In part 1 I made the point that mediocre service is rampant across most industries, retail flooring included. The flooring world is getting more difficult and competitive, not less so, and if you expect to prosper long-term you must rise above the legions of the mediocre. This is especially true if you want to have a legacy business you can pass on to your children, or if you want to be able to sell it for top dollar. This is all bad news if you are not willing to put in the effort to implement the right strategies, but a gigantic opportunity if you are one of the rare dealers who is committed to creating complete and total differentiation to rise above the rest.
Let’s look at some concrete strategies for standing out.
Make sure your showroom and the exterior of your building look great. That means keeping the walls clean, and painted when necessary, windows washed regularly, signage clean, walkways swept, weeds eliminated, etc. Your restrooms should not only be clean, but decorated beautifully. You’re in the interior design business, so all your interior spaces should look and feel great.
I’ve covered this many times in trainings and in this column, but too often showrooms are cluttered and overstocked, silent as the grave, and smell like dust and glue. Fix this problem. Declutter and curate your samples. Have music playing throughout your showroom. Pop popcorn or bake cookies or bread in your store to create a welcoming, inviting aroma.
When you know a client is coming in for an appointment, have a whiteboard on an easel inside the front entrance and write a welcome message to that client. “Welcome Suzy Pendergastman!”
Have testimonials visible throughout your showroom. Have a menu of hot and cold beverages. Offer snacks (like the popcorn, cookies and bread you’ve prepared in your store).
Make sure all walk-ins are acknowledged within thirty seconds of entering your store. If you’re short-staffed and working with a customer, excuse yourself and welcome the new walk-in, get them a drink, and invite them to browse until you can help them.
Implement a written, step-by-step sales process which can be taught and followed by even the greenest of sales people. Your system should have multiple “trust builders” and “Wow factors” engineered into it. For example, using testimonials, wearing shoe covers in the home, taking your prospect through a list of questions and writing down their answers, etc.
Positive comments from customers are powerful social proof that you are different from your competitors and worth a higher price. This starts with online reviews. Generate hundreds of them and completely dominate your market with reviews. These can be repurposed for your website, showroom, marketing, printed materials, etc.
Nurture your herd
Communicate with your herd of past customers at least monthly, and preferably weekly, using fun, informative, welcome, entertaining content. I’ve worked with more dealers than I can count who have transformed their businesses by doing this. I’ve taught this hundreds of times in live trainings. I’ve gone into great detail on how to do it in this column, and shown dealer case studies demonstrating how this can dramatically increase your repeat and referral business, help you command premium margins, and close a lot more sales. Yet 99% of dealers ignore this sure-fire, proven strategy to rake in hundreds-of-thousands, even millions of additional dollars each year. Good news if you’re part of the 1% willing to do it. I work with a lot of them and they’re smiling all the way to the bank.
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!