… not the Grim Reaper!

By Rich Lindblom, YSN

For the past 20 years, my siblings and I have been urging our parents to sell their way too big house, sitting on their way too large property, and get out of Chicago for somewhere warm. 

And for 19 of those years, my mother was dead set against it.  When we asked why, the standard answer was she “just didn’t want to,” or some other excuse that really didn’t answer the question. 

But we all knew the real reason: she simply didn’t like (or probably more precisely was afraid of) change

Eventually we got them to sell their house and move down to Naples, Fla.  And while they love it down there, they now realize all too late that they should have made the move years ago.

Fear Factor

I believe the same kind of mentality is present in many BrandSource members as well.  Maybe it’s just the nature of an independent business owner to be skeptical about new things, but I know some dealers who are downright afraid of change. 

For these members, much like my mom, it seems like every time change (a.k.a. opportunity) knocks on their door, they refuse to answer it — as if the Grim Reaper was coming to take their business away.

The fact of the matter is that whether you like it or not, change is all around us.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

The industries in which we all make our livings have probably changed more in the past four years than they have in the past 20.  And if you are unwilling or unable to embrace change, sooner or later the Grim Reaper will hunt you down.

Opportunities are all around you, knocking on your door.  They offer you ways to modernize your business, simplify your job as an owner and increase your revenue. Consider:

Digital Marketing: If you are still using print and radio exclusively, you are behind the curve.  Digital marketing is not the future, it is the present and you need to embrace it with open arms.

A Top-of-the-Line Website: Over 90% of buyers research online before making a buying decision, and if you don’t have a quality website you may have lost the battle before it even began.

A Transactional Website: While not every customer will buy online, more are doing so every day.  You need to give them the option.

Compliant Pricing: Besides being transactional, your website needs to offer compliant pricing. If you disagree, I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news but you are wrong.  Since over 90% of all purchases start online, if you are higher priced or ask customers to call for a quote, guess what?  They won’t. They will just move on to the next competitor and buy from them instead of you.

Point-of-Sale System: If you have an old, obsolete, unsupported POS system or, heaven forbid, no none at all, it’s time to get one.  It will make all your processes run faster, smoother and cleaner and ease the burden on everyone in your organization.  A quality POS system like SYNC will maintain your inventory and create sales invoices, service requests and purchase orders. And perhaps best of all, it will make your scheduling and routing headaches a thing of the past.

Customer Management Tools: If your company isn’t using a CRM tool like the HUB, you should consider getting one.  Customers today want an easy way to communicate and receive prices, information and details.  And a strong CRM is becoming a necessity for a business to move forward.

Digital Price Tags: Failure to change your handwritten or computer-generated price tags can cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars in lost revenue if you are not doing so every single day.  Digital price tags look more professional, discourage price discounting and ensure that you aren’t priced incorrectly on your sales floor.

The bottom line is that instead of fearing change and avoiding opportunities, you need to start embracing them and moving forward as a company. It is critical to your long-term success, profitability and sanity that you do.

Rich Lindblom is a past principal of Advanced Maytag Home Appliance Center, a family business founded 64-years ago in Schaumburg, Il. He now shares his 40-plus years of hard-won retail experience with fellow BrandSource members as a YSN columnist and product manager of AVB’s SYNC point-of-sale system. You can reach Rich at rich.lindblom@avb.net.

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