The crisis may affect all of us, but it does not – however – hit everyone to the same extent. Complaining about the government certainly won’t solve the situation. And sticking to the same old sales techniques is not going to help you increase your revenue.
Times have changed and it’s vital that you keep pace. So, as well as focusing on best practices for selling construction materials, it’s important to keep an eye on the internet too.
The internet can be a valuable tool to help you advertise your construction materials and find new clients.
Promoting your store is a vital part of your business and – if done well – can produce great results:
- Introduce yourself to potential new clients;
- Maintain your relationship with current clients;
- Advertise initiatives in your store/sales point;
- Boost earnings.
Once upon a time, it was all about distributing paper flyers in the local area and advertising in local papers. But these are expensive methods and – in the age of the internet – simply don’t measure up anymore. Let’s face it, nowadays we connect with people via the internet and social media (Facebook users have passed the 1 billion mark worldwide; over half of all Italians have a Facebook profile that they look at every single day. ).
Therefore, it’s vital that you ensure you can be found where your customers spend their time. And no, we’re not talking about a construction site – we’re talking about social media! Building up an online presence can be beneficial for your business, not just your ego!
1. Use Facebook
Do you have Facebook page but find it’s not working the way you’d like?
Here’s a few tips on how to use Facebook to promote your business and potentially boost your earnings:
- Remember that this is your professional page, not a private account. You should run this virtual shop window as if it was your actual store: willingness, competence, positivity and professionalism.
- Speak with Facebook contacts as if they were real customers standing in front of your counter. And speak about the issues that interest them.
- You know exactly what a bricklayer wants when they come in to buy construction materials for insulating a house, so offer up advice and suggest solutions. Satisfied customers will come back and speak well of you to their colleagues.
- Set yourself targets in the area of communication. It’s vital to have something to aim for and good content to post!
But what should you promote on Facebook?
- Innovative product line
If your supplier has launched a new roofing product, take advantage of the brand’s advertising campaign and let it be known that you can offer this innovative new system. You’ll catch the attention of your existing customers, but you might also attract new customers interested in the product.
- Current trends
From experience, you know that certain construction tasks are done during the summer. So why not advertise products and materials to match that? Alternatively, if you notice that customers are asking you for environmentally friendly products, speak about the ones you stock. Follow the trends.
- Special offers on stock surplus
You can try to keep the economic value of your stock low by running small, bespoke promotions. Alternatively, set up a regular offer: for example, on the first Saturday of the month you could run discounts on site signage, or offer a discount on the cheapest product when customers buy three items.
And don’t forget to publicise this on Facebook and using newsletters!
2. Create display areas
As well as social media, you should create display corners using display materials from the supplier (or do so on your own). It’s always a great way of highlighting products that you’d like to sell more of, whether your aim is to get rid of warehouse stock or increase sales. And don’t forget about information provided by producers, paper resources or educational videos, all of which can be used to improve the display area.
Generally speaking, pay close attention to how you organise the space in your sales point, because good displays really do influence and facilitate sales.
3. Send emails
Don’t underestimate the efficacy of an email. Make an up-to-date list of contacts and send a regular newsletter with news, offers, promotions and educational content. In other words, keep your customer relationships alive!
4. Reward your clients
Give away small, useful, cheap items (measuring tape, t-shirts, caps, pens, shopping bags etc.) to your customers in order to publicise the name and brand of your store. You can also get suppliers and partners involved by running co-branding initiatives to keep costs down.
Of course, you can use social media to promote all of this.
So while promoting is hard work, the positive effects will soon be seen if you keep at it, adopt a joined-up approach and show commitment.
The only mistake you can really make is to hold onto old habits and not give it a go. Mutterings like “but my store is different, I don’t have time for all that, I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t have enough money…” just don’t cut the mustard. Everything is difficult until it becomes easy. So enough with the excuses!