There is no mystery that well-heeled clients buy our stuff and they usually buy when they are remodeling, building or reconfiguring their living space or spaces.
The marketing conundrum is that the target client and demographic is a bit hard to reach; often sheltered from the Internet and buying process because of their handlers or property managers.
The buying process usually is associated with the red zone cycle of the remodel or build. So timing is everything. Not to say there isn’t value in educating, promoting and creating awareness longer-term; all are good aspects of effective marketing.
But the real payoff seems to be in the trade partner channel; the architects, designers and builders. Why? Because very simply they get the client first.
Who starts a project without reaching out to one of these partners?
Yet, we see few very effective business development/marketing schemes to add a good partner every year. And frankly often because owners don’t think they can keep up with the business.
Most CI companies are creatures of necessity; meaning we go after new partners when the market is down or we lose a past valued partner.
If a partner can bring 4 – 5 healthy projects, $200K to $500K a year, the payoff is huge to any company. Adding one per year would certainly make for continued growth.
So why does it not happen more often? It can be a lengthy cycle and no return is guaranteed on your efforts. And, we haven’t bottled the formula. And you are busy. All are astute observations.
Here are a few tips on making your efforts work:
Listen and learn to speak their language.
You must fit into their paradigm first; their main goal is to serve their clients.
If they can learn how clients benefit from the work you do, they can advocate for you.
Lighting, shades, fixtures (now), stealth speakers and wall plates/receptacles should all fit into their scheme of high aesthetics. Conforming products can have significance to them.
Positioning your firm as a technology designer versus installer, low voltage guy, AV guy, or common tradesman is very important. Demonstrate how you are different and compatible with their design process.
The more you can emphasis your uniqueness without meaningless chatter the more impact you can make.
Having a presentation portfolio of innovative creative solutions that feel like you are the designer, architect or high-end builder will allow you to make their team.
Who should chase these opportunities?
Every salesperson needs immediate business and should be working strategically to develop more business.
In the best culture I ever worked in, the CEO would say: EVERYONE SELLS. Make the selling story known to all your people. They can all carry the flag.
Invest in your partners, they have your future in their hands.
Keep it Vital.