Wining and dining

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

MATTHEWS, N.C. - How do you get 100 of your best referral sources to visit your company at the same time?

Answer: Send out a personal invitation to 300 and promise to feed them heavy hors d'oeuvres and wine, which is a "pretty good calling card," said Franklin Trammell, the owner of Carolina's Home Medical Equipment.

"I got more out of it than I expected," he said. "There were some people who were just shocked to see how extensive our product line really is. They just do not have a sense of what we do until they can see it with their own eyes."

Trammell hosted the May 12 open house to show off his new 3,000-square-foot expansion and to thank the referral sources for supporting his company since it opened seven years ago. He scheduled the event from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., but many referral sources stayed until 9 p.m.

"That's a good thing," he said. "We took them on a tour to see our warehouse and things like that, and they got to network with some of the other people that they know."

Using the open house to generate more business "was not the intent, but I think that will be a by-product," Trammell said.

As far as the expansion goes, it has allowed Trammell to expand his office space, add new product lines and display more of his existing products. The goal: Boost cash sales, which until now have been "not enough to measure."

"With our CPAP business growing exponentially, we have a lot of people walking in here that weren't walking in before," he said. "People are seeing things that they didn't even know existed. Little things like just adding sleep pillows turned into a big seller."