Kitchen & Bath Design News recently posed the question to dealers and designers in the kitchen and bath industry: “What sales and marketing practices have worked best for you?” Following are some of their responses:
“I think sales and marketing are about getting out there face-to-face with people, stopping into their place of business, seeing them at networking events and building relationships through person-to-person situations. I’ve done a lot of mailings recently and written articles for the local ASID magazine. It’s a matter of keeping in the forefront of people’s minds.
Through the mail, I can give clients a lot of information, then call on them and find out if they have any questions, and [in cases where our clients are from the trade end] ask what they’re seeing in the marketplace and what type of jobs they are getting. I want to know what they are seeing, especially any shift in the marketplace from their perspective.
We host educational seminars for the public, and through those we try to build an image as an expert in the field and in this area. We participate in the round table discussions on kitchen trends. I’m also putting together a seminar on wise investment remodeling.”
Kathy Manoil, Design Consultant
“We’ve had success in sales and marketing in a variety of ways. We’ve sent out fliers to old clients whose neighborhoods we’ve remodeled in. We send out fliers to other people to show what we’ve done in a home in their neighborhood. We’ve met with contractors, architects and other designers to drop off brochures.
We focus on keeping previous clients happy, too. We do a lot of different things around town. We do a lot with the interior design associations and contribute to their shows. Designers are a big part of our feedback, as well. The more we work with them, the more they send clients our way.
We touch base with previous clients every once in a while. We send them thank you cards. We call them to check in and make sure their kitchen is doing well and to see if there is anything they need. We touch base and make contact, because staying in touch keeps the relationship strong.”
Tracy Lund, Designer
“Professional and in-depth sales training is one of the best ways to propel your business. We also rely heavily on repeat business and referrals from previous clients.
I think our length of time in business and our exceptional customer service work to our advantage. Empathy with the customer is also a very important thing. Part of the sales process is finding out what the wants and needs of the customers are, understanding what their budgets are and delivering what they’re looking for.
The most important thing is to have everybody in your organization focus on customer service from the time the client comes through the door. How people greet, meet and treat the customers is a most important marketing tool. It’s more important than literature and advertising. Your salespeople, who are also often your designers, are the key ingredient to exceptional sales and marketing.”
John Fecke, owner
The Kitchen Company
North Haven, CT
“My Web site has probably been my most effective sales and marketing tool. The Web site puts me directly in touch with my target. I get a lot of inquiries that way.
I think having a good Web site is important. I think having a Web site at all, having the ability to communicate with people, hits a market. The Web site puts me geographically farther than I can service projects, but it certainly opens up a market wider than word of mouth or even local media would take me.
I’m a cabinet dealer as well as an interior designer and kitchen and bath specialist. Having manufacturers you can do co-op marketing with is great, because you can leverage what you might not be able to do individually with the company. Their national and regional marketing tools turn a simple inquiry someone might see in a regional or national magazine into a personal follow up call from me. It represents to the client that I’m very service oriented. I think people now are crying out for service with a personal touch, which is one of my specialties.”
Shirley Hammond, FASID
“Word of mouth has worked as the best sales and marketing practice for me. You have to make sure you treat your customers properly. If they are happy in the end, they will tell their friends.
I don’t do any sort of mass marketing. This is a small town with a specialized market. I find if you can get yourself out there in the right groups, that’s what it takes to get your name out. Then you just have to follow up.
I have repeat clients all of the time in both kitchens and baths. If you end up helping them with one project, you often end up helping them with the other at some point.
I think it’s important to be involved in your building community and with the people who are trying to build safe and efficient homes. If you keep in contact with people and get the networks going, it just falls into place from there.”
Carolyn Foelsch, owner
Creative Kitchen Designs