Photo by Andrea Piacquadio
In a lot of ways, Building Supplies sell themselves – a fundamental need drives sales. You either get the lumber, or the house doesn’t get built; get the pipes, or no toilets and sinks. Marketing for these products can be deceptively easy, because in most cases the very fact that someone is walking through your door means they’re going to walk out with at least a basic product. At the same time, very few building suppliers deal solely in pipes and 2×4’s, and since it can be anywhere between 5 and 25 times less expensive to sell to a returning customer than a new one, cross-selling all that other stuff you carry can be the key to your success.
1. Sell What Doesn’t Sell Itself, and Sell to Existing Customers
A good customer comes in, buys something, and leaves. A great customer does that more than once. You don’t want just good or great, though; you want the best customer you can get. The good news? It’s not hard to turn a good customer into the best customer, and once you do, you’ll have somebody who not only spends more, but spends more frequently.
By the time they get placed on hold, your caller is probably already in the “good customer” category. No one calls a plumbing supply store and wonders “gee, I wonder if they sell PVC,” just like no one walks into a lumber yard wondering if he can get a 2×4 there. They know that already. They’ve already come to you for those things.
What you want to do is turn that good customer into your best customer, and that means surprising them. Did they know you just got that brand new cordless line of industrial tools in? You know, the one only wholesalers like you and industry insiders know about? What about your custom welding shop? The deal you just signed with that big-time HVAC vendor allowing you to sell their products at prices that no one else can match?
Using your On Hold Messaging to tell your customers about all the things they didn’t know they needed turns your phones into their own automated sales team. Don’t leave money on the table making that sales team sell what you already know is walking out the door in high volumes.
2. Don’t Limit Yourself to One or Two Generic Messaging
It’s true, people care about their customer experience, and they care about it a lot. They’re willing to pay for a better experience. You can definitely give them this by reminding them how important you consider them, and thanking them. Then again, have you ever been placed on hold and not heard “thank you for calling”?
After a certain point, this is the bland, boring, generic message that does exactly the opposite of what you want it to do. It’ll do the bare minimum, keeping callers on the line. Then, you have a good customer. To get the best customer, though, you can’t limit your messaging, or you limit your sales potential.
After all, you’re in business to give customers what they need. On hold messaging is a great opportunity to do more than just tell them how valued they are – show them by reminding them how much you can actually do for them. That’s going to take more than just one or two messages saying “thanks”. At the same time, you don’t want to overload your callers—so give them enough to impress them, but not so much they can’t digest it. The best way to do this is to find the two kinds of product that move the least: the less well-known product from a well-known vendor, and a popular piece of equipment from a less-popular vendor. Your customers, for example, probably don’t think much about the fact that Milwaukee makes reliable hammers and pliers if they’ve only ever purchased their power tools, just like they might be willing to get their ductwork and insulation from a brand they’ve never heard of if you’ve got it at the right price and they trust you to give good advice.
So, by all means, thank you customers for calling – but don’t stop there. Show them you appreciate them by letting them know all you have to offer. (A good way to do that, by the way, is to find an on hold provider who knows how to write good marketing copy for your industry)
3. Use On Hold Messaging to Automate Sales, not Customer Service
On Hold Messaging automates important elements of your business, and part of what makes it so important is that very fact. What you choose to automate with it, though, makes all the difference in terms of effectiveness. We’ve already mentioned in other articles that your customers on hold are in a waiting room; keeping them in there is the bare minimum.
You have their attention – use it! Your On Hold Messaging should reflect all of your current marketing plans. Got a new vendor? Talk about that on hold! Running a deal? Your callers would love to know about it! Do you have warranties no one else has? Why don’t your callers know about that?
Maybe your marketing team doesn’t have much experience with On Hold Marketing. That’s okay! Hire someone who does, and who understands marketing well enough to consult with your sales team and provide what your sales strategy has been missing – an automated arm that drives your callers right to your salespeople.
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