As I outlined in part 1 of this series, Home Depot spent $1.08 Billion in advertising in 2018. There is no way you’re going to beat them in the advertising game because they are outspending you thousands of times over. However, there are business growth methods you can implement which the big corporations can’t or won’t duplicate. One of these methods is ranching. This means rounding up a herd of quality customers, fencing them in away from poachers, nurturing, protecting and profiting from them. Let’s look at specific ranching strategies.
Fence in your herd.
Any rancher worth his salt knows that it doesn’t do any good to round up a herd of cattle if you fail to keep them fenced in. The way you keep your flooring customers fenced in is by communicating with them regularly. Some ways to do this include:
- Direct mail (newsletter)
- Social media
Only about 14% of your past customers need flooring in any given year, so don’t bore them with 100% flooring content. Make the majority of your content fun, informative, entertaining, and engaging. With a herd-fencing strategy, only about 10% of the content should be information about flooring, or an invitation to buy something.
Nurture your herd.
Regular communication with your herd of customers is essential to nurturing that personal relationship, but you can go beyond that with customer appreciation events.
- Taco day. One dealer I work with had a taco day right in their parking lot. They grilled the Carne Asada, and served up awesome, authentic tacos.
- Wine tasting in your showroom.
- Holiday parties.
My good friend and fellow FCNews columnist, Lisbeth Calandrino, has written a book called 50 Events To Drive Traffic To Your Store. It’s short, sweet and to the point, and will give you a ton of ideas for these kinds of events. You can pick up a copy at LisbethCalandrino.com.
Generate referrals from your herd.
By fencing in and nurturing your herd, you will develop the top of mind awareness which helps generate more referrals. One of the many advantages of referrals is their higher-than-average ticket size. Think back to your last ten sales which were over $10,000. There’s an excellent chance that at least seven of them came from referrals, or were repeat customers.
Grow your herd.
There are literally hundreds of ways to get new customers, both online and offline. While these methods can be very expensive, there are several things you can do to help insure you get a strong ROI.
First, before spending money on cold advertising to round up new customers, make sure you’ve got your herd fencing, nurturing, and referral strategies in place. There’s no sense in spending money to round up new customers, only to have them wander off or get poached by a competitor.
Second, instead of simply “putting your name out there,” use direct response marketing techniques. This essentially means giving prospects a compelling reason to take action right now. This can include offering free information in exchange for their email address, also known as lead capture. It can also mean having a special offer with a deadline. This doesn’t mean you have to do a loss-leader. Get creative with your offers. How about a package deal which includes their new flooring, furniture moving, an area rug, haul-off of their old flooring, and dinner for two at a local restaurant? You don’t even need to discount it. Consumers are conditioned to buy things in packages (travel, fast food, new car, etc.). Tap into that conditioning. Packaged services aren’t promoted much in flooring, so you’ll also differentiate yourself.
In the next installment I’ll cover showroom strategies, and in-home-measure strategies which the big corporations don’t do, and which leverage your advantages as a small business.
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!