‘Tribe building’ forges customer loyalty (part 3)

Home Column 'Tribe building' forges customer loyalty (part 3)

By Jim Augustus Armstrong (Third of four parts) As I described in the previous installments of this series, tribe building means to gather a group of customers, connect with them and “wow” them. It means to invite your customers to be part of something bigger than simply what you’re selling—to be part of a community. In this installment, I’ll cover tribe-building strategies you can deploy in Phase 2: during sales and installation.

The sales and installation process is a unique opportunity to create tribal connections with your new prospects and returning customers. Why? Because this is the phase of the relationship where you and your team are regularly face-to-face with your customer, interacting with them one-on-one. Every interaction and touch point with your customer in this phase should be treated as an opportunity to invite them into your tribe or solidify their membership in your tribe. However, after 14 years of personally coaching hundreds of flooring dealers, I’ve found the majority don’t seize this opportunity. Most dealers’ sales processes are virtually indistinguishable from their competitor’s and do very little to create tribal connections. This is a major mistake.

Let’s look at some strategies you can implement.

Invite them into your consultation process. When a prospect enters your showroom, don’t simply say, “How can I help you?” or “What kind of flooring product did you have in mind?” This is what everybody says. Instead, tell them that you have a special program for new clients (or returning clients, as the case may be), and get their permission to tell them about it. As part of your program, tell them that you’ll be asking them a series of questions to learn about their project, design taste, level of traffic and so forth, so you can help them narrow the thousands of flooring products to the best two or three options for their situation and budget.

Let them hear from other members of your tribe. Have a testimonial wall with letters and photos of your clients. Install video monitors throughout your showroom playing testimonials, mixed with before-and-after photos and videos of your installs.

Welcome them into your tribe. Offer all walk-ins cookies, popcorn or other goodies. Cook these in your store so your showroom is filled with the aroma. Hand them a beverage menu with sodas, beer, wine, water and coffee. Invite them to sit down for their consultation.

Educate them on the benefits of being part of your tribe. Explain your replacement guarantees and your lifetime installation warranties. Tell them about the skill of your installation techs. Let them know that as a client of Jimbo’s Floors they’ll be invited to “client-only” events such as wine tasting, cookouts, poker night, yoga, etc. (These can be held at your store.)

“Wow” them in their home. Call 15 minutes before you arrive for the measure. Wear shoe covers in the home. Give them a free bottle of spotter with free lifetime refills. Inspect their vacuum to make sure it’s working properly. Have a system so you can present quotes and close in the home. Send a hand-written thank you card.

Jim is the founder and president of Flooring Success Systems, a company that provides floor dealers with marketing services and coaching to help them attract quality customers, close more sales, get higher margins and work the hours they choose. For information, visit FlooringSuccessSystems.com.

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