1. Take an all-in approach with 100% commitment- Like any other hard goods or soft goods line for your store, your ROI will only be as good as the effort you put into the line. Sales follow marketing efforts.
Articles About Ponds and Water Gardens
When it comes to attracting new customers into the wide world of water features, do you consider all your options? Today's homeowners are most certainly looking for high value water features, both attractive and simple in regards to low maintenance. Low maintenance waterfalls, fountains and bubbling water features have taken the foreground in the pond market.
If you are like most people today you have 100s if not 1,000s of digital photos tucked away in misc files on the computer. You do not have to be a Landscape Contractor to use photos to your advantage. Many Retailers display inspirational resources all over the place to engage and entice homeowners to dream big and do maybe just one more project.
Good or bad, knowing your competition and the water feature products they offer will help you see the value in your selected products. We look at the PondBuilder water garden brand comparatively to other water feature brands and realize we have similar pond equipment offerings, but very distinct differences in pond filter and equipment details.
PondBuilder differentiates itself through the product line as it offers GOOD \ BETTER \ BEST or Elite and DiY quality pond supplies. By having a tiered offering the PondBuilder brand remains part of the customer buying process despite pricing and keeps the focus on which water garden kit best fits the project, not if the water garden brand is capable of such an offering and at a fair price. This is an important customer tip.
Evaluate if your products on the shelf give your customers choices of which one vs. if at all. You may be amazed at how well you differ or how much you need to improve depending on the level in which you differentiate from your competition.
Understanding that a competitor's limitations are your best opportunities will help you succeed. Take a look at the following ways to help improve the way in which you offset your business and services.
Can you differentiate yourself from the local competition by doing the following:
1. Make your services more noticeable: What about your company and where do you best represent what it is that you do?
2. Bring your differentiating details to light: Use comparison charts, testing, and key promissory statements to stand out.
3. Engage customers in a unique manner: Incorporate your own newsletter, eBlast, or monthly reward program built around your best offerings.
4. Train your staff toward excellence: Communication skills are key to B2B and B2C business. A simple hello, but in your own unique verbiage will go a long way on how a customer will perceive the quality of your service.
PondBuilder challenges their water garden distributors to take your company a step further down the differentiation road this season. Stand out away from local merchants and definitely the online market place by highlighting the degree in which your services make you the best business to work with. This is a marketing and sales idea you will find needs attention each season.
Homeowners, including myself are always looking for ways to save money and keep a few extra dollars in our pockets. Pond owners are no exception especially when it comes to maintenance. Although many of these pond owners are concerned about the health of their fish but when they decide to do there own spring-cleanouts the chemicals they are using could be harmful to the EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) Pond Liner. In contrast, many Installers are also unaware of exactly how many and what types of chemicals can be harmful to the EPDM pond liner.
So as a pond distributor what are you doing today to help your customers succeed in their fall pond season transition? Building your business relationship at the local level may mean having a weekly hot-lunch meeting to discuss new ideas or individual projects, or perhaps invite the Designers in for a meeting to go over the most commonly asked projects by homeowners. A few of our marketing and sales ideas for driving fall business are:
1. Re-connect with old quotes offering 10% off. This kind of offer does two things: it helps give your Contractor some more leeway on his numbers, plus he has another reason to speak directly with the decision makers. You never know if your offer will help unless you try.
2. Provide Inspiration Materials. Use materials that will educate, promote, and lead homeowners through the sales process possibly highlighting the "It's not too late in the season" type of jobs. Contractor Sales Kits
3. Remind Contractors you sell Fall Pond Supplies: Cold Water Bacteria, Nets, Fish Food and other supplies that homeowners will need during the fall transition. Create an offer: SAVE 15% off Fall Service!
(Keep your margins high through a minimum order or products & service packages only)4. Conduct a Fall Seminar: Proper fall pond maintenance will insure a healthier pond come spring. Offer a 1-hour training on cutting back water plants, cleaning filters, partial pond clean-outs and securing pond netting over the pond, pond stream or waterfall. A few resources for you to use.
5. Run a special on 1-Day Projects: A big seller has been the Mini Cascading Falls, which 2 people can build in 1 day, or how about Fountain Vases or some other Bubbling Feature?
Despite popular belief bottom drains are not just for pools, the growing popularity within the pond industry is leading to new standards for koi gardens and water garden pond installation. The pond maintenance requirements are drastically reduced along with koi health benefits being improved. Bottom drains are not only efficient but can add aeration so the yearly spring pond cleanout practices are less needed. Most contractors are accustomed to this spring time practice and dedicate a lot of money and effort with little time for spring start-up projects. The ability to up-sell on a gravity flow bottom drain along with a pre-filter and an external pump allows landscape contractors to improve profit margins with add-on sales.
Have you ever attended an event and left feeling rejuvenated and ready to conquer the world? Hosting events for your customers comes at great costs, labor and resources, but at the end of the event both you and your customers benefit. Landscaping events can be found all over the world and at different calibers. So what makes a landscaping event successful you ask, well that depends on your objectives.
Many events rally behind tours, designed to showcase landscape projects either created by the host or customers of the host. Selection of sites can be time consuming as the quality of the installation, the willingness of the homeowners and accessibility to the site all come into play. It seems the best projects to showcase are those that most inspire you. If the project is something you liked and enjoyed, it makes it much easier to promote.
If a water garden tour is your preference we suggest you try a few ideas while preparing for your event.
1. Prepare host sites well in advance (months): Maintenance tips for keeping the project looking it's best for the special event is important and if monies allow, this would be a great time to offer a Maintenance Contract.
2. Create an event schedule book: Time lines, maps and write-ups for each site. Pictures and descriptions can go along way especially if you showcase before and after photos.
3. Feed me: You like to eat and if you plan on keeping folks motivated and moving for an entire day, ask your host sites to serve snacks, drinks and of course- chocolates for that sweet tooth.
4. Provide transportation: Although buses or vans can be an extra expense, the valuable face-time is priceless. Play games, ask for site feedback and increase engagement. Otherwise-here's to car pooling and Q&A sessions.
5. Share photos: Create a Dropbox account or a cloud-like file for picture sharing. Facebook works great too!
6. Keep the tour informative and educational: Participants invest time into your tour so handouts and discussions are key. Provide resources, tips sheets and material lists if possible.
Despite all the planning and amazing landscape projects you may have on the tour, the success of your tour will hinge on good host participation and the leadership of your staff to keep things moving fluidly. Have fun, laugh, do something adventurous if time allows and use these moments to promote future events.
Why would today's consumer choose to shop with a main street business vs. the growing and highly competitive online market place?
1. Be the first to judge your storefront by it's cover.
The internet, facebook, and other social forums have made it easier for consumers to do the necessary comparisons well before they step foot one inside a brick and mortar store. Listed are 5 customer tips to help your pond retail store differentiate from the appeal of shopping online.