By Jason Goldberg
(First of two parts)
Every flooring business is different; every geographic market is different; and every competitive landscape is different. However, there are certain things all of us can do to run more successful and profitable flooring companies.
Following are a few key tips:
Commit to customer satisfaction. Satisfied customers do two things: 1) They become repeat customers; and 2) They refer potential customers to you.
That’s why satisfied customers—in every area of your business—are key to sustainable growth and profits. But a commitment to customer satisfaction is more than just saying you’re going to do it. It involves putting better processes in place and constantly reviewing and revamping existing practices. This includes everything from pricing strategies to site assessments.
Customer satisfaction also requires empowering your people to do whatever it takes (within reason) to address the client’s needs. At the same time, it also takes a company-wide understanding that it’s OK to walk away from opportunities where you’re unlikely to satisfy the customer, whether that’s because of unrealistic customer expectations, ridiculous deadlines, inadequate budgets or a lack of experience in a specific area, for example.
Track and manage every lead. Whether you get leads into your funnel through advertising, word-of-mouth, repeat customers, digital marketing or some other technique, leads that are not managed correctly are not only missed opportunities, they are wasted time and money. If you are going to invest time and money to generate leads, you should also invest in a system to manage those leads, and then turn those leads into customers.
To that end, we developed Retail Lead Management. When we saw how well it was working for our team, we decided to start offering it to other companies. Whether you use Retail Lead Management or another lead management system, the key is to use it. Across all industries, solutions like this one are often purchased but never fully utilized. Because of that fact, we developed Retail Lead Management so it is easy to use, with only the features that people in companies like ours would benefit from using. As we learn more—and as our clients ask for more—we are continually adding greater optional functionality and integrations to the system.
Hire, empower and reward. As the CEO of America’s Floor Source, I can lead the development of goals and strategies, but I can’t execute on all of them—or even lead the execution of all of them. That’s why it has been crucial to bring in the correct people and make sure they know they have the authority to make the decisions that are best for our customers, our people and our company.
To be clear, I’m not talking about only those people in traditional leadership roles. Everyone associated with America’s Floor Source—from division presidents to subcontractors—knows they have the authority and responsibility to do the right, fair thing. It’s not always easy to find people who can satisfy these high expectations, especially subcontracted installers. That’s why we’ve launched TraLaMa, the trade labor marketplace where businesses can find skilled trade laborers, and where trade laborers can find work.
Similar to Retail Lead Management, we developed TraLaMa to address a need we often have (finding reliable installers) and then created a solution that will help us and others in our industry and related sectors and, perhaps most importantly, the laborers.
In the second part of this column, I will discuss ways to identify and develop specialists within your team.
Jason Goldberg is the CEO of America’s Floor Source and Retail Lead Management. He also created TraLaMa, an online marketplace linking retailers with installers.