Why You Should Start an IPaWGS Chapter

Published on March 14, 2009

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Don’t Leave Money on the Table

What is IPaWGS? IPaWGS stands for International Pond and Water Garden Society and is the recently formed hobbyist branch of the IPPCA (International Professional Pond Contractors Association). As the name implies, IPaWGS is a pond and water garden club formatted for the hobbyist. You may ask, “Why discuss a hobbyist club in PondBiz magazine, it’s not published for hobbyists?” For any Retailer or Contractor, there are many benefits from starting and maintaining an IPaWGS chapter.

• IPaWGS is part of the IPPCA and supports the LAT (Legislative Action Team) and BST (Bio Safety Team) arms of the IPPCA through financial support, creating a base to fund and influence lobbyists and lawmakers for the benefit and on behalf of the Pond and Waterscape industry.

• When starting a chapter, we suggest you use your current customer base to get hobbyists to the first meeting, increasing IPaWGS membership. This increases contact with your customers, resulting in more professional exposure, resulting in more sales.

• We also suggest an invitation to the meeting be extended to all the hobbyist friends of your customers. This will increase your customer base and that means more professional exposure, which will result in more sales.

• Advertizing the first, as well as any subsequent meetings, creates a reason for non customers to attend, experience your professionalism, and become your customers.

• Your current customers will now see you as not someone just trying to sell them something, but also as someone trying to help them out and be a friendly professional advisor. When your customers need something, they are more likely to buy it from you, someone they care about, rather than a company they don’t know.

• If you offer a discount to IPaWGS members, it will increase IPaWGS membership and keep those members, and their friends, coming back to you.

• If you run a retail business, when members come in they will spend more time there, as they now have a closer relationship with you and your store. The longer and more frequently they are there, the more money they will spend.

• At the meetings, most of the people will be your customers. They probably have a favorable opinion of you or they would not be there. When they talk to other people with the same opinion, that opinion is positively reinforced. If someone is unfamiliar with you and hears these comments, they will leave with a favorable opinion of you. After the first meeting or two, some may even think you can walk on water.

• If it is possible to hold the meetings at your place of business, this can also increase your business. How would this work? They now have a reason to come to your business. When they hear someone talking favorably about a product or service you provide, they will think they need it and be at the location to get it.

• You might think about offering a member’s only sale. This enforces the members’ impression that they are special and as a result, will be more likely to buy things. It also makes nonmembers start to think they are missing out on something. You might offer members the first chance to buy from a new shipment of fish or new product. Because they know each of these opportunities are special and they don’t want to miss out on it, they are going to spend more time, which equals to money spent, in your store or utilizing your services than they would have without the IPaWGS connection.

To me, starting a chapter of IPaWGS has been a win-win situation for everyone involved. Yes, it will take some time on your part, but the return on investment is well worth it (like 40% higher sales the first two months alone). In these economic times, we all have to do everything possible to make money. By not starting an IPaWGS chapter, you not only are missing out on a very fulfilling professional opportunity, you are leaving money on the table. a

The IPPCA is a Not For Profit Trade Association. For more information, go to www.IPPCA.com and www.IPaWGS.com, or call (770) 592-9790.

Mike White

White Water Filters

St. Charles, Illinois

Northern Illinois IPaWGS

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