June 28, 2011

I Bought A New Car…Big Deal…But I Learned a Few Things That Will Help a Glass Shop

By Paul Bieber

My 2004 Chevy flunked the state inspection the other day, and it kicked me over the edge to buy a new car. In my area of New Hampshire you don’t have the option of going from dealer-to-dealer looking for deals. There is one Chevy dealer and one Ford dealer, along with all of the imports. I was only going to buy American, so I had two choices.

The Chevy dealer has a very small showroom, only four cars fit in. Two of the cars were antiques, not for sale. Just there to draw traffic in. Even though they were cool to look at, the car I wanted to buy was nowhere near. It was a nice day so we walked out on the lot. If it had been raining, or in the winter, I would have left without seeing a car. The lesson for you: Show off what you sell. Don’t put things in your glass showroom or waiting room that have no meaning to what you sell. It is nice to show tradition in a small way, some pictures of your family, but your main impetus has to be showing products you currently work with and make money from. The person is in your waiting room or showroom; they don’t have to be convinced to come in the door!

The salesman did a good job of working with me, and I may buy his car. I met the owner of the dealership and he was proud of his antiques, but didn’t discuss the car I was about to buy. A business no-no.

My next stop was the Ford dealer. The had a much larger showroom, and the car I wanted was right there. I sat in it 15 seconds after entering the showroom. This had an impact. But wait…there is more.

While the salesman walked away from me to research a question on paying by credit card ( I wanted the airline miles), the radio station that was being played overly loud in the showroom had TWO commercials for other car dealers. I listened to the competition in their showroom. If buying in imported car was on my target list, there it was…a very good deal on the style of car I wanted.

SiriusXM radio, on an all music package is only $9.99 a month , no commercials, and has 65 music channels, serving every taste in music. Come on now…isn’t that better than hearing a competitor’s ad in your own store. Also, when you play the local station, there is usually a political point of view. If you play a conservative radio station, you will upset half of the population…and of course you will upset the other half if you play a station with a liberal bias. Your showroom is not the place to promote an agenda other than selling your product!

Don’t place magazines in your showroom that feature religion, guns, or politics. There are enough construction, home improvement, architectural and decorating magazines around that every thing in your showroom should encourage customers to ask you questions about glass. Every one of your vendors should give you catalog sheets or brochures that will help you develop business.

Make sure your customer bathrooms are spotless. A dirty bathroom will guarantee that customer will not return to your shop in the future. Are you the great-nephew of Elvis Presley? If you are not, his picture should not be in your showroom. The best things for your walls are actual job pictures of your work and testimonial letters from your customers.

If you have a coffee pot for customers, make sure it is clean and refreshed often. If you have a vending machine for coffee or snacks, keep it clean and well stocked. Don’t depend on a traveling route salesman to come in and clean it. The machine represents you and the pride you have in your establishment and your work.

You have a captive audience for a few minutes; use it to your advantage in the glass business.