I read an awful lot of publications every month on advertising, marketing and sales. Over the years I’m guessing I’ve read more than 20,000 books and articles on these topics.
I’ve been exposed to a lot of innovative ideas to attract more clients, some of which are great, and others not so much. Many of them originated in industries outside of the building trades, and they work well for contractors.
This week, I’m going to share five strategies to boost your sales and profits that I’m guessing not a lot of our readers are using, but that can be very effective. The reason these strategies aren’t used by more trade contractors is that they require hustle.. and that’s a dirty word these days.
You see, everyone wants their ideal customers to show up automatically. I had the same foolish notion when I started my first business… so I understand. I truly don’t believe you can build the business of your dreams by letting Google steer people to your website, so I’m offering you five ways to get new clients the “old-school” way.
You may have seen some of these before in these pages, but I believe that reminding you of something that you’d forgotten about is just as valuable as teaching something new.
And I’d love to hear about any successes you have with these strategies.
Strategy #1 – Answer people’s questions
This is a great strategy for this time of year. On a Saturday morning, set up table at a local garden center – one that caters to the kind of clients you’d like to have – and draw up a sign that says, “Ask the Builder Your Questions.” (Or “Ask the Painter…Roofer… Landscaper… etc”)
This is an easy way for people to approach you without the fear that you’re going to try to sell them on a big job.
Strategy #2 – Jumpstart your referrals
This couldn’t possibly be easier. When you complete your next job and you’re collecting the final payment from the homeowner, hand them 12 business cards and say, “These are for the next 12 people that say they love your kitchen.”
You’ll, of course, modify it to the specific project.
When their neighbor or friend walks in and says, I LOVE your kitchen…” the client will say to themselves… “Wait a minute… I was supposed to do something when I heard those words…”
It’s called programming.
Strategy #3 – Write a consumer education article
Give it a title like, “5 Secrets Most Home Remodeling Contractors Won’t Tell You.” As you write the article, keep in mind the fears and concerns that your clients have about hiring and working with a contractor.
Offer it on your website and in your other advertising as a first step to a relationship with you.
BONUS IDEA – Write a press release about your article and send it to your local media. I’ll send you a sample press release if you email me at email@example.com with the subject line, “Press Release.”
Strategy #4 – Start your own roundtable group
You can’t imagine the number of contractors I’ve given this idea… and only a very small number have ever done it. If you’re wondering… it’s working incredibly well for them.
The idea is that you get a group of six to eight contractors together once a month for a two-hour breakfast meeting. Could be a plumber, a painter, a remodeler, a landscaper, a pool and spa builder, a roofer, a paving contractor, a flooring guy, etc. You could reach beyond the trades and include a designer or a high-end appliance store owner.
You get the idea. Everyone gets 5 minutes to tell the group what’s working for them, and 10 minutes to ask for help with something. It could be anything… a problem with an employee, a technology need, a vendor relationship, getting paid… or a marketing question.
Referrals will begin flowing freely after about three months.
Strategy #5 – Develop a leave-behind package
This strategy ties in with Strategy #4, although it can work without the group.
You form a relationship with several other contractors, and each of you leaves information about the others with every client they see.
It could be as simple as a one-page document that says, “We trust and recommend these trade contractors” and simply lists each member of the group with a short description. Of course, the sheet you pass out to your clients will not have your own information, and the plumber’s sheet will not have his information.
You could take it a step up by putting a separate sheet for each contractor in a nice envelope that gets left behind. Or you could arrange a special offer that each one of you makes to the clients of the others.
Give these a try for a quick way to boost your sales and profits. And let me know if they worked.
You Won’t Drift to Success.