Take advantage of your showroom to make more money. Many locksmiths have already learned this lesson. The ability to use the space you have to increase your sales is a natural.
This is free space. You're already paying rent or a mortgage for the square footage; so let it work for you. Why should you have a front customer area clogged with broken safes, piles of junk locks, UPS shipments and empty, dusty shelves?
In my position as an account manager for Clark Security Products, I visit hundreds of locksmith shops and security centers throughout the Midwest . I can state that less than 20 percent of these shops utilize their showroom to its full potential.
Give the waiting customers a clean, inviting showroom and something to look at, play with and think about. A clean floor, fresh paint and a little investment in mounted samples will draw comments like “I didn't know you sold these,” “Does this fit my key?” and “How does this work?” Each comment or question is an opportunity to open additional lines of communication with your customer. Increasing the opportunity to sell new products and/ or services or to up-sell for convenience or a higher level of security.
Look at some common items that will prompt your customer to add to the sales total they walked in to make. Personal safes, locking mailboxes, spray lubricant, padlocks, key accessories, key cabinets, key lockers and cam and cabinet lock display boards will help sell product. Mounted lock hardware displays will fit on most counters, shelves or back walls. Lock related product posters are can give your customers insight into additional products or services. Remember, these types of advertisements can be used to educate your customers.
For this article, I will deal with both bigger ticket items that may not fall under the ‘impulse buying' umbrella and the smaller less expensive impulse items. When you consider re-merchandising you company, contact your locksmith wholesaler and find out what services and assistance they can provide.
SAFES & OTHER DISPLAYS
Progressive lock shops will use unconventional items set up as displays. Any shop on a busy street with a large window can sell safes 24 hours a day by mounting a polished safe or multiple safe display in the window and lighting it up at night with a floodlight. People in the cars driving at night by will soon associate safes with your shop. Even when you're closed, the message comes across.
Small personal safes are available in various sizes to accommodate laptop computers, cash trays and other personal items. Many will come in a merchandising box that is colorful and informative. Create a pyramid display of these and offer a brand not sold at your local big box store.
Other larger safes can be set and stacked in a variety of swirl, cascade or step patterns to create an attractive, inviting display. Use a bright red or blue curtain as a background to the gray, black and tan safes.
Be sure each safe is marked with a model number, dimensions, specifications and price. Some locksmiths set all display safes on 50 so they can be quickly opened for an interested customer.
CCTV: Closed-Circuit Television is not an impulse item. If you offer a working camera and monitor in your showroom, people will immediately watch themselves on the monitor and be aware that you sell this type of product.
Access Control: A working card reader and electric strike mounted sample on your counted can invite customers to “Try Me!” with a little signage. Push button standalone locks will also get the customer to touch, feel and interact with the product. Be sure all mounted samples are in good working order and have strong batteries.
Door Closers & Panic Bars: A sample door or wall mount can be used to display a rim exit device or surface mounted door closer. A cut down version of a surface mounted vertical rod device can also be displayed in minimal space.
Exit Alarms: Exit alarms can be self contained or built into an exit device. A corner of your wall space could be devoted to displaying these items. Make sure all are in full working order. Dead batteries or missing keys in a mounted sample can actually kill the sale. A “key trapped” lock cylinder can be used to make sure the operating key remains with the mounted sample.
Keyless Remotes: Keyless remotes and the batteries for keyless remotes are gaining ground in popularity as locksmith sales items. Different mixes of popular remotes are available directly from the manufacturer. Check with your local new car dealer by phone to see how much they charge for these! You can make a decent profit and a satisfied customer by adding these to your showroom.
Transponder Keys & Service: Transponder keys are everywhere. If you've invested in the tools, equipment and inventory to service these items doesn't it make sense to promote that to your customers with a counter display or signage promoting that fact?
BUYING ON IMPULSE
The placement of impulse items should not be done haphazardly; many companies have probably spent millions, if not billions of dollars over the years to find out the better places to locate items for maximum sales opportunities. Most people will act on impulse if given the chance. With the milk in the back of the store, customers have to walk all the way to the rear, passing thousands of items and all the way back to the front, passing even more.
Impulse sales happen if the thought process is triggered. If the checkout lane had empty shelves, most people wouldn't think of buying. Impulse sales work!
Locksmith stores are not as big as markets, so placement of items will not have the same affect. However, unlike the products markets sell, locksmith related products can be “touchy-feely” which can cause your customers to stop and touch the items of curiosity.
In addition to plain keys, a number of companies have emerged offering specialty or decorative keys. Choices include the images or logos of hundreds of cartoon characters, college and professional sports teams, racecar drivers, flags, floral patterns, etc.
