Networking to Recession-proof your Flooring Business

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

Building a network of referral relationships is one of the most important things you can do to grow your business and weather market downturns. When markets dip, regular advertising becomes more expensive and less effective, while referral partnerships continue to generate clients for many years after the relationship is established. By connecting with other aligned businesses, you can also share knowledge, resources and leads.

Here are six tips for building referral relationships.

Attend Networking Events
Attending networking events is a quick way to meet other professionals who are aligned with your business.

Use the 70/30 rule when you introduce yourself to an attendee. Spend 70 per cent of the time talking about their business and how you can help them. That means only spending 30 per cent of the time talking about your business.

Make sure to get their business card during your interaction. After the event, send them a handwritten note telling them how much you enjoyed meeting them and learning about their business. Call them a week later and invite them to lunch. Subscribe them to your newsletter.

Join Business Organizations
Joining business organizations is an ideal way to connect with other professionals. Look for organizations that are aligned with flooring, such as a local chamber of commerce or industry-specific trade association. At these events, use the same networking strategy outlined above.

Offer Referrals
When you refer clients to other businesses, you build goodwill and trust. This can encourage other businesses to refer clients to you in return. Additionally, offering referrals can help you build a reputation with your clients and referral partners as a trusted advisor in your industry.

Train your sales team to look for opportunities to refer. For example, if someone is getting new flooring as part of a remodelling project, see what other home improvement services your client needs and refer them to your aligned partners.

Host Events
Hosting events offers another opportunity to connect with other professionals in your industry. Consider hosting a workshop or seminar that is relevant to your business and invite other professionals to attend. This is an effective way to build relationships, share knowledge and position yourself as a trusted authority.

Aligned Businesses to Target
When building referral relationships, it’s important to target businesses that are aligned with your own. A few examples of businesses that can make profitable partners are interior designers, real estate agents, remodelling contractors, locally owned home improvement/hardware stores, architects, property managers and carpet/house cleaning companies.

Nurture your Relationships
Once you have established a referral partnership with another business, it’s important to nurture that relationship to ensure it continues to be mutually beneficial.

This means following up. Don’t let the relationship go stale. Frequently touch base with your partner to see how they’re doing.

Also, subscribe them to your newsletter. This is a good way to ensure they hear from you regularly and you stay top of mind.

Remember to show gratitude. When your partner sends you a referral, thank them promptly. Consider sending a small gift or token of appreciation.

And always look for opportunities to refer your partners. Train your sales team to do the same.

Don’t forget to be proactive. Search for ways to help your partner grow their business. Share their content on social media and in your newsletter. Even introduce them to your own network.

Jim Augustus Armstrong is founder and president of, 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 Jim can be reached at 530-790-6720 or [email protected].

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