Marketing Mastery: Take control of business, get your life back

Home Columns Marketing Mastery: Take control of business, get your life back

April 10/17, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 22

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

 

(Second of three parts)

In the first installment (FCNews, March 27/April 3) you learned how Earl Swalm, a Canadian floor dealer, took control of his business and grew it by 50% in one year, while at the same time cutting his work hours to less than 35 per week.

In this part I’m going to cover the most important sales and marketing strategies Swalm used to achieve this impressive growth.

Mine your database for gold. Most flooring dealers ignore the only people on Earth who have proven they will give them money in exchange for flooring: their past customers. Instead, they opt to spend a king’s ransom on print or online advertising, chasing cold prospects who don’t know them, like them or trust them. If this describes you, don’t feel bad. A lot of the training in our industry focuses on cold advertising, which misleads a lot of dealers into thinking this is the best way to grow their business. There’s nothing wrong with cold advertising; in fact, I teach dealers effective print and online strategies for reaching strangers. However, it simply cannot deliver results that are comparable with marketing to past customers. I’ve seen dealers go from nearly closing their doors to opening their second store by marketing to past customers on a monthly basis.

This is what Swalm does. He uses a monthly newsletter that is full of fun, informative, entertaining content, so customers actually look forward to reading it even if they don’t need flooring right then. Swalm’s strategy creates total top-of-mind awareness, so when a customer needs flooring, or when she has the opportunity to refer someone in her sphere of influence, she thinks of him.

Email magic. Email marketing to your past customers can also be effective, as long as you don’t spam them with endless pitches to buy stuff. Swalm uses email content, which is similar to his printed newsletter: fun, engaging content that people will enjoy and forward to their friends.

Create a culture of referrals. This starts with the basics such as showing up on time, dressing professionally, returning calls on time, etc. It also means treating customers like royalty by impressing them with great service. Try offering beverages to prospects, wearing shoe covers while in their home, giving them free spotter or cleaning kits, etc. You should also ask for referrals. When you provide great service you’ve earned the right to ask.

Equip your team for success. Swalm uses a step-by-step selling system that impresses customers, positions his sales team as trusted advisors, differentiates his store from the competition, enables him to command premium prices and helps his team close more sales. He implements this system by having regular training sessions with his sales team.

Like Swalm, you should have a written, step-by-step sales process you can provide to your team. Make sure you train them on how to use it and hold them accountable.

By doing these things, Swalm is growing his business by attracting more repeat and referral customers. Some benefits of doing this include: dramatically improved sales closing rate, less time wasted on price shoppers, higher margins and increased referrals.

In part three I’ll cover the strategies Swalm used to cut his work hours in half.

 

Must Read

TISE Live digital event open for registration

Las Vegas—The International Surface Event (TISE) is producing a virtual event over the previously scheduled in-person January event dates—Jan. 26-28, 2021—with an online product-focused...

October new home sales continue strong fall season

Washington, D.C.—Sales of newly built, single-family homes in October dipped 0.3% to 999,000 from an upwardly revised September number, according to newly released data...

Suburban Housing: Increased trend or permanent shift?

This article was originally featured by the National Association of Home Builders. Washington, D.C.—In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, certain patterns and trends have...

Mannington launches new Main Street product line

Calhoun, Ga.—Building on its longstanding success in the Main Street category, Mannington is launching a new, updated and refreshed product offering and re-branding of...

Congoleum exits voluntary reorganization proceedings

Trenton, N.J.—Congoleum, founded in 1886, announced it has successfully completed its restructuring process as a privately held company. Through this process, the company has...

AHF Products to expand engineered wood facility

Mountville, Pa.—AHF Products announced plans this month to invest $2.5 million and create 20 full-time jobs at its Somerset, Ky., facility early in 2021. Work on...
X