Posted on

Marketing mastery: How to convert more door swings into sales

April 16/23, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 22

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

(Second of two parts)

In part one of this series, I discussed how you can increase your closed sales ratio simply by maximizing your repeat and referred customers. In this installment, I’m going to discuss why having a selling system will also help you increase your closed sales.

“We now have a 70% close rate,” Rob, a dealer from Utah, told me. “And our margins are over 40%.”

Rob had recently implemented a selling system, and he was excited not only because of the increased close rates, but because his margins were so much higher. It also gave him a quicker way to train new salespeople.

Here’s what Rob’s salesperson told me: “I started only six months ago in the flooring business, so I’m pretty green. For months, my residential margins were 30% to 35%. I’d end the day totally exhausted and realize I hadn’t closed any sales. It was discouraging. We’re right down the street from two home stores. People would come in and say, ‘Lowe’s quoted me this price,’ or ‘Home Depot quoted me such and such.’ I was always having to compete on price. A few months ago, Rob implemented a sales system and training program. “Since then, my overall close ratio has been over 70%.”

Admittedly, not every dealer will get results this quickly and dramatically, but that’s not the point. The point is, going from no selling system to actually having one will oftentimes dramatically improve your results.

Here are some tips for developing a selling system.

If it’s not written down, it’s not a system. Every step of Rob’s selling system is in writing. For example, he has scripts for greeting walk-ins, for taking control of the sales process and for getting prospects to sit down for a consultation. His sales team is trained on using a printed questionnaire during consultations.  Having a written system makes it much easier for Rob to train his team and troubleshoot problems that come up with individual team members.

Scripts are important at the beginning and end of the sales process. This is because greeting prospects and closing are the two most critical times of the sale. It’s also where most salespeople mess things up.

Rob’s script for greeting walk-ins does several things: it makes the prospect feel welcome; differentiates him from competitors; takes control of the sales process; and sells prospects on the benefits of having a consultation.

Your closing script should include a reminder of your unique selling propositions, a discussion of your guarantee/warranty information and how prospects could benefit. Instead of giving one quote, give prospects quotes for three different flooring packages: low, medium and high. This way, instead of choosing between you and a competitor, they can choose between you, you and you.

Your selling system should feel like a visit to a trusted physician. When a physician meets with a patient, he doesn’t burst into the exam room and say, “What kind of pills did you have in mind?” Instead, he sits down, asks questions, writes down the answers, diagnoses the problem, then prescribes. Your selling system should do the same thing. Sit down with your prospects, ask questions and write down the answers using a printed questionnaire. Then, and only then, prescribe the flooring options which best fit their taste and lifestyle.

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.

 

Posted on

Marketing mastery: How to convert more door swings into sales

April 2/9, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 21

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

 

(First of two parts)

“We’ve been advertising with Angie’s List and Home Advisor, and running Google AdWords,” a dealer from Colorado said during a meeting about additional ways to market his business.

I asked him what his monthly ad spend was and he said about $6,000. I followed up by asking how many walk-ins out of 10 wind up purchasing, and he said three.

“Before you spend additional money trying to attract more traffic, you need to do a better job converting the traffic you already have,” I said. “If you simply increased your close rate from three out of 10 to four, that’s a 30% increase in revenue with zero additional marketing.”

I’ve had similar conversations with other flooring retailers. Many dealers who want to increase their revenue jump immediately to increasing their advertising spend and too often this is premature.

In reality, many dealers can increase their revenue significantly by simply closing more of the people who are already walking through their front door. I work with dealers who have increased their closed sales to seven out of 10 walk-ins, and who get a 90% close rate on jobs they quote. These kinds of close ratios require the implementation of strategies specifically designed to increase closed sales.

Here are some key strategies for making this happen.

Repeat and referred customers

“Can you tell the difference between a referred customer and a stranger who visited your store because they saw an ad?” I asked a dealer at one of my training seminars.

“Definitely,” she replied. “A referral already trusts us. We really don’t have to ‘sell’ them like we would a stranger.” Other dealers in the audience agreed.

When someone has purchased from you before or they were referred, they come in your store with pre-built trust. In general, they are less price-sensitive, the buying cycle is shorter and the closed sale ratio tends to be higher than with strangers.

Dealers I work with who get 70% to 80% close ratios do so in part by increasing their number of repeat and referred customers. By increasing the amount of repeat and referred customers visiting your store, you’ll automatically increase your closed sales—even if you don’t do any additional sales training.

