LisBiz Strategies: Who is driving your ‘be back’ bus?

Home Columns LisBiz Strategies: Who is driving your 'be back' bus?

Aug. 17/24; Volume 30/Number 5

By Lisbeth Calandrino

How many times have you told yourself, “I know they’ll be back,” after potential customers leave your store? If you are a good salesperson, you probably spend time educating the customer, explain why your store is the right fit for her and are as charming as you can be. The next thing you know, she is heading out the door saying, “I’ll be back.”

But what you’ve really done is answered all her questions, put her on the “be back” bus and let her drive right to your competitor without getting her name or contact information. If you typically sell 35% of shoppers, that means 65% are getting back on the bus.

Unless you get on the bus with her, how will she know where to make her next stop?

Customers who haven’t yet bought flooring can be a huge source of income, contributing to a potential 80% increase in gross profit, according to industry experts. To make this happen, all you have to do is just work a bit smarter.

Did you think to ask the customer if you could call her or send her additional information, or did you just let her get on the bus? She is driving the bus so you should have a plan to stay in touch regularly. I’m not talking about bombarding the customer with constant sale information; instead you should continue a friendly conversation. The customer who hasn’t bought isn’t just a one-shot deal. The relationship needs to be cultivated after she leaves your store so she continues to engage with you. You have to get the bus to make a complete circle and come back to your store.

When will the customer buy? She will buy when she is willing—you just need to be there when she is. When she decides to pull the cord to stop riding and start buying, you have to be ready.

Now, with an abundance of available technology, there is a better way.

In the past, technology was very limited and it was difficult to consistently keep in touch. Today, all it takes is capturing basic information from the customer (name and email address) and explaining you would like to send her interesting information on events, new products and design tips.

It is important to understand the consumer is engaging in many conversations when she leaves your store. She is talking with friends, coworkers, family members and even bloggers to help her make a meaningful decision. If you can’t stay in her conversation, you will lose out to someone else who is listening.

“Everything you do must lead the customer back to your website and engage her so she wants to come back to your store,” said Greg Incardona of Follow Your Customer, a system designed to enhance the sales process. “Your website needs tools that will help the customer stay connected until she is ready to buy. If you don’t continue to stay in front of her until she makes up her mind, someone else will.”

Marketing is not one size fits all. Customers who haven’t made a purchase need different messages compared to customers who have. For more information on how to create an individualized email marketing plan for your customers, give me a call or sign up for a free webinar at We have the only program like this in the flooring industry and provide content written by industry experts like myself.

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