By Ken Ryan— WWhether it’s the type of people you hire, the approach you take to upselling customers to better goods, or following up with customers once installation is complete – there are countless ways to boost both sales and your bottom line. . Following are five top retail tips.
1. Hire for attitude
Our core group of responsible people is very personable. This affects the type of employees we hire, the type of work environment created here in the store and thus how we interact with and interact with our customers. People are naturally drawn to someone who is hospitable, and it makes it much easier to build a relationship based on trust. This way, customers are much more willing to take the time to browse your showroom and view samples. By being personal, everything starts the right way.
—John Kuhn, Hub City Supply, Centralia, Wash.
2. Don’t sell yourself short
Box Stores’ race-to-the-bottom prices are negatively impacting the market. But when it comes to a home investment, many people are open to paying a premium for quality, selection and expertise. The most important variable in pricing is guidance on choosing the best materials to suit the customer’s budget, needs and taste. An important variable in the cost of the job – while maintaining a profit margin – is having well-trained professionals who can make an accurate and comprehensive estimate.
—Eric Wooten, Johnson Floor & Home Carpet One, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
3. Follow up with the customer
After every installation in a home, we send an email to the customer asking how we did it. It is a very short survey that gives us immediate feedback and allows the customer to write her opinion about her experience with our company. It automatically links to our website under “testimonials” and provides the ability to link to Google and a number of other web review sites. We also track the number of customers and the average daily volume of all our retail consumers.
—Nick Freadreacea, The Flooring Gallery, Louisville, Ky.
4. Kill Them With Kindness
I own a mom-and-pop store, so we take advantage of the personal relationships we inevitably develop with our customers. There’s a fixed core group of people who deal with the customers on a daily basis, so when someone calls about her product, it’s not, “Hold on so I can enter your order number.” Instead, it’s, “Hey, Judy, absolutely. That appointment to put that LVT on your bathroom floor is still on track.” Plus, we have a sales team that doesn’t work on commission, so they don’t just want to close a sale, but rather act as an extension of the company that really cares about every customer.
—Bryan Keller, Flagstaff Tile and Stone, Flagstaff, Ariz.
5. Train, train, train
We do continuing education for all of our people. We usually hold two meetings a month. The first is our sales meeting; the second is what we call ‘Customer First’, where all our employees and installers are present. The focus is what we do as a group for the end result: a satisfied customer. My wife leads these meetings and is very creative with the content and themes. It is definitely one of the big difference makers in our industry.
—John Taylor, Taylor Carpet One Floor & Home, Fort Myers, Florida.