Everything that I am reading now says that the free-spending days of the last few years are over. People are starting to get concerned about the economy and not spending money on things they might have last year. For us, that means potentially fewer replacement sales, service sales, etc.

In many parts of the country, fuel bills have doubled or tripled on top of a perceived shaky economy. These are two very strong reasons why you need to change your marketing message.

It’s time to become more proactive rather than reactive with respect to selling. If the telephone is not ringing much, then it’s time to begin making telephone calls rather than waiting to receive them. It’s time to review those tickler files of work that the technicians recommended but wasn’t done on the last service call. It’s time to refocus your selling efforts.

At this point you need to think about what your customers and potential customers are thinking about— cutting costs and saving money. Things like the benefits of longer equipment life, peace of mind and more comfort in the customer’s home are not going to win you the sale. Don’t get me wrong; these are still important things in the system sale. However, the customer is less likely to care about these things right now.

All of the direct mail pieces you send to your customers should focus on saving money. Postcards work well— no one has to open an envelope. If you print them on bright paper, people will notice them. Make the message short. Focus on the cost cutting benefits the customer will get by sealing his ducts, cleaning his system, etc.

If you send newsletters, include ideas on things customers can do to save money on utility bills in their home or office. Write an article about how high efficiency systems save money. The best benefit you can five customers is that they’ll save money on utility bills. With the size of the checks many of us have written to the power companies these past few months, such advice will certainly grab the reader’s attention.

The absolute worst thing you can do right now is sit back and wait for the telephone to ring. It’s not likely to ring as much as it has in the past. So you have to be proactive — make sure your technicians are writing down everything they see when they visit a customer. If he or she chooses not to make all the recommended repairs, put a copy of the service ticket in a tickler file. Then call a few weeks later to set an appointment to make the remaining repairs.

If you haven’t sent out information to customers and prospects, now is the time to do it. Let them know they will cut costs and save money by using your products and services. You have to give people a reason to call you.

Copyright 2001, 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)

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