March 15, 2010

Increasing Sales in the Glass Industry Part 2

By Paul Bieber

Let’s Do It Again…last week we discussed no-cost ideas that will bring in customers. Here are ideas that do work. You’ll have to decide if the investment is worth it…or maybe move resources from another area.

Advertising. It really does work. Magazines, newspapers, billboards and imprinted Frisbees really do help draw business to your company. It is a question of how much you pay for each view of your ad, and then if those views bring customers to your shop.

At one time glass shop advertising consisted of the Yellow Pages and an occasional ad in a local shopper newspaper. The biggest firms did some radio and TV, certainly not the average glass shop’s venue. Today, the Internet is replacing the yellow pages. As you are reading this blog on the Internet, you know well that this is the future.

Spread your advertising around. A full page ad in the yellow pages is eye-catching, but it is NOT efficient. Place many smaller ads in various sections: Glass, Mirror, Doors, Windows, Home Improvement, Shower Doors, Bathrooms, Auto Glass, Screens, Board-Up Services, Bullet Resistant Products, Safety Glass, Decorative Glass, and so on.

In all advertising, in any medium, REPETITION is more important than big and bold.

So whether you add to your ad budget, or reallocate current spending, don’t let your mind get lazy. Look at your advertising each year, and change it to fit the economy and your budget.

The Internet. Every glass shop should have a web site. It doesn’t need to be twenty pages with cartoons and songs. It can be two or three pages. You want your customers to find you with a search engine. Many surveys have said that people who are spending money are using the Internet more and more every day, with Yellow Pages use declining.

Don’t be afraid. You don’t have to do it yourself. There are plenty of companies that will do the whole thing for you. Many web sites have a designer’s name at the bottom of the first page. Look at sites of various local merchants, see one that you like, and click on the designer’s name, or look them up on your search engine. A simple three or four page site should cost you no more than $2,000, and should be less. You can try one of the national providers, like ‘’.

Make sure that you own the web-site, not the developer, so you can change on your own if needed. Sure you can try creating the web site yourself, but unless you are still in third grade, give up. Let a pro do it.

Hire a salesperson. There are a many great sales people out of work now. Place an ad for a salesperson on straight commission, with your company paying expenses. Create a viable commission program for what business Mollie Salesperson can bring in. Your costs are the sales literature you need to give Mollie, business cards, your time to train her to positively portray your company, the expenses, and if she is good, place her on your benefits programs. She may stay with you for six months to a year, until she can get a job with a weekly paycheck, but you will get your name out there, and gain business at a relatively low cost. This is an interesting and complicated topic, so I will expand on this in a further blog.

Give a financial incentive to your current staff. This is often complicated and can cause problems. But it can be simple and easy. Read on. Most small businesses don’t share their sales figures with employees. You don’t have to share profit figures, but most of your employees can roughly guess what your gross is. They see the work and some see the dollars as they come in.

Here is your ‘to-do list.’ Find last year’s sales by month, and get an average of the three months before and after you want to start this program. Tell your employees this is what your average was last year, and if you beat it for the coming month, everyone gets a cash bonus. The amount is based on how far you beat it. Let’s say a 5% increase gets everyone X dollars. A 10% increase should be 3X, and a 15% increase would be 6X. If you hit a 20% increase, go to 10X. ‘X’ can be $5 or $10 dollars, it can start small and grow with the increase in sales. Show your employees the sales figures weekly and get them involved. Teach them to ask customers, “What else can our firm do for you?”, and “Can you recommend us to your friends and neighbors?” It is easy to create your own contest. In the employee lunch room, show a chart with daily or weekly sales. Have the employees write a wish list with what they would do with the 10X bonus and keep the contest alive for two or three months. Don’t go longer than that, as employees will begin to think of it as automatic, and then when you want to end this promotion, it will bring grumbles.

There are many more ideas … next week we will continue these thoughts.