The age old question – What makes you different from your competitors? I’ve spent a lot of time the last eight months speaking to and working with dealers all around the country learning the industry and studying their websites. There is one thing every dealer has in common. In fact it became so obvious to me that if you did a google search for flooring dealers in any city around the country and clicked on a few websites I know you’ll notice it too.
Everybody seems to think that customer service is what separates them from their competitor down the street. Customer service can make or break a company but if what separates you from your competitor is customer service and your competitor is saying the same thing then how do I, as a consumer, know what really makes you different?
There is a technological revolution going on in the industry right now. Top dealers are not content with “the way we’ve been doing business for 30 years”. They have recognized that the internet has changed the way consumers buy and it has changed the value proposition of the retail sales rep. Those same dealers have started investing in their people by providing them with the tools necessary to sell to today’s consumer. At the end of the day, a sales reps job is to sell more and writing consumers information down on a piece of paper isn’t getting the job done. Think I’m wrong? Take a look at Home Depot and Lowe’s most recent growth numbers along with the number of independent dealers who have gone out of business since 2006.
Simply writing information down on a piece of paper only to forget about it on your desk is all too common. It is neither good customer service nor is it helping the companies bottom line. Unfortunately, this is the “customer service” that is given as the differentiator at too many dealers around the country. It’s time to start being different in a way that will connect with today’s consumers and the consumer’s of tomorrow. They are coming equipped with their research done before they walk in your showroom so delivering a better and updated showroom experience is crucial. Think about the last time you were in a cell phone store. Think about how the rep greeted you and think about how they were capturing your information or your oder. They were more than likely using an iPad or mobile tablet to capture your information. This allowed them to not only be mobile and walk with you around the store answering your questions while making you feel like you were more important than just a sale but more importantly it allowed them to capture your information so the rep or the cell phone company could follow up with you. This is one simple example of an updated consumer experience. Compare that to your current show room experience. See the difference?
In closing, the REAL answer to my question above is: Dealers who embrace updating their showroom experience will reap the rewards of actually being different than your competitors for years to come!