The most powerful way to increase the number of repeat and referred customers walking through your door is by marketing to your database with a monthly newsletter and a weekly e-newsletter. I’ve seen dealers come back from the brink of bankruptcy, triple their revenue in a couple of years and even open additional stores. They did other things as well, but marketing to their database was the key driver.

You should also train your RSAs on how to generate referrals from your already-scheduled installations. When you’ve done a great job for a customer and they are thrilled with your service, it’s very easy to get referrals. However, most dealers don’t train their team on how to do this, and as a result they’re leaving a fortune on the table.

In part two, I’ll reveal additional key strategies for converting more door swings into sales.

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.

 

Posted on

Marketing mastery: How changes to Facebook affect your marketing

March 19/26, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 20

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

 

Facebook recently made major changes to its newsfeed and the types of posts that will be favored moving forward.

“As we roll this out you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands and media,” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, announced recently. “And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard—it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.” He goes on to say that Facebook has “a responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being.”

These changes will have a major impact on your Facebook marketing. Let’s dig into the specifics of what this means for your flooring business, and how you can use these changes to your benefit.

Meaningful interactions. Facebook wants to foster real interaction between human beings in its newsfeed. This means we’re going to see a reduction in product pitches in favor of content that has real value and encourages meaningful “back-and-forth” discussions.

Facebook’s algorithms now put less emphasis on likes and shares in favor of posts that spark conversations. This doesn’t mean likes and shares are no longer important—they still are. What it does mean is Facebook is giving the biggest reach to posts with dialogue.

Effective posts. So what kinds of organic posts generate the kind of engagement Facebook is looking for? The same things that have been working all along.

  • Photos of real customers. I see dealers posting professionally shot product photos and getting very little engagement. No matter how great these posts look, a smartphone picture of a happy client—either in their home or the showroom—outperforms them in overall engagement. This is why you should train your salespeople on how to ask for and get photos of clients.
  • Home improvement tips. This is something any dealer can do, and it ties in directly with what you are selling. It is the kind of “valuable content” Facebook is looking for. These can either be links to articles you have written, your blog or—best of all—a video of you demonstrating how to spot-clean a carpet, do a home repair or other tip.
  • Community events. This can include food drives, holiday events, farmers markets, high school sporting events, etc. Think of your business as a community hub and create posts that will make people want to pay attention to your page and content.

The death of engagement bait. We’ve all seen posts that ask people to “like, share and comment.” This can be in the form of a contest or a request to become a follower of a business page. This is called engagement bait. Facebook now wants your posts to be interesting enough for people to interact without engagement bait. Any post that directly asks people to like, share or comment will be penalized.

Boosted content. Now that Facebook is deemphasizing organic posts from business pages, you should consider boosting your posts. This will give you more reach, and it can be done cost-effectively. We began using this strategy for all the dealers whose Facebook accounts we manage, and we have seen a measurable increase in results compared to non-boosted posts.

If you’d like me to evaluate your Facebook marketing, email support@flooringsuccesssystems.com.

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.

 

Posted on

Marketing mastery: How to fix bad reviews

February 19/26, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 18

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

 

(Second of three parts)

“I remember this guy,” a dealer from Minnesota told me. I had just pointed out to him that he had a negative review on Google. “He was rude to my staff and made unreasonable demands. When we told him we couldn’t give him what he wanted he left this lousy review.”

Many dealers can relate to this situation. You pride yourself on providing great service, and you’ve built a strong reputation in your community through years of hard work. Then some yahoo gets his knickers in a twist and trashes you online. I’ve done online marketing assessments for a lot of dealers, and unfortunately this situation is not uncommon.

Fake reviews left by competitors or dishonest customers can also be a problem. It is not fair and can make you want to pull your hair out. But this is the world we live in. So rather than complain, let’s look at steps you can take to handle negative reviews, protect your online reputation and gain an advantage over competitors.

Fix the problem in your business. When someone leaves a negative review it’s easy to get angry and defensive, but what if the negative comment is legitimate? If so, this person has done you a favor. Here’s why: According to Lee Resource, for every customer complaint there are 26 other unhappy customers who have remained silent. In this case the reviewer has taken the time to point out a problem that is causing you to lose customers and money. The solution here is to swallow your pride and fix the problem in your business.

