Who sells products in your showroom? Duh, it’s the salespeople – right? Not always. In today’s 24-7-365-connected world where 99% of the population does not buy socks without searching Google first, your best salespeople may be your happy clients and customers. Increasingly, all businesses are capitalizing on customers whose expectations were exceeded to be spokespeople. There are a myriad of options available to capture this critical market and make your raving fans an important component of your marketing effort.
Unemployment in the U.S. remains at historic lows. Finding new team members remains a top challenge for most BKBG showrooms. A lasting side effect of COVID 19 has been the great shuffling and the changing dynamic in the way many Americans view work. In the past, job jumping was considered a negative. The more someone changed positions and employers, the less attractive they become as a potential new team member. Given the cost and time that it takes to onboard, train and acclimate a team member to your processes and culture, can you really afford to hire someone whose timeline with your showroom is less than a year? That’s likely a possibility. In a recent survey of 2,000 U.S. employees who have been in their role for less than six months more than 50% reported they were actively looking for new opportunities. Similarly, 52% of employees who had been with their employer for less than three months were seeking greener pastures.
How often should you email customers and prospects? That depends on the goals you want to achieve from an email campaign. A goal might be to drive traffic to a blog. If you don’t have time or the inclination to blog, that’s not a problem. BKBG produces a weekly blog (see below) that is easily customized to use as your own. Shareholders that use the BKBG blog receive an average of more than 1,200 views per week.
There’s an old curse: May you live in interesting times. The last couple of years have been interesting to say the least. Dealing with COVID, unprecedented demand for products and services, supply chain challenges, multiple price increases, and on and on. While many BKBG Shareholders reported record years in 2021, not many would like a repeat in 2022. “Too much scar tissue,” is a common reason why. And when you are running at 1000 miles an hour, it’s not difficult to lose your cool. Most people try to repress their anger in the showroom, but that’s not necessarily a good thing, claims author David Kessler who writes “anger is pain’s bodyguard.”
We all have had bad customer experiences. According to Hug Your Customers author Jack Mitchell, a mistake or customer service shortcoming is an opportunity to surprise and delight customers, because so few companies care about turning an error into a hug. Mitchell defined any act of customer kindness as a hug. When errors occur, does your showroom create hugs or send your customers packing. A few things to consider, courtesy of Rick Houcek’s 2-Minute Monday Motivator, to create hugs.
If you asked most showrooms what their biggest challenge is, personnel is the answer almost all of the time. A record-breaking 4.53 million American workers quit their jobs in March of 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and unemployment hovers at historically low numbers of about 3.5%. How can you attract and retain talent that is the best match for your team and your culture? Know the right questions to ask when you interview prospective employees, explains University of Pennsylvania Professor and author of Originals Adam Grant.
“I am going to put a thousand songs in your pocket,” claimed then-Apple CEO Steve Jobs when he introduced the iPod. It was a revolutionary product that simply did not change the way people listen to music, the iPod transformed the music industry. Jobs used a similar strategy when he introduced the iPhone. He told the audience that Apple had developed a device that was an iPod and a phone that also provided access to the Internet. “These are not three separate devices,” Jobs stated. “This is one device, and we are calling it iPhone. Today, Apple is going to reinvent the phone, and here it is.”
Reading is comparable to exercise. Most business owners and successful designers know that they should exercise and read more than they do currently. Easier said than done. It’s difficult to make the time for both. When you come home from the showroom, most likely you are tired and hungry and not motivated to go for a run or pick up a book. Let’s make the case for reconsidering. In his five-year study of more than 200 self-made millionaires, Thomas Corley found that most don’t watch television. Instead, 86% claimed they read and more than 63% said they listened to audio books on their daily commute.
It’s hard to teach old dogs new tricks and that’s one of the biggest challenges showrooms have in adapting to the new customer-buying paradigm that currently exists. Many experienced sales professionals adopt a mindset that they already know everything there is about kitchen and bath showroom customers. They compartmentalize different customer types. There are the know-it-alls. Another group is the pain the backsides. Certain types of customers fall into the never-able-to please category. You get the idea. It’s time to wipe the slate clean. The customer-sales relationship has changed dramatically. Customers are knowledgeable. They are leery. Trust is something that needs to be earned every time someone walks in the door. Team members that are clinging to past experiences and believe they know it all are doing a disservice to themselves, the showroom and customers.
Contagious – Why Things Catch On, written by U Penn Wharton Marketing Professor Jonah Berger, offers guidance that kitchen and bath showrooms can use to become better promote their brands.