September 3/10, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 6
By Jim Augustus Armstrong
Every interaction you, your staff and your business have with a prospect or customer is a marketing opportunity. Like it or not, consumers get an impression of you every time they interact with your company.
What kind of impression are you making with each marketing opportunity? Are you compelling them to buy from you even if you’re more expensive? Or are you showing that you are no different than your competition?
Over the last several columns I’ve written, I outlined the ultimate floor marketing system, which consists of three steps: “Before,” “During” and “After.” Let’s look at how the “marketing is everything” principle applies to each step.
This step encompasses your marketing efforts to attract new customers. When most dealers think of attracting new customers, they think of their website, TV, radio, pay-per-click, social media, etc. That’s true, but it’s incomplete. Here are some other considerations:
- How is your phone answered? I’ve called a lot of dealers and had the name of the business grunted at me by the person answering. Make sure your phones are answered in a way that makes people feel welcomed and creates differentiation from your competition.
- What does the outside of your building look like? Is your signage clean and free of cobwebs?
- Are your business vehicles clean? Or do they look like rust buckets?
This next step is what you do during the sales process to create differentiation, position yourself as a trusted authority and close more sales. When a consumer walks into a flooring store, too many dealers think only of the sales process itself. Yes, that’s vitally important, but here are other things to consider:
- Is your showroom clean? Have you curated your products, or is it so jammed with samples people can hardly navigate?
- Are testimonials from happy customers visible in your showroom? Do you have display monitors showing before and after photos of installations?
- Are your restrooms clean? Do they look like an interior designer decorated them or more like a gas station restroom?
- Do you show hospitality to walk-ins? Do you provide them with a beverage menu with different drink options? Do you put cookies or fresh bread out front?
- Do you conduct a full diagnostic review while in the customer’s home? Do you inspect your customer’s vacuum, walk-off mats and floor-cleaning products? Do you give her written recommendations on getting the longest life out of her floors?
This final step is what you do after the installation is complete to create a stream of repeat and referral business.
- Do you communicate with your past customers? Do you send out a monthly printed newsletter? Do you send them a weekly e-newsletter?
- Do you have a referral program? Do you reward and thank customers for their referrals?
- Do you have customer appreciation events? Do you have an annual Christmas party or a summer barbecue in your parking lot or local park?
If every month you implemented one of these strategies, in under a year you’d have them all in place, and you’d create a massive advantage in your market.
Jim Armstrong specializes in providing turnkey marketing strategies for flooring retailers. For a free copy of his latest book, “How Floor Dealers Can Beat the Boxes Online,” visit BeatTheBoxesOnline.com.