Use Disney’s proven customer service recovery strategy. The Walt Disney Co. hosts 135 million people per year and they are masters at customer service recovery. Their employees are trained using the acronym HEARD. This technique can be used in person as well as with online reviews.

  • Hear. Let the customer tell the story without any interruptions.
  • Empathize. Let the customers know you care deeply about their concerns.
  • Apologize. Sometimes all someone wants is a sincere apology. Even if you didn’t do anything wrong, you can still apologize by saying things like, “I’m sorry you’re frustrated. I get it.”
  • Resolve. Resolve the issue right away. For example, ask the customer, “What can I do to make this right?”
  • Diagnose. Without blaming anyone, find out why the mistake occurred. Does your system need fixing? Was it human error? Take steps to make sure the mistake won’t happen again.

In addition, you should respond publicly to negative reviews. Resist the urge to blame the reviewer or make excuses. Instead, be empathetic, apologize and list the steps you have taken to correct the problem.

Lastly, learn to drown out negative reviews. There is no mechanism to remove authentic negative comments left by real customers from Google and the other major review sites. Note: If a review is fake or slanderous there are steps you can take with the review companies to have them removed, but it’s a hassle. I don’t recommend it. Instead, drown out negative reviews with positive ones. This is the single- most powerful strategy for building and maintaining a great online reputation.

If you have any questions, or if you’d like me to evaluate your online reputation, email me at support@flooringsuccesssystems.com.

 

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.

Posted on

Marketing mastery: How to manage your online reputation

November 27-December 11, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 13

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

 

I was doing an online marketing assessment for Susan, a dealer from California, when she said, “Jim, I can’t believe this dealer has a higher star rating than us. He operates out of a storage container, and he once pulled a gun on a customer.”

I said to Susan, “Let’s walk a mile in Cathy Consumer’s shoes so you can see what your prospects are seeing.”

I then Googled flooring and the name of her town. Susan’s store came up No. 1 on the organic search, but Mr. Storage Container came in No. 2, right below her listing. I pointed out that Mr. Storage Container had five positive reviews on Google, but she had none.

“In other words, while you have worked hard for more than two decades to build a phenomenal offline reputation, this joker who operates out of a metal box and once pulled a gun on a customer has a better online reputation,” I explained.

To which Susan replied: “But this guy is absolutely the worst. I’ll bet those reviews were posted by his friends.”

I replied, “Probably so, but the only thing that matters is what Cathy Consumer sees when she’s looking online for a floor dealer. You have to assume she doesn’t know any flooring dealers or anything about flooring. That’s a big part of why she is researching online. She’s going to choose which store to visit based on who has the best online reputation.”

This kind of situation is very common. I was recently meeting via video conference with a dealer from Nevada to assess her online marketing position. She, too, has been in business for more than 20 years. When I Googled flooring and the name of her town, she and a competitor came up near the top of the search. However, she had only one review and her competitor had more than a dozen.

“I can’t believe this,” she said. “This guy has only been in business for a year and he doesn’t do great work. How does he have all these reviews and we only have one?”

I said: “He’s probably doing a better job of asking for, and getting, reviews than you. Based on the strength of your online reputation alone, which dealer is Cathy Consumer more likely to visit?”

I explained to the retailer that very few people will review a dealership on their own. You have to have a system in place to request reviews and make it easier for your customers to leave one. The dealer with this system will win the online reputation game.

Some dealers think, “Well, I’ve been in business for three decades and get a lot of repeat and referred customers, our reputation is great. Why do we need to worry about online reviews?” If this is your thinking you need to consider these statistics:

  • According to Business 2 Community, 92% of consumers now read online reviews.
  • Business 2 Community also found 94% of consumers would use a business with a four-star rating.
  • According to BrightLocal, 88% trust reviews as much as personal recommendations.
  • According to Synchrony Financial, 85% of consumers begin their path-to-purchase online for big-ticket products.

In other words, the rules have changed. Just because you have a great offline reputation doesn’t mean it will be automatically reflected online. With 85% of consumers beginning their flooring path-to-purchase online, it’s critical to have a plan to generate more positive reviews.

 

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.

Posted on

Marketing mastery: How to leverage your online reviews

November 6/13, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 11

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 10.45.16 AMStatistics show nearly 90% of consumers consider ratings and reviews before making purchase decisions. This should come as no surprise in this era of Amazon, Google, Yelp, Facebook, Yahoo, Angie’s List and Home Advisor, to name a few. Let’s face it: These days, everybody is online—especially consumers in the market for floor coverings. This presents a valuable opportunity to be proactive and get out in front of the customer by not only boosting your web presence, but also interacting with potential—and existing—customers in a meaningful and timely manner.

