Editor’s Note: The following remarks were made on The NEWS’ group, The NEWS Network, on LinkedIn, answering the question: How do you appeal to an economically diverse customer base?

What Recovery?

As a business that’s focused on the middle of the market and up, we expected to see a rebound when the recession “ended” (I would question whether it really has recovered). Instead, we saw a continued focus on repair, and the replacement market has shifted to lower-tier products.

We still offer our customers choices, and we still sell a fair amount of higher-tier equipment. We have also seen a substantial increase in demand for lower-tier equipment and market prices that remain stubbornly low. Repairs also continue to remain high, even when replacement is really warranted.

As a business owner, no matter what your view about why there is income disparity and a decline of the middle class, or what you think the solution is, it is obviously a problem, and it will impact your business if you don’t adapt to it. On a broader scale, it represents a real concern for our economy (which is built on consumer spending), and our future as a nation.

Adam Gloss
Former vice president
Bel Red Energy Solutions
Greater Seattle Area

Let the Customer Be Involved in the Solution

I believe newer customers have more access to information, so you need to offer choices. You should offer both a lower-price solution as well as a higher-end option. Preferably, you should have a middle solution. A big part is finding out what is important to customers and offering a solution that solves their problems while addressing any needs or concerns. Let the customer be involved in the solution without having to look for
another contractor.

Carter Stanfield
Athens Technical College
Athens, Georgia area

Publication date: 6/16/2014 

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