You know you have great fencing products. You know you have the staff and service to back up what you sell. But how do you beat the competition when other fencing companies in your area sell similar products?
You can succeed in a competitive market by offering your customers the best combination of product, service and price.
So, how can you stay on top as a fence retailer when you are not the only game in town? By targeting your customer, defining what you do best, telling your own story, making things easy for your customer and advertising smart, you will carve out a niche business that keeps you, your employees and your customers all satisfied. Here are ways to sell fences in a competitive market:
1. Target one customer.
Who do you want to target with your products? Now is the time to market your fences to that specific group.
Who is your ideal customer? A homeowner? A contractor. Both?
Where does your customer live and work?
How many of these people drive by your business regularly?
Why should your ideal customer buy your fencing products?
What can you offer your customer that another fence retailer cannot?
What time of day/week/month/year is your ideal customer more likely to make a purchase?
How quickly does your customer make a buying decision?
What are the most important aspects of the purchase according to your customer?
2. Define what you do better than your competitors.
What are you most proud of when it comes to your business? Chances are pretty good that it is your staff members and the service they provide.
You can compete with others selling the same products as you do by adding the benefit of excellent customer service. Find ways to elevate the entire buying experience at your business. One way to accomplish this is to change your way of thinking about what you offer.
You are not just selling a product—fencing materials—you are selling something that will make your customers’ lives better. Fences improve lives by keeping what we value safe.
Your products are designed to guard people, animals
and property. They also enhance the appearance of your clients’ homes and businesses. Any way you look at it, that’s pretty important. Are you stressing that aspect of a fencing purchase to your customer? Or are you selling only price?
Next, think about your customer service as a product you are selling. Your employees’ knowledge of the products you sell and how they will meet your customer’s needs is a valuable commodity.
Top-quality, reliable service is something people will pay more for, and they will reward you with repeat business because of it. Work on building lasting relationships with your customers. Learn their names and ask them about their lives.
Promote your service along with your products because it is just as important to your customers. Also, emphasize your company’s reputation for honesty and integrity in all your promotional materials.
3. Tell Your Story
Think about the most successful businesses today. Each one has a unique story to tell.
Every business is telling a story. Your fence business is no different. Whether you like it or not—or whether you intend to or not—you are communicating your values.
Everything you do in your business is “writing” that story. This includes how your business looks, your signs, the cleanliness of your facility, the attitude of your employees, the professionalism of your installers, your business card—everything is “telling” your story.
Your goal is to tell your story the way you want to tell your story. Tell your story on purpose. For example:
What is your company’s story?
Are you a family business?
Do you have long-term employees?
Have you grown along with your community?
Think about what makes you unique in the fencing business and share that story with your customers. They will enjoy knowing more about who they are doing business with, and it will help make them more loyal to your business.
4. Make Things Easy For Your Customer.
When you focus on your customer instead of on your product, many things will fall into place.
What can you do to make purchasing fencing at your business as worry-free and hassle-free as possible?
Here are a few ideas to consider:
Use fencing displays that show your selection to its best advantage.
Have an up-to-date website with clear photos and descriptions of your inventory.
Use transparent pricing that is easy to understand.
Add services such as free delivery to contractors and no-hassle returns.
According a 2017 study by Walker, an international consumer intelligence firm, customer experience will be far more important to consumers than price and product by 2020.
Walker defines “customer experience” as the perception your customers have of the way your company treats them. These perceptions drive their loyalty to your company as well as their recommendations of your company they may make to others.
Many times, we think that price is the main thing our customers are looking for, but your customer is really seeking value.
5. Advertise Smart.
Explore ways you can attract more of these ideal customers.
What is the best way to reach them? Possibilities include better signage, ads on local radio/TV and print media, e-mail marketing and social media marketing.
What has worked for you in the past to attract your customers? What has failed? Maybe it is time to try something new to reach a wider customer base or, if you have been going broad with your promotions, maybe it is time to narrow your focus.