How flooring manufacturers can better serve their retailers

With a market downturn looming, flooring manufacturers can mitigate the impacts of a possible recession by better serving their retailers. Here are some practical strategies.


Forecasters are predicting steady growth through 2028 for flooring in the U.S. (2% CAGR), the U.K. (1.54% CAGR), and Europe (2.5% CAGR).

In the short term, however, recessions are a possibility in all three of these markets. If you’re a flooring manufacturer, you need to look for ways to mitigate the effects of a possible recession or market downturn, and then maximize growth afterwards.

To this end, you should get creative in finding better ways to serve flooring retailers. They are your sales force, the ones selling your product. By understanding their needs and how best to support them, you’ll not only gain more retail clients, but you’ll also help ensure that your current clients don’t leave you for a competitor, and — with the right strategies — you can help them sell more of your product. Let’s look at some practical strategies for making all of this happen.


Most manufacturers have some kind of product training, and that’s an important component of your educational efforts. But if you want to cement deep loyalty, you should incorporate education which helps dealers succeed in every area of their business.

Some educational areas that go beyond flooring products, and which retailers care deeply about, include:

  1. How to stop throwing away money on advertising that doesn’t work
  2. Selling systems to increase closed sales
  3. How to sell at higher prices than the competition
  4. How to stop burnout from working 60-70 hours a week
  5. How to set up their flooring business so it works for them instead of them working for it

Training on these topics can be delivered via webinars, podcasts, blogs, videos and live coaching. Experts can be brought in to provide training in these areas.

Guarantees and warranties

Guarantees are a powerful way to make dealers want to become your client and stay with you for life. A great way to create a guarantee that’s relevant and impactful is to determine what annoys dealers most, and then guarantee that won’t happen or the dealer gets some kind of reward.

I’ve helped flooring suppliers create numerous guarantees using this approach. Here are a couple of examples.

On-time delivery guarantee

It’s a huge stressor when deliveries are late. By offering an on-time delivery guarantee, you’re eliminating a big annoyance for dealers and creating differentiation.

Your delivery guarantee could read something like, “Get on-time delivery or you get $50 off your next order.”

By offering some form of compensation to the dealer if you’re late, the dealer knows you’ve got some skin in the game and that you therefore truly intend to honour your guarantee. You’re also creating big differentiation from competitors who are too frightened, lazy or uncreative to offer a guarantee like this.

Prompt return call guarantee

People hate leaving messages and then not getting their call returned promptly.

Your outgoing voicemail can say something like this: “Hi, thank you for calling Jimbo’s Manufacturing. If you’re calling during business hours, we guarantee to return your call within sixty minutes. if we’re late, your next Starbucks coffee is on us. Please leave your name and a phone number where you can be directly reached in the next hour. If you’re calling after hours, we’ll call you within the first hour of the next business day.”

Honouring and celebrating your clients

You should create a monthly newsletter for your clients and prospects. Use the 90/10 formula: 90% fun, educational, informative, relationship-building content, and only 10% about your products.

As part of the 90%, highlight your clients. Feature a client of the month section with an article about one of your retailers. Highlight and welcome new retailers who joined you the previous month. Thank any of the dealers who sent you referrals.

Include contests and other client involvement devices which compel them to open the newsletter, read it, and respond to it. Make the newsletter about them.

These strategies will not only help you better serve your retailers but also make your company stand out from your competitors.

Written by:

  • Jim Augustus Armstrong

    Jim is the founder and president of Flooring Success Systems, a company that provides floor dealers with marketing services and coaching to help them attract quality customers, close more sales, get higher margins, and work the hours they choose. For a free copy of Jim’s book, The Independent Floor Dealer Success System, visit

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