Business Slow? Marketing & Attitude Can Make a Difference
By Charlie Wallace, Executive Director, Quality Service Contractors
How many times have we all heard this story: “Business is slow—I must need to start marketing in order to create business.”? WRONG! The time to start marketing is NOT when things are slow, but rather when business is good. This will keep you in everyone’s mind when they have a problem or need help with their plumbing or HVAC. If you wait to be reactive your chances of survival are at a great disadvantage. You want to be proactive to stay ahead of everyone else. You need to begin to cultivate your future business—starting today. Be a professional business person. Develop plans and goals. Stay positive. Believe in yourself and your employees.
How do you start?
The best advertising is word of mouth and referrals. What better way for new customers to come to your business than through a great referral from their friends and acquaintances who have used your company previously?
Here is an idea to generate referrals: Contact your customer base by phone or mail to remind them that you offer plumbing, HVAC and other services. Then offer an incentive for them to refer you to their friends, co-workers and neighbors. The incentive could be a restaurant gift card or discount on future service. Your present customers are your best advertisement—use them.
Concentrate on customer retention. It is a proven fact that it costs a lot more to gain a new customer than it does to retain a current one. The customers you have will need more plumbing and HVAC service at some point, and they will call someone to provide it. Why should that be anyone but you? After all, they have dealt with you before and you provided them with excellent service at a fair price. The key is to keep in touch with them on a regular basis. Do something that will keep your company in their Top of Mind Awareness, TOMA, and always provide a little TLC, Tender Loving Contact.
Let all of your current and past customers know you want their business. Contact them frequently. Use post cards, newsletters, e-mail, discount coupons, phone calls, and the list could go on and on. Then track the results to see which tactic is most effective.
Do you offer maintenance agreements? This is a great way to keep your company in the forefront of your customers many times per year, if you do it right.
Why offer maintenance agreements? A maintenance agreement program helps to create loyal customers. Did you know it costs more than $200 to attract a customer in this business? At that price, why wouldn’t you want to keep all you can? Yet, without a maintenance agreement program you are giving your customer the opportunity to go somewhere else when they need plumbing or HVAC service. Maintenance agreements are a customer retention program. Maintenance agreements also lead to sales and profitability and generate work during slow times, so you can employ technicians year-round.
Once again it all boils down to contact with the customer. You should be in the customer’s home at least twice a year doing inspections or tune-ups. The other six to eight times of contact should be done through all the methods I mentioned above.
Another way to market your company is to keep up the appearance of your company vehicles, uniforms and image. Look prosperous. People want to deal with the best. They want to deal with professionals. They are looking for your expertise and service. Be the best in your area. Offer more value for the prices you charge than your competition does. Also, be sure to wear your association logo to remind the customer of your commitment to professionalism.
To effectively market your company, it is very important that you are positive in everything you say and do. Do you have the right attitude? The top speakers (e.g., Zig Ziglar and Tony Robbins) both say the same: “What you think about is what you believe and in turn what you become.”
We must take a positive approach to business and life today. I do feel strongly that the more we look at the negatives around us, the worse our outlook becomes. Concentrate on what you are going to do to work through those situations you see in today's market.
Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. That is old-school thinking. Today, if you do the same thing over and over again, the results will be less than they were in the past. Robbins says that good efforts give average results, excellent efforts give good results and outstanding efforts on our part give excellent results. If we want outstanding results, be prepared to pull out all stops.
Don’t let the economy determine your success. Do what it takes to work past the roadblocks and achieve your business and personal goals. Then plan on hitting them, and have a plan that kicks in when the economy decides not to cooperate. The bank really doesn't care too much what your problems are; they all want to get the mortgage payment on the date it is due.
If you do get sucked in to believing all the negatives, you may very well find that your sales and opportunities will indeed be less and the overall company profits will be less than stellar.
Whether or not the economy or whatever is bad, the more that you lend your voice affirming it, the more it enters your thoughts and before you know it you are one of those that are crying the “sky is falling.”
Now, do you have a marketing plan in place and do you have the right attitude?
Please Sign in to rate this.
- Lucas Peters - Nicely written, but really just rehashed information with no specific advice on getting more business.