The U.S. economic indicators released in recent months look positive. The unemployment, housing starts and other reports have been good. Low interest rates continue to fuel purchases of homes, both new and used. But the floor covering industry still seems mired in a lethargic state. Why such malaise? It’s all described in one word: ATTITUDE!

Don’t get down if sales are lower. Rather, get back to the basics that made your company or store successful. Here are some ideas to pick up sales and invigorate your company.

1. Renew your efforts with current and past accounts. Implement a telephone or mail campaign to your past accounts about updating their other floor coverings. Make sure to include information about the new lines you carry that may be of particular interest to the recipient, and be sure to make reference to current floor covering trends. And, don’t forget that you may build extra sales by promoting in-house carpet care services or re-sanding/re-coating of hardwood floors.

2. Network, network, network. Make sure you are an active member in your local Chamber of Commerce and professional associations, and support your local schools and youth sports leagues. The exposure you’ll receive will add handsomely to your bottom line and establish your presence in the community. Converse with your local residential and commercial builders to make sure they know about your store’s capabilities to solve their floor covering needs. And don’t overlook the leasing agent at the mall or business center as sources for sales.

3. Praise rather than scorn your employees. Make sure all staff members know how important they are to your store’s success. Invest in education and training, whether it be geared to sales, accounting, management, or installation techniques. Positive reinforcements are vital in motivating your staff and keeping their efforts aggressive.

During these uncertain times, make sure to be visible in the community through personal contacts and advertising. Consider sponsoring floor design seminars in your store for consumers and designers. Or, if your business targets the do-it-yourself segment, sponsor an evening of installation training. Again, the goal is getting your store’s name out in the community. As consumer confidence returns, you’ll be positioned for immediate growth and increased market share.

An ever-changing economy demands that everyone in the industry — from installer, estimator (measurer) and store salesperson to sales agent, distributor and manufacturer — to stress the positive aspects of the floor covering industry to those who buy its products. Floor covering is a fashion business.

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