First, it’s important to understand the customer’s mentality when it comes to researching and buying products online. Not too long ago I was on Amazon to purchase individually wrapped computer screen cleaners; I was trying to decide between a dozen options. I read several reviews to help me make a decision on what turned out to be a $19 purchase. How many times have you done the same thing for minor purchases? For that matter, how many times have you checked reviews for larger purchases such as choosing a restaurant, booking a hotel or hiring a service business? Most of us do it on a regular basis. More importantly, your prospects are increasingly checking reviews prior to purchasing flooring.

Here are some statistics to consider:

  • 92% of consumers today read online reviews vs. 88% in 2014.
  • 94% of consumers would rather use a business with a four-star rating.
  • 88% trust reviews as much as personal recommendations vs. 83% in 2014.

These stats highlight the importance of getting positive reviews for your business. However, it’s also important that you have lots of reviews, and that new reviews are being posted regularly.

So, how can a dealer generate a steady stream of positive reviews and get the most marketing leverage out of them? There are three things to consider when it comes to reviews. The first is review acquisition, which means actively seeking reviews from your happy customers. Most review sites allow you to solicit reviews, so it’s generally OK to ask. However, be careful about offering incentives for positive reviews, as this is against the guidelines for many review sites.

Conventional wisdom states the best time to ask for a review is after a successful installation—providing the customer is pleased with the products and services you have provided. Get into the habit of sending each of your customers an email asking for a review, and include links to several popular review sites.

Here’s a word of caution: Don’t have your customer use your store’s computer or tablet to write reviews. It’s easy for review companies to detect these kinds of “kiosk” tactics using incoming IP addresses and browser cookies. It’s best to email the request and let the customer give the review from her home.

Next, make sure you are monitoring them properly. If you get a bad review, reach out to the customer and try to correct the issue quickly.  Depending on the site, you may be able to comment on the review and explain what steps you have taken to make things right. Don’t panic if you get the occasional bad review. Studies show consumers are skeptical when they only see 5-star reviews, so a couple of less-than-perfect reviews can actually make you seem more real.

In future columns I will provide more tips on how to get mileage from your positive reviews.

 

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.

Posted on

Marketing mastery: How to win the path-to-purchase game

October 23/30, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 10

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

 

(Second of three parts)

When buying big ticket items ($500 or more), the average consumer spends 79 days on the path-to-purchase, research shows. Furthermore, 85% of consumers begin their path-to-purchase journey online, but 82% of the time do they make the actual purchase in a brick-and-mortar store.

To that end, it’s important that retailers stay in front of their prospect throughout the 79 days in order to make sure that the path ends at their store instead of a competitor’s.

In this follow-up to Part I of my series (FCNews, Sept. 11/18), I provide a three-step system for making this happen.

Step 1: Provide prospects with an “irresistible free offer” on your website. By “irresistible,” I mean an offer so compelling that a total stranger is willing to give you her contact information in exchange for the information you’re giving away. In creating this kind of offer, it’s important to understand the mindset of someone shopping for flooring. She is excited about the prospect of getting new floors to make her home more beautiful. She is about to invest thousands of dollars and she doesn’t want to make a mistake, buy the wrong flooring and have to live with a decision she’ll regret. So naturally, her excitement is combined with some nervousness—which is part of the reason the path to purchase averages 79 days.

The consumer begins her research online, so put yourself in the best position to offer her this guidance. For instance, she visits your website and sees a video or ad offering for a free report where she will learn how to avoid predatory dealers and questions to ask a dealer before purchasing. This is a compelling offer that she is likely to opt in for if she’s in the market for flooring.

Step 2: Obtain prospect’s critical information. Basically you need to collect three pieces of information from the consumer: name, email address and phone number. If a prospect is willing to give you all of this, she has raised her hand and identified herself as a hot prospect who is very interested in buying flooring. You can now focus more intense marketing efforts on this prospect.

Step 3: Establish an automated 79-day ‘drip’ campaign. For the first month, your prospect should get an email from you every two to three days. Every email should follow the 90/10 formula: 90% great content and only 10% consisting of an invitation to purchase. This means 90% of the content is valuable, informative, welcome and entertaining; it should be so compelling that she looks forward to your next email.

