If a hurricane is coming and forecasters are not sure
if it’s going to hit your town, you would be foolish to
merely hope it passes you by.
A wise man prepares as though it’s going to hit with full force.
As the lockdown eases, no one knows if the flooring market is going to rebound quickly, or if we’re we’ll be hit with a months or years long recession. We all hope the market will come back quickly, but smart dealers prepare as though it won’t. This series is dedicated to giving you proven strategies—some of which I’ve covered in previous columns—to survive and thrive if we do enter a recession. The wise dealer hopes for the best, but plans for the worst.
Your Past Customers Will Enable You Thrive During A Recession
I’ve been beating this drum—often loudly—over the past thirteen years, and I’m going to continue to beat it until the flooring industry gets it through its head: stop ignoring your past customers.
When I launched Flooring Success Systems in 2007, we created a monthly printed newsletter for our floor dealer clients to send to their customers, and quickly added a weekly e-newsletter. That’s sixty-four touches per year. Our dealers are able to stay in front of customers with this high level of frequency because these messages use the 90/10 content formula. (This means content that’s only ten-percent flooring related, with the other ninety-percent dedicated to fun, informative, entertaining content. I’ve covered this in depth in previous columns.) Dealer after dealer who implemented this system saw their repeat and referral business increase, sometimes dramatically, even though the economy was in the toilet.
What makes past customer marketing with the 90/10 formula so effective? There are a number of reasons, but here are two keys.
Key #1: Total top of mind awareness
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that five years after you sold someone flooring that they will automatically think of you when it’s time to buy flooring again. Many won’t. By staying in front of your customers consistently, you’re ensuring that they will remember you when it’s time to buy again.
Key #2: Exponentially multiply your reach
Let’s say you have one-thousand customers in your database. Each of them has at least a hundred people in their sphere of influence: friends, relatives, co-workers, social media contacts, fellow church members, etc. That’s at least a hundred-thousand people represented in your database. By communicating with your thousand past customers regularly—entertaining them, publicly rewarding and thanking them for referrals, and creating a sense of community—when someone in their sphere needs flooring, who do you think they’re going to refer? (Hint: YOU!) If you tried to reach that same hundred-thousand people through advertising, you’d spend a fortune.
In my opinion, marketing to your past customers is the foundation to recession-proofing your business, which is why I’m dedicating this entire installment to it. I’ve worked with hundreds of dealers, and helped them implement lots of effective growth strategies, many of which I’ve covered in this column. But nothing I’ve seen in all my years of working with dealers is as consistently and reliably effective for thriving during tough markets as past customer marketing. Nothing. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do other things to recession-proof your business—after all, I’m covering other strategies in this series. But leaving this strategy out of your marketing arsenal—while unwise during a strong economy—is madness during a recession.
Stay tuned because in part three I’ll tell the true story of a chiropractor who built three, million-dollar practices, and how his approach to attracting customers will help you survive and thrive during a recession.
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!