Humans are hardwired to make decisions based on what we perceive as being familiar. In other words, we are more likely to accept things that follow our current view of reality. What’s more is that we almost invariably make decisions with our emotions only later to look for evidence or arguments that support our actions.

We can take advantage of these notions on two fronts and use them to grow our sales. We can exploit this trait from the customer’s point of view and also from our own perspective.

Starting with your customer: since they will make up their minds based on what they perceive should be the reality of buying from us, we need to find out what their point of views are about woodworking or cabinets, closets, office furniture, etc… and align to them.

  • If you think that your customers want to be weekend warriors and DO-IT-THEMSELVES, then offer them kits that they can take home and assemble. (Ikea doesn’t have a monopoly on that idea).
  • If they want to take their own measurements and quote their own job online, make it happen for them.
  • If they are curious about the process, then invite them for a shop visit or give them access to a webcam view.
  • If they are always asking you for shorter lead times, find a way to do it.

You know your customers much better than anyone so take some time and work out the small details that will make them covet your product over anyone else’s. Be careful not to fall into the trap of saying that all your customer wants is low prices because that’s not true except when all else is the same. They’ll pay more for exclusive colours or customized features or quicker turnaround if they can’t get it.

Then taking a long hard look at yourself: this is the really hard part: get ready for some existential angst. Our brains are programmed to be conservative (no innuendo intended) and we have to work hard to suppress the urge to keep doing the same thing over and over again and still expect different results. Our formula for getting sales was probably outdated 6 months after we first started using it and that was many moons ago. It’s time to try something new. Face it, your customers stopped noticing the old sign above your door years ago even though they drive by it every day. Change it and they might see it again.

“The most effective strategy for driving new sales is to try something new.”

Put up a new sign, write a blog post, dress your workers in pink overalls, develop a new product, start a class in your showroom… Anything as long as it is new. It takes work and it’s scary but it’s the only way.

And the best way to put something new squarely in front of your customer’s face is to launch it online on a platform that she’s likely to visit again and again.