Get Out of Your ‘Referral Foxhole’ and Start Marketing

“All sunshine makes a desert.” The traditional Arabic aphorism that has been passed around for centuries and explains that adversity helps create a well-rounded state of mind and in this case business. The sun has been very bright for the custom install channel for just over a year.

We have seen more jobs than our limited workforce can handle, our vendor partners scrambling to fulfill orders, and a virus that continues to confound us. The word fulgent comes to mind.

I fear there are dark clouds on the horizon, with those accustomed to the sunshine about to be deluged without an umbrella. Having been in the business for four major recessions, my senses are alert to the travails that could happen.

  • There is no need to worry about the dearth of employees. That will take care of itself. There will be ample people looking for work.
  • Margins shrink as there are too many products chasing too few clients.
  • Days seem longer as less happens and morale declines.
  • Reactionary and bad decisions become the norm.

We need to act. We need to get our “unfair share. How do you do that?

The answer is to get out of your referral foxhole and start marketing your company. The tools have changed over my five-decade tenure with newspaper and magazine ads no longer the driver. My old boss used to say, “You run a newspaper ad and the next day they wrap fish with it.” Digital is the key. Position your company with solution-oriented products in lifestyle situations on Facebook, Google, and others.

It cannot be accomplished alone. We need the imagination of great marketing companies, the commitment of intelligent owners, and investment from our valued vendor partners.

Twenty years ago, every vendor had a co-op program (cooperative market funds that dealers accrued on every purchase). On average the co-op was 3% of sales which were allocated to support the dealer’s advertising. Dealers invested too. The sum drove business and raised the silhouette of the dealer and the vendor. Let’s work to get our “unfair share” and make co-op the order of the day. Here comes the sun.

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