The Squid Marketer: Marketing Carpet Retailers

The Squid Marketer: Marketing Carpet Retailers

Hi All! My days of drawing a paycheck in the floor covering business actually began in 1973 (not, 1982 – the year I started my carpet cleaning business). While in school, I took a part-time job working in the warehouse of a large carpet store chain here in New Jersey. By 1978, I was managing two of their stores.

You know… If I had a dime (OK, a quarter!) every time a customer asked me about professional carpet cleaning (when to call and who), I would be penning this article on the beaches of Maui rather than here in New Jersey! :o) The fact of the matter is carpet retailers offer you (the professional carpet cleaner) a wealth of opportunities! The product they sell on a daily basis will need to be cleaned professionally. That is simply “a given fact”.

In fact, some carpet mills now insist on it in order to keep their warranties in force.

Ok, that is the easy part. The real question is: “By whom?” Believe me when I tell you most carpet retailers do not have a clue. They not only have no idea who to recommend, they are quite “clueless” about our business, in general. They are, more often than not, totally misinformed regarding the facts. That is where you come in the picture, though. Here is what I suggest you do:

#1) Compose a letter of introduction.
#2) Introduce yourself and your firm.
#3) Tell them the number of years you have been serving their area.
#4) Let them know that you use state-of-the-art equipment and methods, but do not dwell on technicalities (e.g. why your method is better) as they do not care!
#5) Do stress your qualifications and training in cleaning today’s stain resist fibers.
#6) Offer them a “no obligation” demonstration (at their store – at their convenience).

You will also want to offer them some “incentives”.

A) For the Owner/Manager, you could offer a yearly or biannual carpet cleaning of the store.

B) For the Sales staff (the ones who will do most of the actual referring), you could offer
a 15% referral commission on the total ticket of the completed job.

You can print up a “referral card” that the salesman writes his name on. This card
should also offer the client something, such as:

A) Free deodorizing
B) A room of free carpet protector
C) A percentage discount off the total price of the cleaning

This is the client’s incentive to call you. Do you see where I am going with this? It is a
win-win deal all around!

– The store Owner/Manager gets his carpets cleaned free.
– The Salesman makes some spending money (as well as satisfying his customer with a
– The homeowner gets a discount as well as your fine services.
– You get a new “cheerleader” for your growing business!

Here is a simple Plan of Action:

#1) Go through the Yellow Pages and mail to all the retail stores in your service area.
#2) After approximately 2 weeks, follow up with either a visit or a telephone call.

If stopping by in person, pick a slow time of week when you can get the owner’s
undivided attention. Remember that the carpet retailer’s primary concern is to have
someone they can recommend to their clients, not only for scheduled cleaning, but also
for “emergency spot removal”.

Back when I was the Manager for two carpet retail stores, I took many calls from
panicky homeowners who did not even consider calling a carpet cleaning company when
that potted plant fell onto their new carpet. Instead, they called the carpet retail store
where they purchased it!

Believe me, his happens all the time. Now, “Go Get ‘Em!”

Armand Taddeo
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