"Pull the string, and it will follow wherever you wish"-Dwight D. Eisenhower
|Watch Rick Hill's Webcast: How to Find New Woodworking Business. Free webcast: Sept. 28, 2011.
The woodworking industry is a made up of a lot of manufacturers who are constantly creating products and then trying to push them into the market. The problem is that the market is like string: You can't push a string and expect it to go anywhere, you have to pull it.
When selling your product it is always easier to have Pull Through than Push Through marketing. Pull Through creates demand and then fills it. Push Through shoves product into the market and hopes someone wants to buy it.
Two of the Kings of Pull Through Marketing in the woodworking industry are Rev-A-Shelf and Hera Lighting. Both focus on getting their products into the hands of kitchen designers, showrooms, architects and interior designers. They both spend marketing dollars on trade shows for more than just woodworkers, but also on the people specifying the product.
On a recent visit to a medium kitchen manufacturer in IL, I found a brochure specifically developed by one of the above companies just to help the kitchen manufacturer sell the products to their dealers. The brochure created demand at the dealer level, pulling the products through the kitchen manufacturer.
A quick disclaimer here: As an independent rep, I do represent Hera and Rev-A-Shelf, but my opinion is we all have a lot to learn from their example.
What can we as woodworking manufacturers do to Pull the String instead of Push it? Add our products in conjunction with anyone that may have an influence on the final buyer or specifier.
We could contact the local interior design stores and put mini-showrooms in their space. We could offer to build them organizing racks to show off our closet systems. If you make doors and windows, you could tie in with a window blind franchise and create a joint brochure. If you build hope chests, you could make a demo unit for the local bridal shop. If you make sheds, you could build a shed on the local landscaper's garden center.
Get your product in front of the line where prospects can pull it through instead of having it pushed on them and your sales will increase.
Rick Hill is a consultant specializing in woodworking companies that need to find new markets and more sales. He is also an independent sales rep and founder of WoodReps.Com, a national association of independent reps in the woodworking industry. He can be reached at email@example.com
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