I had a very interesting conversation with a colleague in London about the British refinish market. I realized that one serious problem is common for all of the refinishing paint markets globally. The issue is that many paint shops and jobbers are not traders anymore; they are merely branches, subsidiaries of big producers!
Your customer needs more than just a place where materials are stored; he needs a partner, problem solver and knowledgeable guide in the maze of different products.
Unfortunately, many big producers simply want you to be a speechless stockist, a point of distribution. They will tell you that the entire promotion job will be done by them, and you are supposedly given an easy part – to keep physically their products within customer’s reach. The truth is that they want you weak and dependable; in order to squeeze your margins, enslave you in so-called bonus system with a few percent given in the end of the year. In turn, you will be forced to sacrifice your margins in order to get the requested annual figures. It sounds like a vicious circle, doesn’t it? The solution is simple – be what you are supposed to be – a trader. Be a professional who knows what he sells, why he sells it, and, most importantly how to sell paint or any other paint refinishing materials or tools!
Selling is a very complex process. To be successful trader, you need to master this process and work on constant improvement. Below skills are necessary and can be learned:
- Asking the right questions that will assist your customer in making buying decision. No matter how long you know your existing customer, there are so many issue about his work you may not have even the slightest idea.
- This is a precious skill needed in work and personal life. Listen sincerely what a bodyshop fellow has to tell you, try to catch some clues he is giving you. Frequently your customer refers to his everyday problems and challenges. Maybe you will spot an opportunity to sell additional piece of equipment or product to solve this problem.
- Presentation skills. Here we do not necessarily refer to Powerpoint slide presentation. Short video shown on a tablet, sample, leaflet or any other could do the trick. Use references from other satisfied customers.
- Organizational skills. Finding time in between everyday chores is difficult. Time management is crucial. Reserve time for the market research, visiting trade exhibitions and preparing proper presentations.
- Concentrate on the products, which you would like to promote. Trying to upsell your existing customer base with too many offers or products will not work.