NEW ORLEANS — In one of the liveliest and most interactive sessions in recent Clean Show history, “Route Pro” James Peuster told a capacity crowd how to win and keep route customers this morning in Picking Up Customers = Picking up Profits.
Arranged by the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute (DLI), the session concentrated on launching and building a route service. Offering pickup and delivery is the surest route (pun intended) to success for drycleaners in a recessionary economy, Peuster said, punctuating his presentation with jokes and quick Q&As.
Routes reach break-even faster than most drop stores, and the top reason to convert customers is that if you don’t, a competitor will. And operators shouldn’t rely “on hope” that direct mail, door hangers or ads will bring in new customers, Peuster said. “Face-to-face is the best marketing plan you can have.”
“I never say not to do direct mail,” he added. “In sales, you’re either hunting, or you’re farming. But if you’re farming, you don’t plant the seeds and then say, ‘Honey, we’re going to eat in three hours.”
Even though practically nobody likes going door-to-door, he said, it’s the most cost-effective way to get customers and keep them, with an estimated 68% to 77% rate of retention. Face-to-face selling helps persuade reluctant consumers best — even if they aren’t expecting the sales call. “Nobody sits at home waiting for someone to knock on the door,” Peuster noted.
He then did the math. If each order is worth $20 and a customer uses the route service every other week, each new customer is worth $10 per week. Therefore, 10 customers every week would represent $100 in business, he said, and a year’s route-building would yield $117,000 in new sales.
Every day an operation waits to launch a route, Peuster said, its competition is taking the business. “Don’t just sit there and blame the economy. You should blame yourself. Go out there and build your business!”