Every year our good friend, Pami Bhullar, vice president of business development for The Dixie Group, compiles his 10 retailer resolutions for the new year. These have traditionally appeared in my first column of the year, but we still seem to be playing catch up or covering different topics.
As Bhullar notes, the last two years have been full of unprecedented personal, business and financial health uncertainties. But he believes every difficulty teaches us a new skill to overcome new challenges. He predicts the growth that started mid 2020 will continue for the foreseeable future. He feels the flooring business will still be robust because many may not be traveling or vacationing as before and will instead focus on home improvements.
So, without further ado, Bhullar suggests retailers adopt three of the following for 10 resolutions for 2022…
- Increase practicing gratitude and positivity: It is so easy to be negative with everything that is happening around us. Let us all make a concerted effort to be positive at least 75% of the time. We all have so much to be thankful for and should count our blessings of personal safety, health, business, customers, each other, our partners, family and friends.
- Daily improvement: Everything we do can be done better; it might as well be you who does it better. Exponential improvements are hard to come by, but you can achieve the same results by making incremental improvements every day.
- Take the initiative: We all have heard that a journey of a million miles begins with the first step. Have you taken the first step toward your dream? More than 90% of the great ideas fail due to poor (or no) execution.
- Learn the ABCDs of your customers: Consumers are looking for products that are Beautiful, easy to Clean and are Durable. Therefore, remember ABCD: A=Always, B = Beautiful, C = Cleanable and D = Durable.
- This too shall pass: Record growth in the flooring industry will eventually slow down for the ones who are not prepared. Preparation is the key to success. Customers are buying better goods. Therefore, the new good/better/best is best/better/good. In other words, always start with the best products and services you offer. Selling better goods today will help you when the next slowdown happens.
- For your customers’ success, negotiate benefits before you negotiate price: Customers come to buy benefits, not price, warranties and/or products. When the customer says, “It is too much money,” list all the benefits of your product or service and politely ask, “Mrs. Jones, these are all the benefits this product and/or service has for you, which ones do you not want so I can find something with lesser benefits?”
- Stop selling: The last two years have made us exponentially more comfortable shopping online. Your customers have done enough shopping and have a very good idea what they want to buy. The more you contradict, the greater the chance that you are not going to make a sale. Start with asking, “What kind of research have you done for this project?” And make sure you also ask, “What else should I know about your project that we have not discussed?” You can make the entire presentation based on this one question.
- Reduce the clutter, please: Customers are wanting curated products; therefore, less is more. Go to your showroom and look for products that compete with each other, are similar or you have not sold for a while. Reduce the lower end of your offering—customers deserve, demand and want better flooring options.
- Anticipate future needs: You know that three days to three weeks after a hard surface is installed in your customer’s home he/she will need an area rug. Why would you not talk about it and sell the same square footage twice?
- Bolster your digital presence: In the last two years customers have become more comfortable purchasing flooring and big-ticket items online. Do you have a website that is functional with visualization, curation and products with ABCD attributes? Nothing is more urgent than looking at your digital presence and enhancing it.
So, there you have it.