Individual flat panel and three-sided counter top display racks are available to promote the items to your customers. Rotating displays are available in a variety of configurations including individually carded keys.
Stand-up display racks are available for different types to promote the items to your customers. The durable baked finish is colorful and eye-catching. All of the designs are available in the common Schlage and Kwikset keyways, with some patterns offering additional choices in Master and Weiser and other key sections.
High quality brass keys are adorned with a variety of popular designs including various national flags, rainbows, sunsets, animal designs and more.
Key manufacturers offer a different approach to the specialty key market that doesn't rely on a painted finish. A wide selection of key designs is available in the common SC1-Schlage and KW1-Kwikset key sections. These high quality nickel-plated brass keys are adorned with a variety of popular images set into the head of the key.
The plastic-coated insert contains one of hundreds of full color pictures, logos, designs, drawings and messages. In addition to the manufactured selection, personalized versions are also available. Customized to meet your needs, company logos, personal photos and messages can be had through special order.
Key accessories include key rings, key fobs, key tags, etc. Whenever a customer gets a key cut, there is the opportunity to add to that sale with related products.
Product choices include: File-A-Key racks designed for the file cabinet, wall mount or portable file box, Key Cabinet Tags, Key Separator, Quick Clip, House Key Caps, Colored Split Rings, Key Saver, Rock Key Hider and C-Clips. Key Lights, House-Head Keys, Key Caps, Key Snaps, Magnetic Key Holders, Key Floats, Photo Key Holders, Secure-A-Key Clips and Wrist Coils are offered.
Merchandising systems include wall-mounted displays, rotating floor rack displays, counter displays and jar displays combine with individually carded items to give the customer an almost unlimited choice of affordable products.
PADLOCKS & ACCESSORIES
Padlocks, hasps, chains, cables and other related items are available from a number of manufacturers. Their offer a wide variety of padlocks for residential, commercial, institutional and specialty uses.
Safety lockouts, hasps, cables and chains are available boxed, visual-packed and individually carded to meet the needs of the locksmiths display area. A variety of colorful, informative display boards are also available to give the customer a hands-on experience of using the lock.
Small, medium and large sized padlocks come in a variety of applications. Rekeyable and door key compatible padlocks combine with hasps, lock down cables and other padlock-related products that can be displayed on wall-mounted boards, in clear visual packaging or individually carded.
Combination padlocks are available in a number of small and medium padlock body sizes and work with three or four number wheels to activate the re-settable combination. A new line of smaller-bodied combination locks for use on storage boxes or luggage.
One luggage lock has a special feature that allows the TSA to search the bag without destroying the lock. Once the TSA agent has opened the lock, a special window will change from green to red to notify the bags owner of the search procedure.
DOOR LOCK ACCESSORIES
Many customers who come in the shop for a duplicate key, new lock or lock repair part have another problem -- a broken door edge or frame that needs repair. A wide variety of door repair, modernization and upgrade items will sell if you put them in front of the customer. If your customer doesn't know you have these items, you may lose the sale to a hardware store even though you have what the customer needs on your shelf in the storeroom. Advertise it, market it and display it.
Various hardware manufacturers offer door repair and re-enforcement items such as Wrap-Around Plates, Remodel Plates, Replacement Strikes, Latch Protectors, Security Strikes, Filler Plates, Scar Plates, Door Stops, Door Pulls, and Push, Pull and Kick Plates.
A well-stocked brochure tower or rack can help you sell product. Make sure the information is correct, if possible without prices, and your company name and information proudly presented. Most brochures and cut sheets are available online directly from the manufacturers.
Whether you print your own literature or use the ready-made material, make sure you stamp or sticker each and every piece with your company logo, phone number, website, email and other critical information. If you want the customer to come back to you, tell them who you are!
Every chance you get to speak to your customer face-to-face is an opportunity to sell. If you see a customer playing with the push button lock while you cut their duplicate keys, mention the product in conversation as they come back to the counter.
If they pick up a safe brochure, ask them if you can offer pricing information or address the features and benefits of different models. Once the conversation is started, utilize your sales abilities to close the sale.
KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS
If you understand your customer base and their needs, you can better serve them. Know what they need and know what the local big box store sells. You can't compete with the big box by selling on price. Offer different brands with different features and benefits. Sell what the big box can't – service. You are in the service business, dazzle your customer with your brilliant service and promote it.
Check with your favorite locksmith distributor to see how they can help you sell more products by maximizing your showroom. If your sales increase, it benefits the distributor as well. Your distributor is there to act as the liaison between you and the manufacturer. Get them involved in helping you build your business.