From those who are just starting out in the industry, to those seasoned veterans of flooring’s ever-changing odyssey –
The one question that keeps some awake at night and others still plugging away day after day is, “How do I become that Flooring Contractor that keeps the referrals coming?”Here’s few tips that can help in doing just that!
Ultimately it is all about the customers’ experience with you as a flooring professional. You need to do those little things that make a big difference. From the very first meeting, all the way until you put the last tacking nail or coat of finish on what you installed for them. It all makes a difference in whether you are getting that referral from them to those they want to get the same stellar and high-quality work that you just did for them or not. Your actions, communications, materials, timeliness, and yes, appearance play a factor in this experience. Put into place those practices that are the most professional (in the time of measuring for the estimate, the presentation and look of the estimate itself, the demolition process, the cleaning procedures, installation purposes and how you finish it all up) at each point of interaction with the customer. Those points of connection will determine the Flooring Experience and the number of referrals you will receive for years to come.
From the point of ringing their bell or knocking on their door you need to have a methodical approach to the first contact with the customer. All your marketing and advertising has brought them to calling you for an estimate, be sure to not lose the opportunity to get the sale at this point in time, with sloppy or unprofessional communications with the customer. Ask the right questions of the customer; What are they looking to do?; what look are they going after?; what type of flooring do they initially have in mind? – among many others are questions to help in this Flooring Experience.
Have your estimate process well thought out before you get in the door. For those who have been in the business a while, this won’t be hard at all. Also as you are getting the measurements of the space putting it down on a pre-printed form, or on your tablet will show them more about how organized you are. In addition to that, the timeliness of getting the estimate back to them factors in on that potential future referral(s). Obviously, the quicker and most efficient the better. Even if you aren’t the lowest in cost, how you handle this part of the customer’s experience with you can win them over.
Closing the Deal/Starting the Job
With your timeliness, professionalism and eagerness to bring them the experience they want from installing or replacing their flooring, closing the deal should be as natural as asking for the check or credit card. When you communicate to them openly and guide them through the buying process, they will feel comfortable to be doing business with you, but, at this point, you still haven’t fully earned that Referral Status quite yet.
Starting the job, from the demolition (taking out the pre-existing flooring) and preparation of installing the new is where they can see you making the difference. If you handle the things in their home or business with the utmost of care and consideration that is one of the benchmarks of getting those future referrals. Another is how efficiently you are completing the job. Under promise and over deliver is a good mantra to have. Having a specialized cut, or technique that gives their flooring choice that extra style or “umph” is a good thing to do. It shouldn’t cost you any more time, or materials to do and will solidify the connection you are creating with your flooring customer.
Along with those special finishing touches, how you complete the project and leave the space is another point where you can earn or lose the future referrals. Being clean (less prone to an overall ‘messiness’) with your installation and cleaning materials and tools shows to your customer that you are all about their experience, and that you want it to be a good one throughout the whole of the flooring installation process.
The Human Factor
Lastly, not enough can be said for that human touch. Staying away from having a detached clinical feel to the transaction, but having a, “getting to know a great person” type of approach can capture within the minds of those who you are installing their flooring, in getting them to think, “I really want others I know to have this same wonderful experience as I have just had!” Set up that expectation from the beginning that your goal is for them to have such an experience with your flooring company that they could tout it to their friends and loved ones. By working for this end, the referrals will come naturally and spontaneously as you are wrapping up their project. And you can solicit their referral and feedback for months and years to come.
Always keep in mind, that each contact you have with a potential customer, can factor in if they become a loyal customer, and a champion for your brand for years into the future or not. And this one-time purchase, can become repeated business, and a growing business with the referrals they send your way.