first things first, attitude, I know it's hard when bills and payroll is stacking up. And there isn't a lot of the easy business that was rolling in for us… so attitude. It's a start in the right direction. I worked for a spell directly Zig Ziglar in his Ziglar Performance group as a trainer. One thing is for sure Zig is the most positive man I have ever known, probably the world has ever known. He calls an alarm clock an opportunity clock, and smiles always even when the chips are down he can say something good. That's the first step.

Second: if you're fallen and cant get up… When I was dirt bike riding falling and crashing was a way of riding the trails in northern Minnesota, but if you fell and did not get up immediately you were surrounded by guys calling you names, names that, well I cannot write here in my column… it made you get back up and ride the rest of the day. No matter what, so get your head on right, get back on your bike and gun it! your family and employees need your positive leadership.. And your clients will certainly need it from you to convey confidence they need to buy from you. Get tuff, get up be strong and don't be a Pxxxy. Get up and get going!

If you are not reaching out yet to your existing client base NOW is the time. Go after your existing clients make sure they are happy with your work and they are up to date on their needs wants and desires. That's a simple out call, if you don't have someone in -house that can do this, out source it; there are a lot of people you can contract to do this. Think Craig's List. Can develop a lot of new business from past clients, make sure the caller is asking for referrals if they are satisfied with the installation! Those are great leads to follow up with…

Next try some new forms of reaching new business. I have been in marketing and advertising in one way or another since birth and it's the first thing that seems to be cut when times are bad. Advertising and marketing is always the first to go. Why? Most of them don't work! Either they are too expensive, not well thought out campaigns, statements that are too generic. Even if you have advertising that does work somewhat, how do you track your ROI? It is hard to track. How do you know what works and what doesn't?

I came across a great tool for small businesses a while ago that I truly love. It has a very low set up charge ($65.) it is totally trackable you only pay when it performs and it works! The Internet is the place where people find services and products they need, usually on their laptop, iPhone or Blackberry. If a dealer is not found locally on these devices they are missing their market. A web site is great but you are marketing the whole world. What a dealer needs is to be found by local buyers needing your service. Make sure you are found by your local buyers and drive those people to call you so you can sell them your services and home toys gear! Paying per call sure beats throwing money blindly out the window at yellow pages local magazines and mail coupons and hoping some comes back to you… with this service, you pay only when it works! You know when a call is coming in to you from the special marketing site with an introduction (Whisper call) before the caller starts talking telling you its form the site. So you know to switch gears and put on your sales hat and close the caller!

The tracking software is amazing and allows the user to see every caller that has used the service. This is an affordable sure -fire way to get qualified consumers calling. Bottom line it's cheap and it works. If your staring at the phone and don't know what to do this is the best solution I have ever found. Times are tuff now its time to try something new.

Get an attitude, call your old clients make sure they are happy ask for referrals when they are, get some new marketing tools and your miles ahead of sitting there staring at the phone. Then the technology and home toys we love can start flowing through your doors.
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