More than 95 percent of the homes that we will see in our lifetime are already built. That is a lot of potential business for an industry that has focused almost entirely on new construction.
So where do we start? We, as an industry, will only be able to provide service and thereby restrict the infusion of additional competition by each taking on this market segment one day at a time.
Where to Start
Each of us needs to have as part of our business plan a way to address the retrofit market; otherwise history will repeat itself. The history lesson is that all under-served markets get filled by someone.
What you can do is drive your markets, see where the money exists, create a plan, and execute it. Where do the big houses exist? Who lives in them? What do the owners do for entertainment? What do they read and watch on television? What restaurants do they frequent? What parties do they attend and which charities, clubs and special events do they participate in?
Study these people, learn how to get in front of them, and then put together killer packages that they will be interested in and that you can install profitably. Packages will limit the options, simplify the sale, and enable more profitability once the installation is complete.
When considering installable and profitable designs, think home theater and a few rooms of multi-room audio. Those two systems are still this industrys easiest to install and most profitable to sell. Figure out how to sell the same thing over and over again, and focus on the profits.
Getting Face Time
Now that you have found the market and have created the packages that you want to sell, how do you get in front of potential clients? Tough question, but whatever you do, dont do what all the other Schmoes are doing (creating a tri-fold and mailing it to them). Instead, figure out a unique way of getting your message in front of these folks. Use charity events, contests, television, or any other creative manner you can come up with. It needs to be creative and effective because today there are so many things competing for those disposable dollars.
Figure out a way to sell the same thing OVER and OVER again and FOCUS on the PROFITS
Be aggressive, price your products lower then the big box stores and capture the attention of your local market. If you cant afford to advertise, how about creating a referral program that pays people to give you business? It wont cost you a penny until someone brings you a system sale. Get your imagination going; there has got to be a way for your market to know about you.
Now that you have their attention, you have to get it sold and installed. Make sure that you have a sales system that is quick and simple. Remember that people dont want to waste time talking to the stereo guy. Figure out a way to get in, get the signature, and get out. Even a simple clipboard and single-page sales sheet that has the packages listed is a good start.
When it is time to install, take a full crew and get it done in one day. Flood the house with workers. There is nothing more frustrating to a home owner then having the installers come back day after day after day. Blow their socks off with outstanding customer service. Clean their entire house as you get ready to leave, including the bathrooms. They will be talking about your company for years to come. Ask them for a referral and go sell another system just like the one you just installed.
Get fired up! Remember, there are still 98 point something percent of the existing homes out there in your market that want what you sell. Lets get going before someone else discovers this outstanding money-making opportunity.
Steve Hayes is VP of sales for SpeakerCraft in Riverside, California.