Big Box/Utility Competition Part 1

April 25, 2003

Are you leaving money lying around?

By: Matt Michel

The other day I was shopping for my wife’s Christmas present in Lowe’s (I read that every woman wants a Dremel!) and I walked down the electrical aisle. This is dangerous. It stimulated all sorts of desires. The problem is I can’t just buy the stuff. I would have to install it.

Like many homeowners, there are things I want to get done that I don’t want to do myself. The big boxes do a good job marketing the material, but it takes a contractor to provide a turnkey solution.

Thus, the big boxes’ merchandising generally fails to move me to action because it requires too much action on my end. A contractor, on the other hand, only requires a phone call (or email).

What a pity the two electrical contractors we’ve used in the past have no desire to sell anything else to me. Neither has ever bothered to solicit my business, though I’ve already given them business. Ironically, we even send a check to one of them every month for security system monitoring. You would think this guy would at least send a bill stuffer.

The electrical projects we want are numerous…

- A pole lamp for the backyard patio
- Landscape floodlights to highlight the front of the house
- A home intercom system
- Extra outlets in several rooms
- Wall lights in several rooms
- Cable outlets in several a couple of rooms
- Surround sound wiring
- Under cabinet lighting in the kitchen

There’s money lying around our house waiting for an electrical contractor to pick up. Yet, no one bothers. Pity.

What products and services do you offer that your customers might want? It doesn’t have to be exciting. People often want the mundane, the ordinary. There’s nothing exciting about an extra outlet, but people want them.

Of course, don’t forget the new technology. People like new technology and innovative new products. Many will pay a premium to get it (e.g., The Sharper Image). What new gadgets and gizmos are there for your industry that your customers might want?

Make a list of two or three items and come up with an installed price. Give yourself an out if you feel you need it by adding, “in most cases” to the price. But give the price. People imagine your services cost much more than they do and are surprised to learn getting something done is less than they feared.

Then, mail to them! You never know. Several might pick up the phone and start throwing money your way.

Source: Comanche Marketing. Reprinted by permission.
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Copyright © 2002 Matt Michel

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