(Third of three parts) In the 14-plus years I’ve been mentoring dealers, I’ve found that most have hidden gold in their business they aren’t mining. Unearthing that gold is far less expensive than most advertising, so this series is dedicated to helping you get the gold and stop wasting money on advertising you might not need.
Marketing to your customer list
I’ve covered this extensively in past columns, so I’ll just review some of the key points. Your customer list is the biggest vein of hidden gold in your business. Your customers are the only people who have proven they will buy from you. They also send you the most referrals. However, only 2%-3% of floor dealers directly communicate with their customer list on a regular basis. Ignoring your customer list is the No. 1 biggest marketing mistake dealers make.
This hidden gold isn’t directly in your business, it’s in your market area. Realtors, designers, remodelers, property managers and other home service businesses are an important source of customers. By developing partnerships with these owners in your area you can generate an ongoing, steady stream of new customers with little-to-no marketing costs.
Ask for referrals
After each installation, let your customers know that if they refer someone who becomes a client, they’ll be rewarded with a restaurant gift certificate or other goodie. Then ask them who they know who needs new flooring right now. Chances are pretty good they will have someone in mind. Present them with a $200 gift certificate for your business and ask them to pass it along to their friend. Include a 30-day deadline on the certificate.
On most residential installations, your customer has a neighbor on either side, plus three across the street. There’s a good chance your customer knows these people, and there’s a good chance they’ve seen your installation crews. This makes these “warm” contacts, and you should market to them. Create door hangers with an introductory message for these five neighbors. Include some kind of special offer or bonus and an invitation to contact you for a free consultation.
Customer appreciation events
By hosting events for your customers you’ll create deeper connections, stand out from competitors and increase your repeat and referral business. Here are some ideas for events you can host right in your showroom:
• Wine tasting
• Catered buffet at
• Parking lot BBQ
• Poker night
In our monthly customer newsletter, we always include a trivia contest. Each customer who submits the correct answer to the dealer is entered into a drawing for dinner at a local restaurant. Winners are announced in the following issue. This gets customers interacting with the dealer on an ongoing basis and keeps the dealer top of mind. You should do the same.
Other contest ideas include the “Ugliest Floor” contest and “Testimonial Contests,” where customers submit testimonials about their experience with your business. The top three testimonials win prizes. These testimonials can be used in all your marketing.
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.