By Ken Ryan
Achieving success in the flooring retail business isn’t merely about training or hard work or lead generation systems or delivering excellent customer service. It’s all these things and more, according to executives from America’s Floor Source.
The executive team and staff touched on several key points—from integrity to technology—that go into developing a winning formula.
Here are five valuable tips to help any retail business:
Tip #1: Stay on top of your leads
Prospective customers not only start their buying experience online, studies show they may spend all of their time online. As such, having the right lead management platform in place is essential for flooring retailers today.
“If you want to improve your business— then get on this platform,” said Jason Goldberg, CEO of America’s Floor Source and creator of Retail Lead Management (RLM), a first-of-its-kind software system specifically designed to help flooring retailers manage their leads. “From there, you need the discipline to use it and hold people accountable. No other technology can help your team and company more than this simple, affordable platform for managing leads. It’s a game changer when implemented and used properly.”
Tip #2: Train vigorously
The right team with the right training—nothing is more important to your business than the right people. “Build a solid team that you never stop training,” Goldberg said. “Most companies train on the things they think are important because it’s what everyone else is doing. The reality is you are most likely training on the wrong things. Some things can make a much bigger difference than others. And those things are typically not what the masses are working on.”
Tip #3: Emphasize teamwork
Build a committed team by putting your employees first. “Their happiness and well-being are important, and it will show when they represent you with your clients,” said Theresa Gomez, customer service manager, Indiana region. “Set the bar high by improving your staff through training on installation methods, product knowledge and modern technology to better meet the needs of your customers.”
Don’t forget to celebrate with your team in recognition of its accomplishments. “We do a Hall of Fame ceremony every year to honor three employees who have earned the right to be called AFS Hall of Famers,” Goldberg said.
Truly understand that it is a team effort. “Your warehouse, delivery staff and installers are just as important to your image as your sales team,” said David Sexton, general manager—Columbus West.
Tip #4: Keep customers happy
The best type of advertising is by creating happy customers. So said Allison Schmaltz, executive assistant. “Day in and day out, over half of our retail opportunities are generated by repeat customers and referrals,” she said. “Therefore, customer service has to be a priority. Providing excellent customer service should be a goal of every employee in every department in every position at your company. Being well versed in all things flooring, honesty, having integrity, communicating effectively—these are all attributes that contribute to providing great customer service.”
Tip #5: ‘Quit lying to yourself’
Goldberg said he hears retailers all the time say they are be er than the competition. “Here’s a reality check for most of you: You are not. Just because you say it does not make it so. George Costanza [actor from “Seinfeld”] says, ‘It’s not a lie if you believe it.’ Well, I’m here to tell you to quit lying to yourself because you are not helping your business. I constantly analyze where we are falling short against others and then put plans in place to improve so we are significantly be er than what or who we are up against.”