Volume 27/Number 26; April 28/May 5, 2014
(Third of three parts)
In the last two installments I detailed the toxic problems with selling on cheap price and why you should learn how to sell your products for the most money, rather than the least. Let’s look at some specific strategies for doing this.
Dance with the one that brung ya
What would you think of a person you took to a dance that, upon arriving, abandoned you to dance with someone he or she found more appealing? Not much, probably. Yet, the vast majority of dealers do this day after day, year after year. Here’s what I mean: You owe your success in business to all the nice folks who, over the years, opened their wallets and gave you money, and who referred their friends who also gave you money. How much time, energy and money do you invest communicating with the people to whom you owe 100% of your success? By comparison, how much do you spend in cold advertising chasing strangers?
Your past customers know you, like you and trust you. Therefore, selling to them is far easier than selling to strangers. This translates into higher prices.
Set the bar
Carl Sewell, the author of “Customers For Life,” is a Cadillac dealer with 17 locations in Texas. Automobiles are commodities; there are many Cadillac dealers other than Sewell. Yet, he is consistently either the No. 1 or No. 2 Cadillac dealer in the U.S. every year, and he never sells on cheap price. How is this possible? Well, for one, Sewell doesn’t just raise the bar when setting customer service standards; he sets the bar. When setting the standards for over-the-top customer service, he does not benchmark himself against other dealers. He benchmarks himself against customer-service icons like Four Seasons resort hotels and Disneyland.
For example, every one of Sewell’s dealerships has an on-site floor-polishing zamboni. All the floors in the service bays, sales areas and customer service spaces are polished nightly. The rest of his business reflects this dedication to providing jaw-dropping service. Any floor dealer who sets the bar—who benchmarks his customer service standards with icons—will have no problem selling at high prices.
Build an army of ambassadors
When someone visits your store, your goal should be to make her jaw drop and have her tell others about you. In this way you create an army of ambassadors, spreading the word about this amazing flooring dealer who makes entering the store feel like you’ve just stepped into a high-end resort.
“But Jim, that’s a lot of work! I don’t have time to do all that!” Yup, it is a lot of work. But what’s more work? Toiling away for years selling on cheap price, or learning to successfully command top prices?
Also, a question for anyone who’s “too busy”: What is taking up all your time that is more important than learning to escape the cheap price rat race forever, entering the promised land of premium price selling?