Watch what everyone else does – do the opposite. The majority is always wrong.

-Earl Nightingale

Most of the sales, marketing, and differentiation strategies I teach floor dealers and write about in this column break convention and completely ignore industry “norms.”   I do this because unconventional strategies offer the biggest return on investment for dealers who have the courage to implement them.  Just some of the benefits include:

  • Creating complete differentiation from competitors
  • The ability to command high margins
  • Long-term customer loyalty
  • Increased referrals
  • Increased market share
  • A business that stands the test of time

Do the extraordinary—the unconventional

The only way to achieve extraordinary results is to do the extraordinary—the unconventional.   After all, how are you going to create differentiation, command higher margins than your competitors, and create long-term customer loyalty if you follow industry norms, or simply copy what’s going on around you?   It’s not possible.   You’ve got to be different.

Now, almost everyone says they want to be different.  But when presented with strategies that are truly different than anything inside our industry, some floor dealers recoil out of fear or discomfort.  Case in point: recently I spoke at an industry event where I trained the group on three proven, but unconventional, strategies that floor dealers I work with have used to create differentiation, attract more customers, and sell at high margins.   To demonstrate the power of embracing unconventional strategies, I presented floor dealer case studies, including:

  • A dealer from Texas who increased his margins from 25% to over 50% in a matter of months
  • A dealer from Florida who increased his revenue by 50% multiple years in a row
  • Two different dealers from Illinois who brought their businesses back from the brink of bankruptcy and are now thriving
  • A dealer from Texas who stays booked out for 6-12 weeks, with customers being happy to wait one or two months for installation because they only want to work with him

Most of the attendees seemed open-minded and even excited about the impact that these unconventional approaches could have on their businesses.   But there were a couple of store owners who weren’t convinced.  During Q&A one of them said, “How does the dealer from Texas get customers to wait 6-12 weeks for their flooring?  I don’t see customers waiting for weeks and weeks to have flooring installed.  They’ll just go buy somewhere else.”

Customers won’t wait for their floors, will they?

Now, this attendee had just sat through a 90-minute training where I outlined exactly how the Texas dealer created total differentiation from competitors by using unconventional sales and marketing techniques.  I reminded him that the Texas dealer cultivated differentiation in his business, and as a result his clients were willing to wait because they saw him as being totally different than the other flooring stores in his area—apples and oranges—and only wanted to work with him.

Two of my floor dealer coaching clients also happened to be in the audience that evening.  They spoke up and told the audience that, because of these unconventional strategies, their customers were also willing to wait six weeks for an installation.

The first store owner simply shook his head.  “Customers just aren’t going to wait that long,” he said.  Even with all this evidence staring him in the face, he refused to believe it was possible.  After all, conventional thinking says that you’ve got to install customer’s floors right now, otherwise they’ll run off to Home Depot.

Whatever you believe about your future success, you’re probably right.

Some dealers left that event determined to implement the unconventional strategies they had learned.  The first dealer left firmly ensconced in his conventional thinking, convinced he was right.  Who do you think is more likely to make real, measurable improvements in their business over the next 12 months?



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!