“I’m having a record year,” the dealer from Virginia told me during a recent dealership diagnostic I was conducting over the phone.
“What do you attribute that to?” I asked.
“I think the COVID crisis has caused people to do a lot of home fix-up projects, including replacing their flooring.”
I’ve been hearing this from a lot of dealers around the country. Depending on the market area, some dealers are so busy right now they can hardly come up for air. Unfortunately, for most dealers this will be a temporary bump in revenue, after which their monthly sales will fall back to pre-COVID levels. However, smart, forward-thinking dealers are leveraging this unique opportunity into a permanent increase in size for their business. Here’s how:
Leverage a one-time sale into lifetime loyalty
Dealers have a lot of new customers coming into their store whom they’ve never met before. Sadly, most of these sales will be, at best, a one-and-done deal because only a tiny fraction of retailers will plug those new customers into a long-term customer nurture plan. Smart dealers are leveraging this surge in new customers into a new source of permanent long-term repeat and referral business. They’re doing it by marketing to those customers monthly (even weekly) using the 90/10 Formula, which I’ve covered extensively in past columns.
The marketing multiplier
Let’s say you get 100 brand new customers during COVID. Each of those have at least 200 people in their sphere of influence, and that’s conservative when you figure in social media contacts. This means that your 100 new customers represent at least 20,000 additional contacts in your market area. Most dealers will do absolutely nothing to tap into that larger contact list, but a tiny fraction of forward-thinking dealers will. They do it by plugging those initial 100 new customers into the aforementioned customer nurture (i.e. marketing) plan. By staying in front of their customers with fun, entertaining communication—including reminding them of their referral program and celebrating people who send them referrals—they’re creating total top of mind awareness with these new customers. When anyone in their sphere needs flooring they’ll instantly think of these dealers.
Don’t kid yourself into thinking that customers will automatically remember the name of your business three years after they buy simply because you did a good job. Many of them won’t. Savvy dealers don’t count on their customers remembering who they are: they remind them, week-after-week, month-after-month.
Smart dealers ask all these new customers for online reviews and testimonials. They know that what others say about them is far more impactful than what they say about themselves. Online reviews can be repurposed for other marketing, including your website and printed materials.
Through years of providing Facebook marketing for dealers, we’ve measured what works and what doesn’t. We see a lot of dealers posting mostly product photos—images of displays, product promotions, etc. These get very little engagement: views, shares, likes, and comments.
What works for Facebook is the same thing which works for the overall customer-nurture strategy: the 90/10 Formula. This includes snapshots of happy customers, testimonials, and quick videos of you, your team and your customers. These types of posts absolutely blow away images of products, no matter how “professional” they look.
In other words, you want to use Facebook—and other social media—as a part of your overall customer-nurture marketing plan, and the most effective client-nurture plans use the 90/10 Formula.
Develop affiliate relationships
There’s no better time than right now to develop relationships with Realtors, designers, and other home services. If you have fifty businesses sending you four referrals per year, that’s an extra 200 sales with very low marketing costs. If you maintain them, these affiliate relationships will continue to feed your business for years to come, including through future market downturns.
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!