September 14/21; Volume 30/Number 7
By Jim Augustus Armstrong
(Second of two parts)
As previously discussed, the vast majority of sales in the $20,000-and-above range don’t come from advertising; these kinds of sales typically come from repeat customers and referrals. In this installment I will cover strategies and principles to magnetically attract high-end, high-margin customers.
Market to your past customers
Over the years you’ve most likely taken on some large, high-margin residential jobs. Those customers are your best candidates for providing even more high-end sales. You should market directly to them once a month. The best way to do this is through a monthly newsletter supplemented with a weekly e-newsletter.
Be sure to include customer testimonials and acknowledge new and returning clients. Also thank those who referred you and mention your referral reward program. All of these tactics serve as proof that you and your store are different from the competition—that you are a trusted advisor, have lots of customers who are happy to pay your premium prices and plenty of people refer you because you’ve done exceptional work.
Implement a referral marketing system
For most dealers, referrals are a happy accident; they don’t have a system in place to generate referrals from their scheduled installations. The basic components of an effective referral marketing system are as follows:
- Be referable. Provide the kind of service that customers want to brag about.
- Ask each customer for referrals. I recommend using a referral form that explains how the customer and her referral will directly benefit.
- Follow up with all referrals. Send letters introducing yourself and your business, explaining all the benefits of buying from you vs. your competitors.
- Subscribe all referrals to your newsletter. If you stay in front of these prospects, those who aren’t buying right now will choose you when they are ready.
One dealer I work with had about five referral relationships with realtors, designers and remodeling contractors that collectively generated approximately $150,000 in revenue annually. Because his goal was to increase his revenue (like most dealers), I suggested he develop relationships with 10 times as many businesses. Sure, it might take about a year to do so, but investing the time and energy would add $1.5 million to his annual revenue with virtually no marketing costs.
By developing more relationships with other local businesses, he would also make way for the opportunity to close more multi-thousand-dollar jobs. Think about it: If you have 30 to 50 realtors, designers, contractors, carpet cleaners and architects sending you a steady stream of referrals, you’ve exponentially increased the odds of getting in front of high-end customers.
Another dealer I know developed a relationship with a realtor who sent him a steady stream of business through referrals, including a job that totaled over $40,000. Imagine having 10 more realtors doing the same thing.
For in-depth training on the strategies covered in this column, register for the “Retail Profit Explosion Boot Camp” taking place Nov. 5 at The International Surface Event East in Orlando. Visit tiseeast.com for more information.