Ever notice that a typical kitchen/bath firm with multiple designers will probably present the company’s services to the public in numerous ways? Indeed, rare is the owner that has identified the best sales process for his entire team to be trained on and instructed to follow. Even rarer is the owner who has identified the best approach and documented it in an Operations Manual or embedded it in a software program.
Were that to be the case, it would be a triple “win” in terms of time efficiency and productivity: one for the consumer, a second for the sales designer, and a third for the business owner. Reflecting upon the changes I have witnessed in recent years, I have come to recognize that there could be as many as 10 “wins” when utilizing a standardized sales process. Let me briefly describe each of these “wins.”
Win #1: The Consumer Saves Time. The ideal, standardized sales process would deliver what the consumer of a new kitchen or bath wants most of all to make an informed buying decision: the confidence of a good design solution at an acceptable price. To save consumers time shopping around and waiting weeks for estimates to come in, designers need to quickly demonstrate how the mix of product choices and labor add up to a believable total. When a design professional can follow a sales process to deliver that outcome in an initial two-hour meeting, it’s a massive win for the consumer.
Win #2: Designers Sell More In Less Time. Too often, designers spend hours, sometimes days or weeks, arriving at a design solution and an estimate only to discover the project didn’t align with the prospect’s budget. A sales process that presents an accurate budget fast before creating a design puts the prospect’s interest first in saving them time; it will determine quickly whether designers genuinely have a qualified client or not. Adopting this qualifying strategy could save 75% in the time to earn a client commitment, which can translate into closing double the number of projects per year and at least doubling annual sales production.
Win #3: “Newbies” Self-Actualize Faster. If everyone on a design team follows the same proven sales process, it levels the playing field for newer teammates with less industry experience to perform well and achieve their respective sales goals. For some on the team who may be struggling, one selling system makes it easier to diagnose what additional training is required.
Win #4: Business Owners Scale Faster. Franchises are proof that a replicable, positive customer experience is central to successfully scaling operations. When kitchen/bath business owners get their design teams to adhere to a standardized sales process, they can position themselves to zoom past their competition by planting satellite showrooms. These additional locations can potentially earn double the desired pretax net profits of the flagship showroom through economies of scale.
Win #5: Vendor Sales Grow Faster. Vendors who service and support businesses using a standardized sales process become direct beneficiaries; in the short term, their product sales will grow faster than their other accounts. Relationships with these particular customers will strengthen. In time, these vendors will be more resilient to the adverse effects of a severe recession because their network will include these customers with more successful business models.
Counting Technological Innovation
Applying a successful standardized sales process to automation, a dealer can take their business to another level. Appropriately leveraged, sales process + automation = another five crucial “wins” that will generate positive growth ripples throughout the entire kitchen/bath industry.
Win #6: Business Owners Increase Enterprise Value. Ours is an industry where most design firm owners lack formal training in business management and marketing, often forced to make critical decisions based upon a “gut feeling.” With a standard sales system platform, owners can leverage real-time data to make smarter business decisions. Automation partnered with sales can provide timely reports, i.e., costs per lead, closing percentages, marketing costs per lead and other key performance drivers. By leveraging the platform, the enterprise valuation of all small businesses is significantly enhanced.
Win #7: Vendors Gain Timely Product Exposure. Were designers asked what’s the single most important thing a manufacturer could do for their products to be sold, they would likely hear: “Make it easy for me to sell your product.” Instead of reaching for product catalogs or binders off a shelf, it would be easier to access that same information if mounted on the same platform that designers use to track and sell their projects. The vendor’s products hosted in one area, visually apparent, would create a top of mind experience any designer would love. As more teams embrace this system, those same teams are exposed to the vendor’s product lines featured on the platform.
Win #8: Designers Gain A Single, Secure Pricing Source. With potentially hundreds of product lines available on a selling system software, designers will save time by securing product specifications and pricing from one application. But the ultimate “win” would be the reduction in profit erosion on jobs sold because vendors mounted on the sales system platform would maintain their product pricing accuracy. No more maintenance of product/price catalogs for all the lines a design firm represents!
Win #9: Designers Earn More Income Per Sale. Utilizing a “good,” “better” and “best” budgeting approach, consumers end up shopping within the design firm. The final project budget range is something the prospects ultimately “own.” By elevating this experience, prospects understand the real costs of a project and perceive the designer as an objective consultant who advocates for them. By demonstrating proof, using the platform tools, design firms can charge a lot more for their projects, and in turn, commissioned salespeople will earn more per sale.
Win #10: Vendors Gain Sharper Forecasting. With product lines mounted on the platform, vendors can significantly leverage their analytics to enhance their sales forecasting. They would be able to calculate with confidence the amount of business in their customer network pipeline. Additionally, they would gain insights into new product development and even save money on purchasing raw materials for their factories.
In conclusion, 2021 is a brand new year, a time to shed the old and start with a new, better way of doing business. A faster way to generate sales will deliver 10 outstanding outcomes for those kitchen/bath design firms willing to make an effective change for improved operational efficiencies and substantial revenue growth. ▪
Dan Luck owns Bella Domicile in Madison, WI. He has been a SEN Member since 2002 and has led the SEN Leadership Team since 2018, conducting scores of the group’s educational programs. Visit sendesigngroup/education for more information. Luck welcomes questions and comments at [email protected].