In Part 1, I told the story of Craig Bendele, a dealer from Florida who increased his revenue 50% each year for the past 2 years, while at the same time drastically cutting his work hours. In this installment, I’m going to cover some of the strategies he used to get this impressive growth in revenue. Obviously in a short article I can’t cover every single thing he does to drive business, so I’m going to cover a few of the most effective and easiest to implement.
Blocking And Tackling
Craig provides quality products, and he provides excellent service to his customers. He does what he says he’s going to do when he says he’s going to do it. I call this “blocking-and-tackling.” It’s the basics – the fundamentals.
Customer service across all industries is mostly mediocre to lousy, which is a tremendous opportunity for you if you’re willing to step up and provide superior service. You’ll instantly stand out without spending a dime on advertising, and you’ll increase referrals. If you want to exponentially grow word-of-mouth, pay attention to the fundamentals.
Craig uses a consumer’s guide to educate prospects on how to choose a flooring store, common pitfalls to avoid, and questions to ask prospective dealers before buying anything. This positions him as a trusted advisor and makes him the obvious choice.
Here’s how to create your own guide: write down everything you wish your prospects knew about buying flooring, common rip-offs, pitfalls, the importance of quality installation, and why making a decision based on price is a mistake. Then have it printed up as a booklet to hand out to prospects.
Every customer that walks into Craig’s showroom gets a ‘Welcome Pack‘ which includes:
- A copy of his Consumer’s Guide,
- A copy of his most recent newsletter,
- Information on his warranties, and
- One or two product brochures.
If you don’t create differentiation, you wind up competing on price. Craig’s residential margins are at 45%, so he’s doing a good job differentiating himself.
Market To Your Hottest Prospects
These are the people who are more likely than any other group to buy from you and send you referrals. They have low price-resistance and are willing to pay premium prices. They already trust you. Who are they? Your past customers. And if you’re like 98% of dealers, you’re totally ignoring them.
Two years ago Craig stopped neglecting his past customers and began marketing to them every month. His primary tool for doing this is a direct-response newsletter. That has been the single biggest driver of his business growth.
Let’s deconstruct the newsletter he uses in case you want to develop your own:
- 90/10 formula. It’s 90% fun, entertaining, general interest articles, and only 10% about flooring. All flooring is all boring.
- Emotional triggers. These compel people to open the newsletter the minute it arrives, read it and respond. Some important triggers to include: a photo of you, a contest, testimonials, information about your referral program, and recognition of new and returning customers.
- ‘Did You Know‘ section. That is where you educate readers on things you provide besides flooring, like counters, window treatments, carpet cleaning, etc.
Consistency is key.
If you want big results like Craig and other successful dealers get, you’ve got to send that newsletter out every month. If you send it quarterly or every other month your results will suffer. (If you’d like to see a sample of the newsletter Craig uses so you can create your own, email me.)
In Part 3, I’m going to outline the steps Craig took to cut his schedule from 60+ hours per week to less than 40. If you missed Part 1, that’s where you learn Craig’s story, and how he eventually made changes in his business that enabled him to experience 50% annual growth two years in a row, while at the same time drastically cutting his work hours.
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!