For those of you who don’t have a Web page yet (because you don’t know what you would do with one), realize that the fastest growing market segment is in Internet sales, and the reason why you are losing much of your business is because you aren’t there! Ask your employees if they buy many of their things on the Web - you’ll be surprised!
Oh yes, I know! You’re in the HVACR WHOLESALE business, and if you advertise on the Internet, you’ll end up with all sorts of purchase requests from consumers, who you don’t choose to sell to. True, but there are many ways to deal with this problem. For example, you could handle purchase requests in the same way that you do at your parts counter - request a license number, tax ID, or whatever before completing a sale!
And for those of you who already have Web sites: It’s time to get away from those boring home pages that tell about your company and its policies (nobody reads them) and just provides a list of the brands you sell. List products and prices; list sale items; list specialty and hard-to-find items; and keep sending out e-mails to all past and future customers giving links to key pages on your site!
Do you want to see how it’s done right? Let me give you one of many examples: Look at www.grainger.com and see how this company is doing it. Although they are a national company, you really can’t tell it from their Web site. And this really doesn’t make any difference, because potential customers aren’t looking for where you’re located, they want to know if you have the product and how much you charge for it. Also, the Web site is an excellent location for running “loss leaders,” because most folks will order more while they’re there to help pay for shipping costs!