“How many of you communicate with your past customers on a monthly basis?” I asked dealers at a Digital Domination Boot Camp I was conducting during the Chicago Floor Covering Association’s annual Product Showcase. No one raised their hand. That is not unusual. I poll most of my audiences with that question, and at most I’ll see three out of a hundred people raise their hands.
“Most dealers are hunters,” I told the group. “They hunt down a customer, bag it, skin it, and then they’re off hunting for the next one. But what if there was a better, easier way?” There is! The better way is to shift from being a hunter to being a rancher.
Hunters are transaction focused, while ranchers focus on the lifetime value of a customer (LVC). The LVC is all business a customer will do with you over their lifetime, plus all the referrals they send you during that time.
Being a rancher means all your sales and marketing efforts — before, during and after someone buys from you — are focused on the Lifetime Value of a Customer. Your job as a rancher is to round up a herd of customers. Nurture your herd, and protect them from rustlers, wolves, and coyotes (box stores, and other competitors). Your job is to fence in your herd so that it doesn’t wander off or get poached. By doing this, your herd will grow, and you’ll prosper.
If asked, most dealers will tell you they focus on the Lifetime Customer Value, but usually, their marketing efforts don’t reflect this. The majority of dealers have some kind of advertising or marketing in place to attract new customers. But after all the time, energy and money spent getting a customer through their door, they totally ignore them after the installation is complete, and the customer never hears from them again. That makes about as much sense as a rancher spending time, energy and money acquiring a herd of cattle, but having no fences, feed, or water in the troughs. His cattle are going to wander off, get poached, or die.
The average consumer replaces their flooring about every 5-7 years. What do you think happens to those customers during that time? They got bombarded with advertisements from Home Depot, Lowes, Menards, Lumber Liquidators, Empire, and every other big company promising to sell them flooring at the lowest price. There’s also an excellent chance they’ll forget your store’s name, especially if they got quotes from multiple stores at the time.
CATHY CONSUMER: “Honey, we need new floors. What was the name of the company that installed our carpet?”
HUSBAND: “Jeez, Cathy. That was five years ago. We talked to so many flooring people, I can’t remember. Let’s just go to Home Depot. They have free installation, and I want to look at lawn mowers while we’re there.”
CATHY CONSUMER: “Sounds good, hon!”
And just like that, another one of your customers gets poached by a competitor.
Make The Shift
But what if you had made the shift from hunter to rancher? What if after acquiring that customer, you put them inside your fence with all your other customers so they wouldn’t wander off or get rustled?
I teach dealers how to make the shift from hunter to rancher by using a strategic 3-part process. Some of the benefits they enjoy from this process:
- It delivers an ongoing stream of new customers to add to their existing herd.
- Their repeat and referral business increases.
- It recession-proofs their business.
- It evens out the ups and downs in revenue.
- It keeps their herd fenced in, so they stop losing customers to competitors.
- They are able to increase their revenue while working a lot less.
Over the next several installments, I’m going to lay out this 3-step process so that you can begin transforming from hunter to rancher.
To Tons Of Customers!
Jim Augustus Armstrong is The “Coach”
Jim Augustus Armstrong is the President of Flooring Success Systems, a program that equips dealers to double their profits, cut their work hours in half and beat the boxes! Many dealers have totally transformed their businesses and their lives for the better after joining Flooring Success Systems.
See what real, live dealers are saying!
A gift for you! For a FREE copy of Jim’s latest book, “How Floor Dealers Can Beat the Boxes ONLINE,” visit BeatTheBoxesOnline.com.