Now that the war with Iraq is mostly over, the economy may pick up. It may not. No one has a crystal ball. How do you plan?

The economy is uncertain. Now that the war with Iraq is mostly over, the economy may pick up. It may not. No one has a crystal ball. So how do you prepare and keep your business moving in a positive direction?

Some people are focused on doing only the things that they must to get by right now. Others are forging ahead and not allowing the political climate to affect how they act.

Obviously, you want to find prospects who are not afraid to spend money. However, spending still must make sense. People may stop spending a lot of money on things that they consider discretionary. Or, they may spend money on their houses, rather than traveling, which would be good for our businesses. Either way, now is the time to change your marketing focus.

In uncertain economic times, most people concentrate on ways to save money. They want to decrease costs. So your message to them must be how they can save money by using your services.

How do your service agreements save them money? How do they lessen the increases in fuel costs that almost everyone experienced this winter? All of the information you give customers must focus on things that they are interested in right now. And that includes writing smaller checks to utility companies.

It comes down to money

Your service technicians must focus on saving money. Sure, the other benefits of replacing systems and service agreements still apply. However, customers are likely to discount them now and not use them as a reason to buy simply because they are focused on decreasing costs.

How should you prepare for summer in this economic climate? First, emphasize spring checkups and service agreements. All marketing pieces should focus on saving money on utility bills. When performing spring checks, technicians should highlight the savings that the customer can expect with a service agreement in place. From the customer's perspective, he or she would like to pay smaller utility bills.

Secondly, work on replacement sales. If a technician comes across an old system that really should be replaced, the decrease in energy costs should be prominent in his or her discussions with the customer. Marketing pieces should focus on saving energy costs.

Offer to buy back last year's repair bill (up to a certain dollar amount) when the client purchases a new high-efficiency system. Homeowners probably aren't aware of how much they spent last year in repairs. If it was several hundred dollars, they probably don't want to spend that much again this year. This is a method that you can use to get their attention since most people are looking for ways to save. A huge surprise repair bill is not what they are looking for!

Next time, I'll provide other activities you can do in uncertain economic times.

Copyright 2003, Ruth King. All rights reserved.

Ruth King's American Contractor Exchange

1650 Oakbrook Drive, Suite 405

Norcross, GA 30093

(800) 511-6844

(770) 729-8028 (fax)