How to Maximize Current Customer Relationships

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

In the first two parts of a three-part series on mining the hidden gold in your business, I provided strategies so you can stop spending thousands on advertising you may not need. This final instalment picks up where we left off at the end of Part 2.

Marketing to your Customer List
Your customer list is the biggest gold mine as it includes the (only) people who have proven they will buy from you. They also send you the most referrals. However, only two to three per cent of floor dealers directly communicate with their customer list on a regular basis. Ignoring this list is the number one biggest marketing mistake. A correctly designed newsletter, print or digital, is the most effective marketing tool to generate repeat and referral business from these customers.

Referral Partnerships
This hidden gold isn’t directly in your business — it’s in your market area. Realtors, interior designers, remodellers, property managers and other home services businesses are an important source of customers. Developing partnerships with these people can generate an ongoing, steady stream of new customers with little to no marketing costs.

‘Five Around’ Strategy
On most residential installations, your customer has a neighbour on either side of them, plus three across the street. There’s a good chance your customer knows these people and they’ve seen your installation crews. This makes them ‘warm’ contacts and you should market to them. Create door hangers with an introductory message for these five neighbours. Include a special offer or bonus and an invitation to contact you for a free consultation. Do the ‘five around’ on every installation. Even if you only pick up one extra job per month, it’s worth it.

Ask for Referrals
After each installation, let your customer know that if they refer someone who becomes a client, they’ll be rewarded with a restaurant gift certificate or something similar. Ask if they know who needs new flooring right now. Chances are they will have someone in mind. Present them with a $200 gift certificate for your business and ask that they pass it on to their friend. Include a 30-day deadline on the certificate.

Customer Appreciation Events
Hosting events for customers helps deepen connections, makes you stand out from competitors and increases your repeat and referral business. Events that you can host in or outside your showroom include a wine tasting, catered buffet, poker night or parking lot barbecue. Send invitations to your customers and let them bring friends.

Contests
Include a trivia contest in your newsletter. Each customer who submits the correct answer is entered into a draw for dinner at a local restaurant. Announce the winner in the following newsletter. This gets customers to interact with you on an ongoing basis and keeps you top of mind.

Another contest idea is the ‘ugliest floor.’ People submit photos of their old, worn-out floors to be entered into a prize draw. All entries receive a special offer to replace their floor.

Then there are testimonial contests, which encourage customers to share their experience working with you. The top three win prizes, while you collect more testimonials to use in your marketing.

Jim Augustus Armstrong is 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. To obtain a free copy of Jim’s groundbreaking flooring industry report, Stop Leaving Millions on the Table, visit FloorMillions.com. Jim can be reached at 530-790-6720 or [email protected].

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