Contractor cents: Six easy suggestions to keep your business busy
December 1, 2006
Those of you with large numbers of service agreements should be having a great season.You have the opportunity to be face-to-face with customers. Educate them. Let them make good decisions about their home or office comfort. Be available to provide the products and services they need to ensure that they stay comfortable in their homes and offices.
Here are a few reminders about advertising and marketing:
- It doesn’t have to cost a lot. The cheapest form is a business card. Make it a habit to distribute 500 to 1,000 each year. People do keep them if they think that they will use your services. I know one customer who kept one for 12 years. The contractor knew it because it had been at least that long since he used that style of business card.
- If someone asks about your prices, ask whether you can schedule a service call. Don’t let a potential customer get away. Even if they are shopping through the Yellow Pages, someone will get that service call - and it should be you.
- Always wear clothing with your company name on it. You will get stopped in supermarkets, stores and malls by people who have plumbing, heating or cooling needs. These conversations result in additional service calls and equipment sales simply because you are advertising the name of your business. Again, when people stop you, make sure that you ask whether you can send a technician or a salesperson to their home or office. They’ve invested the time to ask you a question - they wouldn’t have stopped you if they didn’t have a need.
- The appearance of your technicians and trucks is critical. A clean truck is necessary. It may not get noticed. However, a dirty, dented truck will get noticed and leave a negative impression, especially if customers see it pulling into their driveway. How do you keep the trucks clean? First, you must lead by example. If your truck is dirty, your technicians’ trucks will also be dirty. Second, if you allow the technicians to take their trucks home, cleaning them is one of the things they have to do to keep the privilege. Warn them if their trucks aren’t clean. The next time they’re caught with a dirty truck, take away the privilege of taking the trucks home for a day or a week. This inconveniences them because many only have one other car. Hopefully a week will be enough to change the behavior.
- You want your technicians to make a good first impression when they appear at a customer’s home or office. This starts the service call on a positive note. If they get dirty, then have them carry an extra shirt in their trucks. It’s important.
- Send out postcards with a maintenance/inspection theme. This is one of the best ways to get into homes and offices. Then your technicians can educate customers about the need for maintenance.
- Always do things that are in the best interest of customers. They are counting on you to tell them what is going on with their systems. Make sure technicians write everything down, the good and the bad. Let customers make an informed choice. And, if they choose not to repair everything, you have built-in work for the slower times of the year. Granted, it is hard to build up a prospect file in a few short weeks; however, you have to start sometime.