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Retail education: Follow them home

by Kelly Kramer

One of the drawbacks to writing a national column is that my local competitors also read my advice. So, in essence, I give productive ideas to my local competition. Recently, I saw a competitor’s television ad that heeded my advice promising to follow the customer home and give a free measure. Up till that day, their measures were charged and set up a few days out.

Well, I just lost one advantage over my competition. The positive is, I’ve perfected this system, understand it and profit greatly from it.

Act now. Act fast.

This is a theory I’ve spent my entire flooring career perfecting. It’s my belief that a customer out shopping wants to take care of that project then. They have set aside time to shop and that usually means several hours are freed up. So, use those hours to help her out and get this thing done.

When I tell them I can follow them home, you have no idea how often the couple looks at each other with a smile and two heads nod. So, now I’m on my way to a buyer’s home and they are ready to buy, or they would not have invited me out. I have to give them a final number while I’m there.

Meanwhile, the store they just left before mine set up a paid appointment next week or told them they would call next week to set an appointment at a later date. That’s crazy! Are we so busy these days that we are afraid we will miss the next customer? Even in very busy times I do this.

I figure I want to write one or two nice deals a day. When my first customer is in the store, I don’t hesitate and I get the job done. If you find yourself calling a customer back by phone a day or week later to give numbers you will decrease your odds by more than 50%.

Outside influences

Let’s say you call the customer back a few days later with the final numbers. In between that time the customer got another bid, which may also take a few days. Now, you have to wait several more days to see if you wasted your time on the sales floor.

If I went out after you, I would have closed the deal on the spot. So now your I’ll-be- back customer never will. In fact they are probably too embarrassed to even call you. While you were spending your precious time on the sales floor, I just stole your deal. Even worse, I showed them what a great deal I offer. There are a few other potential problems with delayed and paid estimates. Let’s say your customer leaves your store, stops looking and goes home. Her neighbor or relative gets in on the conversation and recommends she goes to see, “my carpet guy Kelly. He’s really good and has great prices and installation.” I will beat you out and write her order making her call you to cancel your charged estimate.

Here is one that is even worse. They see an ad for free labor. You were going to charge for that so again, your appoinment is canceled.

In most cases I measure when all parties—usually the husband and wife—are home. Because I followed them home, I can explain everything to them both. They no longer have to relay to each other what they were told or discuss it later.

Finalize the deal in the home. It’s fast and it’s now. Lower that false bank of unsold bids simply by following them home.

Thanks for reading.