By Moe Lastfogel
Director of Sales and Marketing for The Retail Observer
In today’s world it can be very dif cult and sometimes frustrating to just wait for customers to walk through your door. When I worked the oor I found that networking was the best way to bring more customers to me.
Here are some tips that can make it easier.
Keep in mind that networking is about being yourself, building trust and relationships, getting help and helping others. Pick networking groups that focus on your industry, spark your interest and can get you to your desired goal; increased sales. I found that NKBA, ASID and NARI meetings were great places to meet designers and contractors.
At an Apartment Association trade show in Northern California, I came across a regional facilities manager looking to add laundry into a 1000 unit complex. We started a discussion regarding vented verses non- vented dryers. This conversation turned into an order for 1000 combo units delivered 2 months later and a few years later we did another order for an 800 unit complex. The client was able to add $150 per unit to the monthly rent - a profitable transaction for both of us.
Holding volunteer positions is another great way to stay visible and give back to networking groups that have helped you. If you become a resource for others in the group, people will turn to you for suggestions, ideas, names of other people and most importantly, business referrals. When you get referrals, remember to follow up with them quickly and efficiently since your actions are a reflection on those that refer you. Respect and honor this and your referrals will grow.
Networking can be as simple as a hello and a business card exchange. So, get out there, ask some questions, meet some people and have some fun.
By Eliana Barriga
Publisher and Managing Editor for The Retail Observer
Anyone who has ever painted their walls gray knows how hard it is to the get just the right shade. As in all paint color choices–the color takes on different hues depending on the lighting, ooring and the other colors re ecting from within the room and even from the outside! Gray is like the chameleon of the paint world.
I had a wall full of samples that looked “gray” in the paint store and on the swatches, but weren’t even remotely gray when I painted them on the real walls. But WOW! After taking the time to find the right shade and undertones for the space, the results were well worth the time and effort. The gray walls tied everything together perfectly creating the perfect foil to highlight the furniture, paintings and accessories in the room, making them “Pop”!
So, what’s your gray area? That part of your business you haven’t gotten just right yet? It could be your POS, inventory or accounting systems. How about your show floor displays and store signage? Maybe it’s your marketing strategy? Or could it be keeping your staff trained and motivated? Oh yes, you’ve tried working on these areas here and there but never quite got them working the way they should. But since they don’t cause a whole lot of disruption in your business, it’s easy enough to just ignore these areas and let them blend into the background of your day to day operations. But what if you actually took the time to get them right? How much better would your business run, look or feel?
We are all going to have gray areas in our business. But we can choose to treat them like ugly burdens that reflect our lack of effort or beautiful additions that highlight our accomplishments.
Until next time,