Kitchen & Bath Design News

MAR 2013

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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Dealer Survey By Janice Costa ���TRAFFIC FORECAST��� 2. EASE OF CLOSING A SALE IN 2013 COMPARED TO 2012 30.1% EASIER THAN LAST YEAR 21.1% HARDER THAN LAST YEAR 48.8% ABOUT THE SAME A new KBDN survey shows dealers projecting increases in showroom tra���c, leads (both quality and quantity) and consumer conpdence, with many increasing their focus on referral business for 2013. L ike pnding the mythical Bigfoot, the search for new customers can sometimes feel like an endless venture that o���ers plenty of false starts and stops, without ever quite leading to the real thing. Indeed, prospective clients have been so hard to come by these past few years, some kitchen and bath dealers have joked that they were beginning to miss the tire kickers. But pnding potential clients is pnally getting a little bit easier, and dealers expect to see increases in showroom traffic, number of leads, quality of leads and consumer conpdence in the next 12 months. That���s according to a recent KBDN survey that looked at how dealers seek out prospective clients, what factors impact their ability to pnd potential clients and what they expect the coming year to bring. The survey, which polled nearly 200 kitchen and bath dealers, showed a growing optimism about the coming year in terms of trafpc, lead quality and consumer conpdence. A shift toward a greater focus on referrals from both past clients and allied professionals was also among the trends noted by dealers. FINDING PROSPECTS The good news is that pnding prospects will likely begin to get easier over the coming 12 months. In fact, of those surveyed, 38% said they expect pnding potential clients to be easier in 2013 than it was in 2012 (see Graph 1), while 45.2% expected it to be about the same. Only 16.8% said they expect finding clients to be more di���cult. Likewise, closing a sale will likely either be the same as last year or easier, according to those polled, with 30.1% saying they expect closing a sale to be easier this year than last, and 48.8% saying they expect it to be about the same (see Graph 2). Another positive note was noted in dealers��� response to how they see leads evolving over the next 12 months, with half saying they expect to see increases in the number of leads (see Graph 3), and nearly half projecting increases in showroom tra���c (47.8%), consumer conpdence (46.6%) and quality of leads (44.4%). While converting leads to sales remains a challenge, more than one-third of those 32 | Kitchen & Bath Design News March 2013 polled (34.3%) also expect to see increases in conversions in the coming year. Although showroom trafpc has long been a staple in how dealers pnd prospects, it���s certainly not the only way ��� or even necessarily source of new clients was print ads, cited by 34.3% of those surveyed, followed by social media (33.7%), home shows (20.8%), special promotions (19.7%) and online ads or apps (19.1%). As one dealer stated, ���We still spend the majority of our marketing budget keeping in contact with past clients. It���s cheaper and the conversion rate is better. We have twothirds to three-quarters of our new sales traced to past clients through referrals and repeat business.��� trust becomes more important than ever. People are looking for someone they can trust, and a referral from a friend, having someone they know and trust say, ���This guy is okay, he took good care of us,��� carries a lot of weight.��� ONLINE PRESENCE Dealers��� online marketing e���orts are on the rise, with more than half of those surveyed (50.6%) saying they will increase their online marketing efforts in the next 12 months (see Graph 5). By comparison, a mere 1.2% plan to decrease their online marketing in the coming year. So how are they do38% EASIER ing that? According to THAN LAST YEAR the survey, 44.9% hope to raise their prople by 16.8% HARDER increasing their social THAN LAST YEAR media efforts. While there are many ben45.2% ABOUT efits of using social THE SAME media, its cost effectiveness is high on the list; with most sites, Another dealer concurs: there is no charge to build ���Referrals are by far the best a company prople and post source of leads for us, and we photos and updates ��� except don���t see this changing in the for the man hours required near future. These can come to maintain the company���s from colleagues, clients, sopresence on these sites. cial media connections, etc. But not everyone is focusBut right now, it���s all about ing exclusively on ���freebies.��� meeting people face to face In fact, more than one-quarat networking events or on ter (27%) of those polled social media, and asking clisay they plan to increase ents for referrals.��� their advertising or marketSo, why are referrals so ing budget over the next 12 important? As one dealer months. This may include explains it, ���In tough times, increasing print advertising, 1. EASE OF FINDING CLIENTS IN 2013 COMPARED TO 2012 the most e���ective one. In fact, when asked what venues they rely on to pnd new clients, it was referrals, not showroom tra���c, which topped the list (see Graph 4). Some 89.3% of dealers say they rely on referrals from past customers to pnd new clients, while 61.8% rely on showroom tra���c and 60.7% rely on referrals from allied professionals. The next most common

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