Marketing mastery: Handling high demand
By Jim Augustus Armstrong—Some of the challenges faced by flooring dealers right now include supply issues, price increases, labor shortages, combined with high demand for flooring services. This series is dedicated to giving you actionable strategies for overcoming these challenges more effectively than your competition.
Increase your margins
What do hotels, airlines and Uber have in common? They raise their prices during times of high demand. You should do the same. Look, if you’re booked out for three months and scrambling to stay caught up, you need to win-now down the numbers anyway. Raising your prices is an effective way to do this. I’m coaching all the dealers I work with that their margins need to start at 50% and go up from there.
Leverage high demand
There’s a mistaken notion that because of the internet, mobile devices and multiple channels of communicating with customers that you must be instantly available or you’ll lose clients to the competition. This can be true when it comes to communicating with prospects who are shopping, making appointments, asking questions, etc. You should always be timely in your response to calls, texts, emails or other messages. But that’s different than being instantly available to install flooring. Being able to install a floor immediately is not necessarily to your advantage. It looks to your customer as if your products and services aren’t in high demand and, therefore, are of mediocre or low quality.
If you call Tesla to order a car, you’ll get to speak with someone right away. But once you place your order, you could be waiting a year or more to get your product. In spite of this, people are lining up to buy Teslas, with no end in sight.
Another example: Your 25th wedding anniversary is coming up, so you call the nicest restaurant in town to make a reservation. They take your call immediately, but it still takes four weeks to get a seat. Would you rather take your spouse to that restaurant for your anniversary or to the restaurant where the parking lot is empty and they can seat you immediately?
Handled correctly, being booked out for weeks or months can position you as a trusted authority, as someone who provides top-quality products and flooring services. Don’t make the mistake of apologizing for being in high demand. Instead, leverage the demand to your advantage. If you’re booked out for three weeks, don’t say to your client, “Suzy, I’m sorry, but we’re not going to be able to fit you in for three weeks.” That sounds like bad news and now Suzy is disappointed. Instead say, “Suzy, we are in very high demand, and we’re typically booked solid for eight weeks, but let’s see if there’s anything that’s available sooner. Oh, good news! We have an opening in three weeks. Would you like that one?” Nine times out of 10 Suzy will snatch up that appointment like it’s the last flat screen TV during a Black Friday sale at Best Buy.
If you’re booked out for weeks, you’ve raised your margins to 50% or higher and you’re using the positioning strategies discussed here, don’t stress if you can’t fit everyone in exactly when they want it. Your competitors all have the same problem. Your prospects are not going to do better elsewhere. Relax, and enjoy those extra benefits.
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.