The Edge - Q4 2012 - (Page 9)
THE PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE |
by Robert Blanda
Are You Prepared to Respond to Changing Times?
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” – Richard Buckminster Fuller (American systems theorist, architect, engineer)
ARE YOU PREPARED to respond to changing times for
your business? As we emerge from this long, dark recession, we are being greeted by two stark realities: the Internet is everywhere, including on our cell phones; and our customers have changed the way they do business, probably forever. What this means for you and me is that we must “adapt or die.” There is no nice way to put it, and no middle ground or safe course to take. Either we rethink and retool our business model or we won’t have a business to retool in another five years. I had a conversation recently with a highly successful businessman who I greatly admire. He’s in the automobile business, not the pool business, but what he said applies to our business in spades. He has partial ownership in 25 car dealerships and does very well. As a man known for thinking outside the box, he is invited yearly to Japan along with 23 other U.S. dealers to sit on a board and discuss new technology and forecast future consumer trends and the effects of the Internet on the sa les process. When it was his turn to speak, he explained that the days of trying to make a killing on each car are over. The typical car dealer wants to make just as much money as possible from each car sale. The problem is, today’s customer is younger, more Internet
savvy and has been through tough economic times. Further, that customer can fi nd the cost of any product that he wishes to on the Internet. His suggestion was to change the way the consumer buys a car, get rid of the “game” and the negotiating; no one likes it. Just mark down the sticker to allow for a reasonable mark-up on each car. Make the buying experience a pleasure, not something people dread! When he got fi nished speaking, only one dealer understood what he was talking about. For the others, it would be business as usual. Our car dealer said that on the service side of the business, every customer had to be charged alike – the same price for the same service! No going to Al at the service desk and being charged $279 for service, while if you get Frank, the charge may be $249. On selling pool products, our dealer said that even though internet-savvy customers know the cost of product, they are willing to pay a certain mark-up – perhaps 15-20 percent – over what they could pay on the Internet, but only if the sales process is handled in a professional manner and they have a good experience. Translated to the pool business: We cannot sell a product that costs us $1,500 for $2,400 plus labor anymore. If we handle the sale in a professional ma n ner, perhaps we can get $1,799 plus our labor. A professional manner would be to deliver the promised product on time (not one day late!) and remove the old unit and all boxes from the site. You will make less mark-up on your products, but you will sell more and there is still the opportunity for future sales.
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Edge - Q4 2012
The President’s Message
Marketing to the Affluent at Higher Margins
Are Your Labor Rates Killing Your Business?
Chlorine in the Air and What to Do About It
Index of Advertisers
The Edge - Q4 2012