Having a presence in a big box store like Home Depot, Sam’s Club, or even local retail chains like your neighborhood hardware store, have proven to be very viable lead sources for many remodeling contractors across the country. Not only do these relationships provide small businesses with a steady flow of leads, but they also give them an affiliation with a larger more recognizable name to add trust and credibility to their cause. As a result, companies who have been able to negotiate space or the presence of their staff in these stores have been able to realize a number of benefits.

In addition to the obvious benefit of more leads, there are some additional advantages to teaming up with local and national retailers. First off, many companies boast higher conversion rates with leads from this genre. Statistical analysis indicates higher conversion rates on issued leads, demo rates, closing percentages, profitability, and retention when compared to other neblius lead sources. Furthermore, by inhabiting this valuable retail space, it allows companies to level out some of the seasonality that is inherent with the industry. Companies that have a strong focus on canvassing or show & events have a place to send their well trained staff members. They may otherwise lose these employees as a result of bad weather or an intermittent show schedule.

Now that we understand the benefits of establishing a presence in the retail arena, let’s examine in-store process as well.  Your primary focus should be to develop a strong relationship with the store management.  Having this rapport could prove to be extremely vital in maintaining a long term presence in their store.  Therefore, it is always advisable to gain approval on your company’s practices while working in their domain. Present them with your scripts and training manuals and ask for their feedback and endorsement before you begin engaging their customers. Any changes to such policies and procedures should also be submitted to gain their consent as well. Having said that, allow me to share what some of my clients and I have found to be most successful.

Engaging shoppers can be challenging.  Many consumers are in a hurry to get in and get out. And they are rarely eager to flirt with sales people. Especially when they are promoting products that are totally unrelated to their visit to the store. Therefore, effective interacting with these consumers will be crucial to the over-all success of your lead generation efforts.

The survey approach tends to be quite successful. Permit me to demonstrate:

Can I help you find anything today?

No. I’m okay thanks

Well, we are asking club members to participate in a brief 8 question survey. Would you mind helping me out today?

Sure

1.    How often do you shop here on a monthly basis?

3 – 4 times

2.    Do you shop for home, business, or both?

Both

3.    Are you satisfied with your over-all experience?

Yes

4.    How many miles do you live from this location?

6 miles

5.    How long have you lived at that address?

9 years

6.    Do you own or rent your residence there?

Own

7.    Do the monthly energy bills there exceed $100?

Yes

8.    If  you had member benefits that were free of charge to help you lower your monthly energy bills would you want to know about them?

I suppose so

Well, as part of your member benefits, Sam’s has designed a service that is designed to help you lower your monthly energy bills. We actually have a free service whereby we send a trained consultant out to your home. They take a look in your attic, at your hot water tank, and inspect your windows and doors. When they are done they will make some sound recommendations to help save you money. Some of these recommendations will just be good common sense that is often over-looked.  In other cases the recommendations we make will cost real money like replacing windows, doors or adding solar energy or insulation. In any case, we will leave our recommendations behind in writing and we will estimate the cost of these suggestions and provide you with a price quote that is valid for one full year. With that in mind, are you available in the afternoons, or are the evenings better for you?

This survey approach tends to be a warmer less invasive way of approaching consumers. As a result your staff members are likely to engage more shoppers and set more appointments.  Good luck in the stores this year! As always, for more training and assistance in this area please feel free to contact me.

Cheers,

Tony