Sunday, July 1, 2012

Authority Marketing Part 1

Authority Marketing Part 1
If you clean Oriental Rugs, who are you? Are you a professional, an expert; are you someone who commands and demands respect? Or are you just a flunky who does a dirty job.

More than four out of five rugs to be cleansed in the average shop have some sort of pet contamination, usually urine. That may be how you make your money but if you allow that to define you professionally then you are at a severe disadvantage.
(Looking back at this article after 14 months I find it interesting that the nice young lady who insisted that we don't need Rug ID launched her own moderately successful Rug ID program on-line with a live portion at her shop. She is not the only one since I started pushing Rug ID several courses have been launched.) 

Rug ID opens doors and causes your customers to trust you with their better rugs. My good friend Dusty Roberts of Rug Badger and Lov-a-Rug in Victoria British Columbia tells the story of a customer who trusted their lesser rugs to Dusty but would send their better rugs to a local Oriental rug shop to be cleaned. What the customer did not know was that Dusty did the cleaning for that shop. The customer had greater trust in the store because the store had that aura of authority. Over time Dusty earned their trust and got their entire rug cleaning business but it took work. Nathan Koets a Michigan rug washer tells me that Rug ID is his most important form of marketing. If you know the rugs your customers recognize it and your business will grow.

Many rug washers have come to rugs by way of Carpet Cleaning. But if you look and act like a Carpet Cleaner it is harder to grow your business. How you brand your business will dictate how easy it will be to grow your business. Using my name as an example, customers will be less trusting of Barry’s Carpet Cleaning for their fine rugs than they would be for Barry’s Rug Spa. Spa and Salon are very popular right now for rug cleaners but frankly when I recently renamed my rug cleaning business I chose “Barry O'Connell Oriental Rug Cleaning”.  I am well known so I used my name but if I was less well known I might have chosen “Baltimore Oriental Rug Cleaning”. With length a consideration in a name did I need to include” Oriental”? I did because Oriental Rugs are the top of the heap. By saying Oriental I am making it clear that I clean the best. I am willing to use a longer name to increase my authority.

I have a friend who dresses very casually to do his pickups and deliveries. When I told him I thought it was a bad idea to dress like a Carpet Cleaner he corrected me and explained that he does not even dress up that much. I think it is the wrong message. I used to help out my friend Harold Keshishian with his shop and when dealing with the customers I usually wore leather dressy shoes, wool slacks and a starched shirt. They never asked me to and it was not part of my job but one of the very first things I would do was check the rest room and tidy it up before the customers got in. My rug knowledge, the way I dressed, the appearance of the shop down to the tidiness of the restroom set the tone for how we dealt with our customers. God help anyone who ever talked down to Harold Keshishian in his shop. At least once or twice a year I would see him tell a customer to take their rugs and get out of his shop. I remember him throwing out one customer because she said, “Now don’t lose my rug.” Harold let he know we don’t lose rugs as he ordered her out.

I am a firm believer in selling from a position of authority. I equate it to moving water on a hillside. Selling from a position of low authority is like carrying 55 gallons of water from the bottomof the hill to the top of a hill. But when you master selling from a position of Authority it is like standing on top of the hill and knocking over that 55 drum of water and watching the water flow down hill. Being the authority does not happen over night but the better you get the more it helps your business.