Marketing Mastery: How to make more while working less

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March 28/April 4, 2016; Volume 30, Number 20

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

(Second of three parts)

In my last column I told the story of Craig, a dealer from Florida who increased his revenue 50% each year for the past two years while simultaneously cutting his work hours. I would like to go over some of the strategies he used to get this impressive growth in revenue.

Blocking and tackling

Craig provides quality products and great 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 huge opportunity for you if you’re willing to step up and provide superior service. You’ll instantly stand out without spending a dime in advertising and you’ll increase referrals. If you want to exponentially grow your word-of-mouth business, pay attention to the fundamentals.

Consumer education

A consumer’s guide helps Craig educate prospects on how to choose a flooring store, common pitfalls to avoid and questions to ask dealers before buying anything. This positions him as a trusted advisor and makes him the obvious choice. To create your own guide, write down everything you wish your prospects knew about buying flooring, common rip-offs and 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.

Creating differentiation

Every customer who walks into Craig’s showroom gets a welcome pack including a copy of his consumer’s guide, testimonials, his most recent newsletter, iformation on his warranties and one or two product brochures.

Market to your top prospects

Top prospects are the people who are most likely to buy from you and send you referrals. They have minimal 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 ignoring them.

Two years ago Craig stopped neglecting his past customers and began marketing to them every month. His main tool is a direct-response newsletter, which has been the single biggest driver for his business growth. For his newsletter he uses:

  • The 90/10 formula. The newsletter is 90% entertaining, general interest articles and only 10% about flooring. All flooring is all boring.
  • Emotional triggers. These compel people to open the newsletter quickly, read it and respond. Triggers include a photo of you, a contest, testimonials, information about your referral program and recognition of customers.
  • A “did you know” section. This is where you educate readers on services you provide besides flooring—countertops, window treatments, carpet cleaning, etc.

Consistency is key. If you want big results, you’ve got to send out a newsletter every month. If you send it quarterly or every other month your results will suffer. (For a copy of Craig’s newsletter, send me an email.)

Free book! For a complimentary copy of Jim’s new book, “How Floor Dealers Can Beat the Boxes and Escape the Cheap-Price Rat-Race of Doom Forever,” visit

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