Up to 10% of the message can consist of a special offer or invitation to purchase. You should include a deadline for the offer along with a very clear, simple call to action: phone you or visit your showroom.

Within a day or two of opting in for your free offer, your prospect should get a phone call from a member of your sales team. The aim here is to schedule an appointment, either in your showroom or the prospect’s home.

Over the course of the next phase—31-79 days—send a weekly email. Follow the same 90/10 formula you used during the first 30 days.

By following this strategy you give yourself a huge advantage in the path-to-purchase game because most of your competitors will never implement a system as I’ve described.

 

New book!  For a free copy of Jim’s latest book, “How Floor Dealers Can Beat the Boxes Online,” visit BeatTheBoxesOnline.com.

Posted on

Marketing mastery: The best social media platforms for business

October 9/16, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 9

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 10.45.16 AMI sometimes hear busy flooring dealers make comments such as, “I keep hearing about the different social media platforms I should be using to market my business, but there are so many. I just can’t keep up.” It’s understandable for dealers to feel this way because there are a ton of options available.

If you’re struggling to choose a platform, why not put your focus where the majority of your customers are interacting? According to a report released by the Pew Research Center, 68% of Americans are on Facebook. This dwarfs the percentages on Instagram (28%), Pinterest (26%), LinkedIn (25%) and Twitter (21%).

In my opinion, Facebook is still the most effective at delivering customers. When done correctly it can produce a steady stream of quality customers for your business. You can make money using some of the other platforms if you have the time and resources to design and run effective marketing campaigns for each additional social media account. But most dealers barely have the time to effectively implement one platform, let alone several.

Some of you may have already attempted Facebook marketing and received mediocre results. I have found that dealers often make some common mistakes that hurt their efforts on this potentially lucrative platform. Following are four common errors.

Trying to sell directly on Facebook. The only products that tend to sell well on Facebook are low-end, impulse items like t-shirts, inexpensive electronic gadgets, costume jewelry, etc. In terms of selling, think of Facebook as a large mall. You don’t usually see big-ticket items like flooring being sold in malls where people tend to browse for impulse buys. Therefore if you want to generate sales, your marketing should be designed to get prospects off social media and into your store.

Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 10.15.38 AMPoor page design. Not properly setting up your page can hurt your visibility online and cause you to miss opportunities to get people into your store. Some common mistakes include: using incomplete information, having no call to action or link to the dealer’s main website, weak or non-existent unique selling proposition, having information and branding that is inconsistent with other online listings and setting up your business as a personal profile. (This is currently against Facebook’s guidelines and can get your profile shut down.)

Buying likes. Having thousands of likes on your Facebook page makes you look more relevant, and if the likes are from real followers—and you market to them properly—they can translate into big revenues for your business. However, it can be tempting to buy likes, and there are companies all over the Internet offering to sell them to you. Don’t do it. If you have 10,000 likes from fake followers not interested in your product, then they are going to have low engagement. This hurts the visibility of your posts, and your real followers won’t see them. Fake followers are also not going to buy your product.

Having no Facebook marketing plan. Many dealers simply post photos of products or special offers periodically with no thought-out plan for systematically generating business from this platform. Your posts must fit into an overall plan for generating quality customers.

 

Jim Augustus Armstrong specializes in providing turnkey marketing strategies for flooring dealers. For a complimentary copy of Jim’s book, “How Floor Dealers Can Beat the Boxes and Escape the Cheap-Price Rat-Race of Doom Forever,” visit beattheboxestoday.com.

Posted on

Marketing mastery: Winning the so-called path-to-purchase game

September 11/18, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 7

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

(First of two parts)

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 10.45.16 AMIn 2016 Synchrony Financial did a major-purchase study that focused on the path to purchase consumers take when they buy big-ticket items. The company found 85% of consumers begin their path to purchase online, 70% then visit a brick-and-mortar store and 82% make their purchase in the store. According to GE Financial, this entire process takes 79 days on average.

Therefore, if you want to win the path-to-purchase game, your website should do the following:

  1. Create differentiation to make your dealership overwhelmingly obvious.
  2. Have a strong call to action that moves prospects along the path-to-purchase in your direction.
  3. Capture prospects’ contact information.
  4. Do follow-up marketing and stay in front of prospects throughout the path to purchase.

Let’s take a look at why most flooring websites do not accomplish these four things.

