Responding to ups and downs in the market

Home Column Responding to ups and downs in the market

flooring dealersWe’re in the midst of a remodeling boom, with many flooring dealers booked out for weeks or months. Some forecasters are predicting that high demand for remodeling will continue into 2023.

According to Todd Tomalak, principal at John Burns Real Estate Consulting, 80% of the features of homes become obsolete within 15-20 years. For this reason, there is a growing backlog of remodeling work stacking up. Tomalak also said large home remodel projects are expected to see double-digit growth in 2022 and 2023. But keep in mind that forecasts are often wrong. For example, in January of last year, some experts were predicting that the remodeling boom would taper off by the third or fourth quarter of 2021. Obviously, that didn’t happen.

I say all this because you need to be prepared for either circumstance. Many dealers are reactive, simply responding to what the market is doing from day-to-day. You need to be proactive and be prepared for whatever happens. Don’t let the survival and success of your business be determined by external circumstances.

Prior to the 2008 recession, there was massive demand for flooring services. But after the boom ended, instead of taking proactive steps to overcome the effects of a slow market, many owners simply waited and did nothing. A lot of them paid the price and wound up closing their doors permanently. However, other dealers—many of whom I worked with—got coaching, sought out and implemented unconventional sales and marketing techniques, differentiated themselves and otherwise took massive action to ensure they grew their slice of a shrinking pie. Some of them broke revenue records between 2008-2011. All they had to do was outlast them—and being proactive helped make that happen.

But don’t wait for the end of the remodeling boom to be proactive. Smart flooring dealers are taking steps right now to leverage this upsurge in business into a permanent new level of success. Some of the things I’ve coached dealers to do right now include:

Market to your customer list. Past customers are the No. 1 source of business that’s going to see you through downturns in the market. Sink your roots deep with this group right now by using regular, relationship-building communication.

Create a culture of referrals. Provide service of such excellence that it inspires referrals, ask for referrals, reward referrals and otherwise take massive action to turn your customers into an army of salespeople.

Referral relationships with businesses. When the pie shrinks, getting customers from other businesses is an inexpensive and reliable way to grow your slice. Start developing relationships right now with realtors, designers, contractors and any other aligned businesses who can refer people in their sphere.

Learn to grow your business with sanity. If an uptick in business means you have to work more hours to keep up, you’re going to spend a lot of time overworked and stressed out and you’re going to hit a growth ceiling. Not to mention the current remodeling boom may have you pulling your hair out as you try to keep all the plates spinning. You need to put systems in place to ensure you can handle increased sales—both now and in the future—without you having to work more hours. I’ve written a flooring industry report that can help you with this. Visit StepOffTheWheel.com for a complimentary copy.


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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May 9/16, 2022

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