Mine the hidden gold in your business (part 3)

(Third of three parts) commercial breakIIn the more than 14 years of mentoring dealers, I’ve found that most have gold hidden in their businesses that they’re not mining. Finding that gold is much less expensive than most ads, so this series aims to help you get the gold and avoid wasting money on ads you may not need.

Marketing on your customer list

I’ve covered this extensively in previous columns, so I’ll just cover some of the key points. Your customer list is the largest vein of hidden gold in your business. Your customers are the only people who have proven that they will buy from you. They also send you the most referrals. However, only 2%-3% of floor dealers communicate directly with their customer list on a regular basis. Ignoring your customer list is the No. 1 biggest marketing mistake dealers make.

Referral Partnerships

This hidden gold is not directly in your company, but in your market area. Real estate agents, designers, remodelers, property managers, and other home service businesses are a major source of customers. By developing partnerships with these owners in your area, you can generate a continuous, steady stream of new customers with little to no marketing costs.

Ask for referrals

After every installation, let your customers know that if they refer someone who becomes a customer, they will be rewarded with a restaurant gift card or other goodie. Then ask them who they know who now needs a new floor. Chances are they have someone in mind. Give them a $200 gift card to your business and ask them to pass it on to their friend. State a 30-day deadline on the certificate.

Five-round strategy

With most residential installations, your client will have a neighbor on either side, plus three across the street. Chances are your customer knows these people, and chances are they’ve seen your installation crew. This makes these “warm” contacts, and you have to market them. Make door hangers with an introductory message for these five neighbors. Include a special offer or bonus and an invitation to contact you for a free consultation.

Customer Appreciation Events

Hosting events for your customers creates deeper connections, sets you apart from competitors, and increases your repeat and referral business. Here are some ideas for events to host in your showroom:

• Tasting wine

• Careful buffet at

• BBQ parking space

• Poker night


We always include a trivia contest in our monthly customer newsletter. Any customer who submits the correct answer to the dealer will be entered into a drawing for dinner at a local restaurant. The winners will be announced in the next issue. This keeps customers in constant contact with the dealer and keeps the dealer in mind. You should do the same.

Other contest ideas include the “Ugliest Floor” contest and “Testimonial Contests,” where customers submit testimonials about their experience with your business. The top three testimonials will win prizes. These testimonials can be used in all your marketing.

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, achieve higher margins, and work the hours they want. Visit FlooringSuccessSystems.com for information.

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