Marketing Mastery: Have fun making Home Depot eat your dust

Home Columns Marketing Mastery: Have fun making Home Depot eat your dust

Volume 27/Number 21; March 3/10, 2014

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

(Third of three parts)

There is no single strategy that will magically enable you to leave the boxes in the dust. Rather, you should implement multiple integrated sales and marketing strategies that reinforce one another and position you as the obvious choice. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some effective strategies you can add to your Depot-dustin’ arsenal.  

Education-based marketing

Through education-based marketing you can inform prospects why cheap price and quality never go together, why the “$39 whole-house installation” is a myth, and make your business the obvious choice. You’ll also position yourself as a trusted advisor.

Ask the right questions

Most dealers open their sales presentations with, “How may I help you?” or “What kind of flooring did you have in mind?” In previous articles I explained how this sets you up to compete on price and gives control to the prospect. Instead, ask questions that create differentiation and give you control.


Testimonials give you a halo of credibility. What others say about you is 100 times more effective than what you say about yourself, even if you are 100 times more eloquent. Use testimonials in all your marketing and sales presentations, and display them in your showroom.

Create a culture of referrals

You want to manage the entire customer experience with a “referral mindset” and train your team to do the same. From the time a prospect walks in your store through the installation, and continuing with the post-installation follow-up, engineer an experience that “wows” her and transforms her into a raving fan, eager to send you referrals.

Use the Rule of Reciprocity

This is an easy strategy that creates great customer service and helps develop a culture of referrals.

When a customer walks into your business, offer her a beverage menu and say, “What can I get you to drink? (Don’t say, “Would you like something to drink?” as this gives the option to say no.) When she accepts, she will feel indebted to you and want to reciprocate by buying from you.

Your past customers are the only people who have proven they’ll give you money in exchange for flooring, yet the vast majority of dealers ignore their past customer lists. Instead, see yourself as a rancher. Invest the time, energy and money into building, nurturing and protecting your herd—something the boxes don’t do.

Monthly newsletter

This is one of the best tools for effective herd building. A key point to remember is never make your newsletter 100% about flooring. “All flooring is all boring” because most of your past customers don’t need flooring in any given month. Instead, keep your newsletter content 80% fun, informative, general-interest information and the remaining 20% flooring-related.


Send Me Your Feedback!  Do you have a sales or marketing question you’d like to have answered? What topics would you like to see covered in FCNews? Email me at I’d love to hear from you.

Jim Augustus Armstrong specializes in providing turn-key marketing strategies for flooring dealers.  To subscribe to his free weekly Marketing e-course, go to

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