Speaker Offers Strategies for Prospecting Beyond the Showroom

by WOHe

Speaker Offers Strategies for Prospecting Beyond the
Showroom

Chicago Learning to identify and take advantage of your kitchen
and bath firm’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
can help you to expand your customer base, according to a
leading kitchen and bath industry speaker. 

The “S.W.O.T. Strategy,” as it’s called by Morton Block, CKD,
CBD, IIDA, of Morton Block & Associates, in Elkins Park, PA, is
based on identifying your kitchen or bath firm’s strengths,
weaknesses, business or growth opportunities and any competitive
threats, and then using these to prospect for new customers beyond
the showroom.

According to Block, who spoke here at the recent K/BIS, to
successfully employ the S.W.O.T. strategy, business professionals
should first list their company’s strengths and weaknesses,
examining each carefully to determine where and with whom the firm
should be doing business. 

Next, kitchen and bath dealers should list any existing
opportunities, which he sees as the key to analyzing a business.
Often, a business has many untapped avenues for growth that are not
identified, simply because no one takes the time to analyze
potential growth areas, he believes. Yet a successful firm knows
its strengths and uses these to open the door to new and existing
opportunities for growth.

Finally, any competitive or internal threats should be listed
and analyzed. Identifying and understanding these is the first step
in successfully preparing to “go prospecting,” Block believes, as
you can’t sell customers on your firm being the best, unless you
know what the competition has to offer, and can counter that.

Next, dealers need to get out there and make contacts, Block
notes. When it comes to prospecting new clients, the main business
channel should be the firm’s past customers, he believes, as these
can provide a wealth of contacts for future jobs. 

To reach these customers and use them as a source for new
business, he suggests hosting an open house for past and
prospective customers, offering a gift or dinner for referrals,
sponsoring a house tour of past customers’ homes for new prospects
(with refreshments included), and contacting surrounding neighbors
during a project to inform them of truck and trash procedures
something he sees as “a great opening for further
conversation.”

With regard to new channels worth exploring, Block offered the
following possibilities:

  • Interior designers. Designers can be contacted through various
    means, including professional groups such as ASID, IIDA, etc. In
    addition, the kitchen and bath dealer can throw an open house for
    trade professionals, where a brief demonstration about the company
    can be the main event.
  • Architects. Locating and working with architects can become an
    important part of new business, if the right approach is taken.
    Block recommends checking for names on blueprints, as well as
    investigating professional groups such as AIA. 
  • Builders. In looking for builders to work with, it’s important
    to be observant and look for new building starts in the area. Make
    suggestions about model home packages, and be consistent with
    follow up calls, Block advises. Again, check into professional
    associations such as NAHB.
  • Remodelers. While some may view remodelers as “the
    competition,” it’s important to note that they need to buy their
    products somewhere. “Why shouldn’t it be from you?” Block asks. He
    suggests looking for remodelers through professional groups such as
    NARI. 

Kitchen and bath dealers might also try to make contacts through
the listings in the Yellow Pages, or by employing other channels,
such as service clubs, civic groups, church groups, design schools,
home owner associations, appliance dealers, showhouses, mall shows,
banks, realtors, golf/social clubs, furniture stores and lumber
yards. Manufacturer and distributor leads are also a good source
for new contacts, Block notes

When making a connection through an association or organization,
it’s important to attend meetings and do some networking, Block
advises. The most important element, stresses Block, is to leave
the showroom and get out there.

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