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January 27th, 2023 by Nathan Hobbs

Prepare Yourselves

By Manny Hondroulis

As the old proverb states, “what goes up, must come down.” It’s true of many things, including our economy. We’ve been hearing about a recession for months now, and it’s not unreasonable to think that we’re in one or about to be in one.

You may be seeing it already. Whether it’s less foot traffic in your shop, commercial clients facing slashed budgets or homeowners reluctant to improve their homes, there are indicators of waning consumer confidence.

And if what we’re experiencing—or about to experience—is anything similar to 2008, our industry is in for a rude awakening … or an opportunity if you are properly prepared.

In 2008, many dealers suffered the consequences of having a singular residential focus, a limited product and service offering or a business model that competed solely on price. The dealers that righted the ship before that economic crisis were well-prepared to grow during subsequent years.

That business growth helped fuel industry growth (by attracting new members), which is now home to many successful individuals and companies that were not part of the last downturn. Many in the industry have never known tough times. But using history as a guide, there are steps you can take to turn a recession into an opportunity.

Digital Footprint

To ensure any prospect interested in your product or service finds you before your competition, you’ll need a more effective marketing strategy than them. And in 2023, that means having a better digital footprint.

Take the time to look at your website, search engine optimization/search engine marketing strategies and social media presence.

If this isn’t within your expertise—or you lack the time—find a digital marketing company to do it for you.

Cross-Sell

In a recession, the number of prospects who contact you will probably decrease. That means making the most out of every prospect interaction, which stresses the importance of cross-selling.

Every company has the intention of cross-selling for obvious reasons. But not every company does. An economic slowdown may be the motivation those companies need to begin. Turn the paint protection film customer into a windshield protection customer. Turn the automotive tint customer into a residential customer.

Selling an additional service to a customer requires preparation on your end. New sales tools and staff training are vital to making a compelling pitch to the customer. And proper training is required for your technicians to install the additional products. There are numerous outlets for effective sales tools and training schools. If business slows, your technicians may now finally have the time to attend a training course and return with the ability to practice their newly-acquired skills.

Industry Engagement

If you have the time on your hands, consider being more engaged in the industry. There are multiple ways and benefits of doing so.

Relevant industry Facebook groups are a great forum for exchanges where you can learn something new from your peers. You may learn better installation, sales or marketing techniques from those who have already done it.

Of course, the opposite effect can happen, whereby you’ll share best practices that benefit other industry members.

As the industry expands, there are more and more industry events. Consider attending the International Window Film Conference and Tint-Off™ in September. This provides you the opportunity to listen to relevant industry seminars from your peers who have a unique perspective on a particular topic. For example, if you want to expand your business from automotive to flat glass, hearing a peer that has done it successfully may provide the inspiration and guidance you need to finally make the leap.

The above are just three suggestions for preparing for an economic downturn. The truth is that not everyone will prepare. Those individuals and companies may exit the industry, which means less competition and a potential labor pool for those who prepare—all the more reason.

Manny Hondroulis is the vice president of Energy Distribution Products in Baltimore.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

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