December 23/30, 2019: Volume 35, Issue 13
By Lisbeth Calandrino
Not long ago, I was online nosing around one of the flooring groups and saw a post from Kyle Hedin about his podcast, Floored-U-Cation Pro. I downloaded one of the episodes and decided I needed to find out more about Kyle and how he got into our industry.
With skills he learned from high school wood shop, Kyle cold-called 30 contractors looking for a job and has built a brand from there. His business is called Illustrious Hardwoods, and it services the Phoenix area. Its website is very helpful, and it’s obvious Kyle is after the high end of the market.
I recently listened to his interview of Scott Zito of Bel Lavoro Carpet and Luxury Flooring in Olathe, Kan. The podcast is titled, “Attacking on the Top.” If you are in the flooring business, you must listen to Kyle’s podcasts. They will make you proud to be in the industry.
Kyle is committed to raising the bar in our industry. He recently tackled the issue of whether you should hire certified installers, with my friend Roland Thompson from Frederic, Md.
According to Kyle, the podcasts were created because, as far as he knows, there was nothing in the industry to highlight installers. There was also no readily available resource to get education as a consumer or an installer.
Kyle’s business was born out of a need to develop a niche. In my book, I say the way to succeed is to be different and cultivate that niche. My motto is, you cannot have all the customers, but you can have the ones you want if you know who they are. Then, you can concentrate on what it takes to attract them.
As Kyle states in his podcast, “In order to distinguish yourself from others, I believe installers need to find a niche market. I personally only do residential remodel work. I treat my client’s homes as if they are my own and always try to provide the best possible service. Perhaps you are good at patterns or inlays. Sell yourself on those skills. I am huge on continuing education. Get in a class, get certified and stand out from the crowd. It is a great marketing tool.”
So, what can you do to stand out from the crowd?
- Find customers who appreciate your niche. When you first open your business, you may be so excited just to have customers that you really do not care who they are.
I remember when my sister and I opened our first flooring store, seeing people walk through the doors was exciting even if they did not buy. We quickly got over that and realized we only wanted customers who appreciated our niche and wanted to buy. As high-end flooring liquidators, we occupied a very unusual and profitable niche.
- Teach your employees to understand your niche and “talk the talk.” If you are high end, teach them how to sell to that crowd. If you’re discounters, that’s a different talk. Salespeople should not be adjusting their pitch to try and sell every customer. You need to understand the value of what you do,and relay your message to every customer.
- The more targeted you are, the better. I am currently reading about micro niche businesses—ones that only cater to a specialized or forgotten market. In my neighborhood, craft beer companies and farm-to-table stores stand out. Soon, we will probably be inundated with them and new niche markets will be born.
I have Kyle’s podcasts in my “faves.” I suggest you do the same.
Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at [email protected].