Failure to create differentiation. How many flooring dealer websites have you seen with the business name at the top, photos and/or lists of products (sometimes with teaser prices) and company and contact information?

I call these “Name, Rank and Serial Number” websites. Superficially these sites vary, but most of them say the same thing, which creates no differentiation from competitors.

You see, all prospective customers searching online have one question: Why should I buy from you instead of your competitors? Most websites do a poor job of answering this fundamental question.

A weak or non-existent call to action. Most flooring websites are basically electronic brochures. They give product and business information, but do not have a strong call to action. Your website should compel visitors to take specific action that propels them down the path to purchase in your direction and away from competitors.

Failure to capture contact information. You’ve invested money into your website. Chances are you have paid an SEO company to improve your rankings so people can find you. You have also probably invested large sums into pay-per-click ads. However, most consumers simply poke around for a minute and then leave, never to be heard from again. You’re only giving yourself one shot at these prospects’ business, so most of the money you invested driving them to your site is wasted. If you capture their contact information you will have the opportunity to stay in front of them throughout their path to purchase.

Failure to do follow-up marketing. The goal with follow-up marketing is to transform a single website visit into unlimited opportunities to stay in front of prospects and drive them toward your business. Because most flooring websites do a poor job of capturing visitors’ contact info, there is rarely an opportunity for follow-up marketing.

What if there was a single solution to all four of these website problems? Well, you’re in luck, and I’ll reveal it in the next installment.

 

 

Jim Augustus Armstrong specializes in providing turnkey marketing strategies for flooring dealers. For a complimentary copy of Jim’s book, “How Floor Dealers Can Beat the Boxes and Escape the Cheap-Price Rat-Race of Doom Forever,” visit beattheboxestoday.com.

Posted on

Marketing mastery: Cut the rope to finally grow your business

August 28/September 4: Volume 32, Issue 6

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

 

(Third of three parts)

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 10.45.16 AMIn the first two parts I compared a flooring dealership to a hot air balloon. It wants to float up into the sky but a rope is anchoring it to the ground. The rope represents the amount of hours you can physically work in your business. By cutting the rope, your business can grow and you can work less. In part two, I explained two out of the five keys to cutting the rope. Here are the final three.

Key #3: Marketing. If you want to work fewer hours it is essential to delegate, which means hiring quality people. Being able to afford this requires having effective marketing strategies in place, strategies you can rely on daily to produce a consistent stream of revenue.

The best place to begin is by marketing to people who have already proven they will give you money in exchange for flooring—past customers. Here are three examples of dealers who made dramatic business transformations by marketing to past customers on a consistent basis.

  • In six months Mark Bouquet, an Illinois dealer, went from nearly closing his doors to being booked out for weeks. In recent years his business has exceeded $3 million in revenue.
  • Garry Combs, another dealer in Illinois, was on the verge of closing his doors. He not only turned his business around but within two years he opened his second store.
  • Craig Bendele, a Florida dealer, grew his business by 50% two years in a row. He is currently building his dream home.

These dealers did other things as well to build their businesses, but past-customer marketing was a major factor driving these revenue increases.

Key #4: Systems. A system is a procedure, process, method or course of action designed to achieve a specific result. Systems are the only way to produce a reliable, quality experience for your customers. They allow a person who owns 15 dealerships to deliver great service to his customers without things falling apart.

Your job as an entrepreneur is to work on rather than in your business, and that means developing and maintaining systems. Let’s say you implement a system for measuring a home and quoting the job. If something goes wrong resist the temptation to do the task yourself. Instead, work on your business by determining what went wrong and fixing the breakdown in your system.

Key #5: Management/ leadership. Part of good leadership means maximizing your team’s success. Here are three things you must have in place to ensure this happens.

First, you’ve got to give your team the tools to succeed. For example, if you want your sales team to increase their closed sales, it’s not enough to say, “You need to close more sales.” You’ve got to give them the tools, such as a step-by-step sales system that can be taught and learned. Second, you’ve got to train them on how to use the tools. Third, you’ve got to have accountability to use the tools correctly.

All three of these can be accomplished in weekly training. This same three-step process can be used for any position within your company.

By implementing these five keys you can cut the rope and allow your business to soar, while at the same time eliminating the stress and burnout of working 50-plus hours per week. If you have questions or comments I’d love to hear them. Email me at support@flooringsuccesssystems.com.