Sales is the lifeblood of any business, and one metric that successful businesses can be measured by is sales. How many deals they close, how many leads they acquire and many more.
One job that can prove to be difficult is generating more business. Specifically, the type of business that you want to be doing. Most Home Technology companies would like to be doing more cinema and media rooms. They are generally more manageable, require less coordination with other trades and when managed correctly, profitable too. the aim of this blog is to provide you with a proven outline framework to help you win more of the type of projects you want to be doing.
Step One – Research Your Target Market (And Find Out What They Want)
The first step is to work out who you want to target. If your business has been trading for more than a few years one way to do this is to look back through past projects and analyse which ones worked well for you as a business. Which Clients did you engage well with? Which projects were the most profitable? And which projects were the easiest to manage?
From this list it is possible to start building patterns to understand which projects worked best for you as a business. It could be that turnkey projects worked well or projects with an interior designer, were the role of your business was just to implement the technology.
If you don’t have previous years of trading history to look back over, or this is a new market for you there are other ways to work out which market would be most suitable. Using the CEDIA industry research can be a great way of seeing what markets are out there and how much business there is based on past performance. Reaching out to contacts within the construction industry who you already know to gauge what type of projects they work on most frequently and how much budget those Clients have on average can help define which market you are looking to tackle.
The purpose is to narrow down to a small group of similar potential Clients. By doing this the marketing material can be a lot more personalised than a creative that’s targeting a £6k room to a £200k private theatre. Both require different approaches.
Armed with this knowledge it is then possible to find out what they want. Doing this can be a challenge but is worthwhile. Online research is one way and also speaking to other professionals in the industry as well as the construction/property industry as a whole.
Step Two – Define Your Offering
When your target market or markets have been decided on, look at how you are going to define your offering. Thought should go into several factors:
- Communication style – how do these people want to be communicated with
- Level of service – do they expect instant service or is a longer window of time more acceptable. Is a professional or more conversational approach more suited?
- What are you offering them? Turnkey media rooms, just the technology or something completely different.
Defining what you are offering and to who is important. By narrowing down the window of who you want to talk to and about what lets you really concentrate and figure out what is important to that group of people. An example of this could be a family with a lounge looking to spend some money on a solution to have a large format TV, some surround sound and the front wall looking great. What that Client wants is very different from what a Client building a new build house with plans for a dedicated basement cinema. You might decide you want to target both types of customer. The key is to make sure that your message and offering is 100% aligned with what that Client wants.
Getting your potential Client’s attention is very important. Demonstrating that by having the right tools & assets suitable for their requirements will help you increase your conversion rate.
Step Three – Work Out Your Plan of Who & How You Will Make Contact
Understanding the route into your potential Clients will help you waste less time and generate more quality leads.
Consider whether marketing directly to the end Client is appropriate and a good use of time and budget. If your key audience is sub £10k family lounge/media rooms in existing homes, then targeting affluent families directly is likely to work well. If larger dedicated cinemas are an area you are looking to target, architects, interior designers and bespoke home builders are likely to be a good contact.
Once you have established who you need to contact or make aware of your offering the next step is to decide how best to do that. There are many options available from using social media to either directly contact people, building a following, cold calling, emailing and meeting people at specific networking events. Once you have decided how to contact your target market it is worthwhile committing fully to it for a period of time. It is important not to give up too soon. The industry is niche and does take time and effort to generate good quality leads.
Step Four – Design The Details Of Your Pitch, Editorial And Creative
The details of your pitch can be anything from a brochure, to figuring out what works best on a cold call to a plan for social media advertising.
Building a plan out for your pitch is key to generating more leads. Aim to give out information that your target audience will find useful and relevant. Build a catalogue of resources and assets that you can go to based on the conversation or enquiry you’ve had.
A useful strategy for this is to build out a flow diagram that you can update as you learn more. This will also help you build a process to make it easier to get employees to follow how the task should be done.
When designing your content ensure that you position your company as competent and able to guide any potential Clients to the right choice for them. If you can, make the content about them, their requirements and end goals. Not too much about the business. People are not interested in how long the business has been around for and how much knowledge you have. They are interested in how you can solve their needs and problems and showing them that your business has the skills and competencies to do so. Highlighting recent awards for the type of work you are building content for is a great way to do that.
Step Five – Prospecting, Advertising & Creating A Following
Potentially the hardest piece of the process. Prospecting and creating a following. Both of these activities take time. There are so many mediums to connect with potential customers that going broad and advertising in a local magazine is unlikely to work. Find out exactly where your potential market spends their time (not necessarily in person, but digitally too).
Choose your options and stick with it for a decent period of time. If your preferred method of contacting Architects or other businesses is cold calling, engage with them on social platforms first. Arrange and agree a time to have a conversation about a specific set of issues or challenges that relate to your offering.
This step requires tenacity and the ability to stick with it and building a routine of doing the same activities that will produce conversations. It takes time but will ultimately build leads and contacts.
Step Six – Organising Your Leads, Following Up & Doing What You Say You Will
Having many conversations can be difficult to remember and whilst writing on paper or a notepad is essential during a call or meeting it is worthwhile looking at how you should organise your contacts and leads.
The most basic way is to use a spreadsheet. Use this to record details and conversations. Whilst a great way to get started and contact people on lists it may start to become difficult to manage as you engage with more people.
Businesses tend to use a CRM system to take record details of contacts and interactions. A CRM database can help you not only manage your contacts but also be useful for email marketing and tracking other metrics in the business. Popular CRM systems include Hubspot and Salesforce. There are many more varying in price and features that can help you get a handle on the business, set reminders to contact people and track the status of any deals you have in your pipeline. More affordable entry solutions similar to CapsuleCRM and PipeDrive also offer these features.
Step Seven – Staying In Contact – Nurture And Look After Your Leads
One conversation is unlikely to lead to a sale. A great way of building momentum and conversation with leads is to agree next steps. This could be sending out some more information, putting the Contact in touch with someone else you are able to recommend to help them with another challenge they are facing. Sales is a process and Home Technology typically has a long sales process. The bigger the scale of the projects that you are interested in the longer and more work you will need to put into building the relationship and nurturing the lead or contact.
A CRM can help you with this as you will be able to see the last time you made contact (assuming that it was noted down!) and the ability to set prompts to remind that it is time to reach back out again to that contact.
At this early stage of winning business price is unlikely to come into the conversation. The aim is to build good relationships and show that you are a trusted and reliable business to help your potential Customer with their need. Discussing lowest pricing and commoditising your offering shouldn’t be necessary.
Creating a plan, content and a strategy are essential to building new business relationships. None of these steps in this article are quick. It is also something that needs to happen continuously all the time. By doing this it can help to smooth out the peaks and troughs that so many dealers experience every year. Build a plan, stick with it and continually refine.
Don’t fall into the trap of ‘build it and they will come’. Chances are that they won’t. The potential to spend a lot of money with no sound marketing and prospecting plan isn’t a great place to be. Effort, thought and time spent on working out how to attract new business is a great use of energy!