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Marketing mastery: Thirteen deadly marketing mistakes

December 22/29, 2014; Volume 28/Number 13

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 10.58.31 AM(Fourth of four parts)

This is the final installment in a series FCNews published back in 2007. This week we conclude with mistakes 10-13.

Mistake No. 10: Failing to position yourself as a trusted advisor.

I want you to get a picture in your mind of a family doctor and next to him a used car salesman. Are you seeing those two people in your mind? Now ask yourself this: Who do I trust more? Most will say the doctor. This is because you know a doctor is looking out for your best interest. Doctors are trusted advisors who you seek out for their advice and expertise; that’s how you want your customers to picture you. Here are some tips for positioning yourself as a trusted advisor:

  • Use testimonials.
  • Educate your prospects and customers.
  • Use a sales closer system.
  • While you’re making a customer home visit, wear shoe covers. Also, inspect her vacuum, spotters and walk-off mats.
  • Give recommendations for getting the longest life out of her flooring.

Mistake No. 11: Failing to market to customers who are “hot.”

Buying flooring is an exciting event for your customers. They think about it, dream about it and talk about. It’s important to have a marketing plan in place to “farm” these hot customers for referrals.

A great way to do this is to send them a series of marketing e-mails and letters after their products have been ordered and they’re waiting for installation. In these messages, reiterate the great decisions they just made. Remind them of three or four key benefits of working with you.

After the installation, follow up with visits to their home with gift baskets. Now when you ask for the referrals, you’re much more likely to get them.

Mistake No. 12: Failing to market continuously.

A scuba diver can forget to breathe regularly. In order to remember to breathe, scuba divers are taught to think of ABC: Always breathe continuously. In marketing, flooring dealers need to think of AMC: Always market continuously. Marketing is the oxygen your business breathes to survive. Always have strategies in place that are getting the phone to ring and customers coming through your door. It’s easy to get complacent when you have a lot of business; during the recent recession dealers have learned this can change in a very short time.

Mistake No. 13: Failing to use testimonials.

Testimonials are a single element that will dramatically increase the response of just about any marketing campaign or strategy. No matter how good you are at explaining the benefits of your service, it will always sound 100 times more convincing coming from someone else, even if you’re 100 times more eloquent. Your customers have seen thousands of advertising messages from businesses, all claiming they are the best, No. 1 in customer satisfaction, highest quality, longest lasting, ad infinitum, ad nauseam. They are numb to these kinds of claims. Testimonials are the key for cutting through what consumers perceive to be mere hype. Use them whenever possible in your marketing. You can increase the effectiveness of just about any ad or website simply by inserting testimonials.