If you’re a contractor, you have a love/hate relationship with the Do It Yourself (DIY) guy. Sometimes he costs you business because he does a home project himself and it’s one you could have made a decent dollar on. Sometimes he makes you business because he screws up a home improvement project and has to hire you to come in and fix what he messed up. That usually ends up making you more than the original project would have so it’s a mixed blessing of sorts. But if you’re a home improvement retailer, you might tend to think the DIY Guy does nothing but make you money. The question is, “Are you generating all of the profit from him that you can?”
The answer is, “Maybe not.” Increasing your profit margin via increased sales for each DIY project can be done by having an “expert” staff available to counsel the DIY Guy. When Joe Homeowner comes into your store with his list of needs for a given project, he may well have a complete list; but he may also have missed a few items simply because he doesn’t even know certain products exist, or he’s missed a couple of steps in the planning of his project work tasks. That is where your expert employee comes in to help him, coach him and mentor him… and recommend a few additional products that will make the completion of the project easier.
Depending on what the season is, you may want to make sure your expert employee is coached or prepped for what projects you can reasonably expect the DIYers to be doing based on previous years’ sales or what you see hot on social media. For example, if it’s the March/April time frame, it’s reasonable to project growing sales of anything having to do with gardens and gardening, but what are the big DIY projects? Installation of new gardens? Creation of outdoor living spaces? Landscaping and lawn improvement or treatment work? All of the above and then some.
If you have that DIY Guy walking around your gardening/outdoor living area with a list in his hand, you should also have an employee willing to walk up and say, “Finding everything you need today, sir?” That’s very common. How about the employee that says, “Got a big project you’re shopping for?” The first question is, as mentioned, very common and expected. The second question potentially opens the door for a discussion about a project, and in that discussion your expert employee can make suggestions and recommend products that will either make the project’s end results even better or getting it completed more efficient.
You can even feed the right employees better “seed” questions to inspire such conversations and create such opportunities. What you need to do is:
- Identify which employees have the knowledge and personality to act as “experts” in a given area, and
- Create a method whereby the customer can easily identify such employees. Adding something to a name tag or having specially embroidered aprons / vests can work well.
Then all you need do is give the employee a little bit of guidance and coaching and “set them loose.” More than likely, the expert employee holds an expertise because they have either worked in a given field before OR it’s one of their favorite hobbies/topics. One thing to remember is that most DIY Guys are not contractors and not looking for commercial grade products or tools. Most of them are working by themselves or with the help of a friend, their spouse or their children. They want quality products but bargain pricing where they can find it.
So, go take a walk around your store. Think about the season and what’s coming. Is it spring gardening time? Is it fall fire pit time? Is it summer outdoor patio cleaning and development time? Plan the deployment of your “experts” strategically with your sales seasons and increase your sales a bit with some prompting to those DIYers.