Some of my most popular posts in this blog have been based upon sales and marketing. In this article I'd like to explain how some companies impede their sales by putting too many constrictions on their success.
THEORY OF CONDITIONAL SUCCESS
In life too many people place conditional limits on their success. An example would be to say something like "Whenever I get a promotion, I'm going to start coming in to work early" or "Whenever I sell all the dead stock of this ugly maple I'll bring in a new maple". With conditional success we put limits on succeeding and tie them to things that are completely unrelated or in some cases they are even conflicting to the success. As you can see above, it may be a good idea to start coming in early in order to get the promotion now. Or in the case of the dead stock, the fact that one item is not selling has no correlation over whether or not the new maple will or will not sell.
WE ARE VEHICLES FOR THE DELIVERY OF DESIGN
Think of me or yourself as a vehicle to deliver a color or design. The market itself may or may not accept a new color or texture however the less restrictions we put on that discovery the better. Some restrictions can be things such as:
"I dont' like this color but its up to you". If you think of about it, your like or dislike of a color should never be forced on a client. Imagine if you sold cars at BMW and someone who liked blue cars came in and test drove a new 7 series and you commented "Its a nice car, too bad its blue". Taste in color is a personal opinion and its also about awareness. Because you are unaware of how to use a color in interior design yourself does not mean its impossible to make it look good. The consumer knows better what they want.
"I have too much inventory". The market itself does not care if you are carrying too much inventory of dead items. Imagine if you have too much dead stock of green or Sanibel maple and so you use this as an excuse not to bring in new items. The market itself may have demand for particular colors however the market itself has no care over how much dead inventory you or I have of non selling colors. Not bringing in new colors because of having too many old colors is a version of conditional success. Its like saying "I will start selling more new colors whenever I get rid of the old colors that are not selling" One has nothing to do with the other. I am not suggesting that you over extend yourself but its important to identify if we are in fact putting limitations on ourselves and then examine it.
THEORY OF FALSE CORRELATION
The theory of false correlation is where we draw conclusions based upon seemingly correlated facts however in truth there is no direct correlation. Imagine if you are a component producer who has been around since the 90s and most of your colors are HPL matches. I could show you a new Tafisa match and you could bring it into your stock and have no sales. You may say "This color doesnt sell" however thats a false conclusion because it could be a top 10 seller for me. A more accurate statement would be "I dont currently have many customers who use Tafisa board and most of my clients are refacers" That would be an accurate conclusion and therefore explain the poor sales results for that color. So by creating false correlations we operate business based upon false data and then make decisions based upon false data. Clarity and understanding of the market is key.
BAD POLLING RESULTS
Sometimes I have spoken to door producers and I've heard them say "Well I just put the door out on my counter display and we will see if the market likes it". Does this accurately depict their entire customer base or just the refacers who pick up the doors themselves personally? Its clearly a selected demographic of just their counter sales and not of their entire sales. Its quite possible that their cabinet customers who are decision makers may not pick up their doors personally and may have them delivered. So the sampling is skewed. Dont feel bad about poor polling though.... Whenever you watch or read the news listen to their poor poll results. They will draw conclusions about public schools based upon a poll they did in Manhattan. Not exactly a national sampling to draw any type of consensus.
POOR LIMITATION OF SUPPLIERS
Another thing I will commonly see is when a company may buy all their laminate from one company. When I ask them about this they say "Well we like so and so sales rep" or "Their freight costs less" or "We like to consolidate our suppliers". Although when we are the company exclusively supplying them it seems great but at what expense? The overall success of our customers is the most important factor and laminate should not be purchased the same way that you buy boxes. Each laminate supplier will have a list of top 10 sellers and the reality is that sticking to just one supplier can hurt your sales over all. There is definitely some merit in focusing on 2 or 3 suppliers to get purchasing power or to demand more service and to diversify however sticking to one supplier will only limit your growth except in rare circumstances.
LIMITATION OF SAMPLES
Another thing one can do to limit sales is to having too few sample chains. If you ever find that you do not have enough sample or literature and you are selected which interested buyers do or do not get samples then this can cause a severe limitation in sales. Its an example of a way we can stand in our own way to selling more.
PREMATURE DELETION OF COLORS FROM STOCK
Another example of how we can hurt ourselves is by premature deletion of colors from the stock line up. Imagine if a laminate, board or door company takes on a new color and it can take 6 months to a year to first create awareness by distribute the samples and then the market itself must be timed properly for that shade of color. Tastes change and imagine if a board company releases a color too soon, takes 6 months to get samples out, distributors dont take the color into their line and then the color is deleted before it becomes relative. Its difficult to do however the timing of colors is critical and that is to have the right color be released at the right time to create relevance. If a board company discontinues an item, under most cases this will kill the 3DL sales.
NOT ENOUGH SALES REPRESENTATION
Most component, laminate and furniture producers in this industry do not have enough sales representation. The problem with this is that it means that our sales become limited to a core group of customers or based upon existing demand. I often notice that if we have a duplicate to another film company or in many cases they have a duplicate to ours that suddenly our sales will grow. Logic would suggest that if I were the only one to have this color that I should get all the sales but its quite the contrary. The market movement of more people promoting colors creates a larger over all market. By not having enough sales representation we limit our sales to only the existing demand and no new fresh business is created or discovered.
In conclusion, the key for us all is to step out of the way of ourselves in order to let the market and the colors do the work. By eliminating conditional success, holding our opinions to ourselves, diversifying supply, distributing adequate samples and being patient and consistent we can better discover if a color has potential or not.
Design Life blog
Color inspiration from around the world, backstories on design inspiration and informative articles about marketing, membrane pressing and personal development. Author Mark Viers delivers fresh content that will help you and your business grow and thrive.
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