Lisbiz strategies: Learn to strike while the iron is still hot

Home Column Lisbiz strategies: Learn to strike while the iron is still hot

October 28/November 4, 2019: Volume 35, Issue 9

By Lisbeth Calandrino

 

In the world of retail, salespeople and owners live and die by leads. These leads may come through sophisticated electronic marketing systems, or they may come to a flooring store by more traditional means such as word of mouth. In either case, the objective is to jump on them before they get stale.

I understand that managing and following up on leads can be difficult at times. You meant to call them, but you were too busy. Now, you’re afraid to follow up because you think the lead is too old. When you finally do reach out to the customer she tells you she has already bought from your competitor.

Why didn’t you set time aside to make the call? You’re not the only one who hates calling people you don’t know, and the longer you wait the more difficult it becomes. You need to contact potential customers as quickly as possible. Remember, they have already expressed an interest in what you’re selling. If they haven’t visited your website and connected, it’s your job to get them there.

Are you a flooring manufacturer who supplies consumer or commercial leads to retailers? Purchasing leads is a big investment for your company, but if no one is keeping track how will you know what has become of them? This is where a targeted, touch-point email marketing program can help keep potential customers interested in coming to your flooring store.

A touch-point email marketing program is specifically designed to deliver a particular message to your potential customer and is personalized to her shopping needs. According to Campaign Marketing, email is highly ranked in the marketing kingdom with a 380% ROI and $38 for every $1 spent. An email campaign is about building relationships, not just selling. Each email should have a message that is important to the customer.

Even if you haven’t met her, useful advice on your products will begin to build your relationship. It doesn’t mean sending one note to the customer and disappearing. You must be consistent and have a series of timed touch points.

It is also not the holiday card you send out to relatives to see if they’re still alive. This is an electronic magnet. Instead of putting it on the customer’s refrigerator, it will stay on her mind through digital marketing.

There’s no reason why you can’t put together a three- to five-week email campaign starting with a friendly “hello,” introducing yourself and offering an invitation to come in and pick up a gift. You can also direct her to useful information on your website, such as design tips or color ideas.

The key is to build a relationship so the potential customer feels like she knows you and wants to meet you. This is also why you need to market using your personal picture. It has been proven trust increases by more than 75% if the customer sees your picture before she meets you. Real estate agents routinely include their photos in marketing promos.

Remember, these potential customers have been referred to your store, so you’re just reaching out and providing something of value before they meet you.

There are a host of customer relationship management tools out there to help you track prospects from initial contact to close. Don’t make a big mistake by ignoring them.

 

Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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