Not Everyone Wants a BMW Paint Job

One of my coaching clients was recently reviewing his sales numbers with me. He began to implement my sales system about six months ago, and his closing rate has not changed. However, he has increased his selling price by more than 30 percent. In other words, he is getting a lot more money for the same effort.

As we were talking, he said rather forcefully, “Price doesn’t matter.”

Of course, in one sense price does matter. We can’t charge arbitrarily high prices just because we want to be wealthy. But in another sense, he was absolutely right. If we offer a superior value, then we should charge a superior price. And customers will pay that price, if they want superior value.

As evidence, look in any parking lot. You won’t see it filled with beaters and Yugos. You will see a mixture of vehicles. Some will be expensive and some will be cheap. People have different values. Some are content to drive a Yugo so long as it gets them where they want to go. Others want to travel in a more comfortable and luxurious setting. Both are doing what is right for them.

The same applies to paint jobs. Some people want a BMW paint job and some are content with a Yugo paint job.

If someone is in the market for a new car, they have an idea of what models will fit their budget, needs, and desires. If they have a Yugo budget, they aren’t going to go to the BMW dealership. But if they are in the market for a paint job, it isn’t so easy to distinguish the BMW contractor from the Yugo contractor.

So, the person with the Yugo budget will often call the BMW contractor. And then the contractor will be told that his price is too high. Duh! If we are offering the BMW of paint jobs, the trick is to attract those customers who want a BMW paint job rather than the Yugo buyers.

High-end brands like BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes focus on value in their advertising. They taut their luxury, dependability, comfort, and the other values that will appeal to their target customer. We should do the same in our marketing.

>Not everyone wants a BMW paint job. That’s fine. But we could save ourselves a lot of time and frustration if our marketing attracted those who do, rather than those who want a Yugo paint job.

Customer Retention with Email

While many painting contractors have come to the conclusion that a web site is a “must have”, few take full advantage of the opportunities that it offers. One of those opportunities is building a customer list for retention marketing.

In this context, a customer list consists of names and e-mail addresses. You can then utilize a service to stay in touch with your customers automatically, as I am doing with this e-mail.

Many contractors have concerns about doing this, such as spamming customers, what to write, and how often to contact their customers. These are legitimate concerns, but they are easily addressed.

There are numerous services available–such as Constant Contact and AWeber–that make it easy to compile a customer list. Each service provides measures that require a customer to “opt-in”, which protects you from claims of spam. In other words, the customer is giving you permission to send him e-mails.

But why would a customer want to opt-in? What benefit would he get from giving you his e-mail address? Most likely none, unless you offer him something. You must give him some reason to opt-in, and one of the most effective ways to do this is a free e-book or special report, such as this one.

A special report allows you to offer your customer something of value, while simultaneously promoting your company. If you are the only contractor in your market doing this, you will have a significant competitive advantage. And the nature of the report allows the customer to easily share it with others–it is a form of viral marketing.

But then what? Once you have started building a customer list, what do you do? The beauty of the services I mentioned above is that you can use auto-responders to automatically send e-mails at predetermined times. You can literally contact your customer list without ever lifting a finger.

For example, you can program an auto-responder to send an e-mail every 30 days. The e-mails might contain information regarding products, services your company offers, seasonal specials, etc. Once you set up the auto-responders, this all happens automatically.

It is a documented fact that customer retention is one of the most powerful and effective means for a contracting company to generate leads. And by using the available technology, you can do this with minimal effort.

In the short video below, you will see how easy it is to use email as an effective part of your customer retention marketing.

If you would like to offer your customers a Special Report, you can purchase our 5-page template, which includes a contractor comparison guide for only $2.95. The report is provided in Microsoft Word, so you can add your company logo, contact information, or other details.

Marketing for winter work

Winter is often a slow time for painting contractors. Unfortunately, many contractors wait until it is too late to start marketing for winter work. The time to market for winter work is not in the dead of winter. If you haven’t started marketing for winter work, do so today. Even with a limited budget, there are a number of effective methods that you can use to create leads going into the fall and winter.

Marketing to past customers is one of the most cost-effective forms of advertising. You can do a mailing as simple as a postcard or as elaborate as a four-page newsletter. An email newsletter is even cheaper. Services such as Constant Contact and AWeber offer a variety of templates that make it easy to create professional looking emails. Whichever route you take, the goal is to stay in front of your customers and remind them that you want their business.

Another creative marketing method is what I call the “sign promotion.” This marketing involves placing a sign in the yard of past customers (with their permission, of course). At the end of the promotion, hold a drawing for those who participated and give the winner a gift certificate to a nice restaurant. You have a lot of flexibility in how you do this promotion.

For example, you can do it for a few weeks or an entire month. You can put out all of the signs at one time or stagger them over a period of time. You can give a single prize or multiple prizes.

The more concentrated you can get your signs, the better. Imagine the impact if you have a dozen signs in a single neighborhood—it will appear that your company is painting every house in the neighborhood. The repeated exposures in a short period of time can have a very strong impact on home owners in the market for a painting contractor.

No matter what you do, if you want this winter to be better than last winter, then you must take different actions. And that means marketing early and often.

Two simple ways to market your painting business

A favorite topic among painting contractors is marketing. It seems that every contractor wants to find the “magic bullet”–some dirt cheap way of generating leads consistently. There really isn’t such a method, but there are tons of ways to generate leads inexpensively. This article will examine two inexpensive, yet effective methods for marketing your painting business.

The first method is proximity marketing. This method involves marketing around an existing or upcoming project. The idea is to create multiple exposures for your company in a very targeted area and in a very short period of time. After all, if your customer needs your services, it is very likely that his neighbors do as well.

There are a number of ways to market to the neighbors. One easy way is to use a service such as Quantum Digital to mail postcards to a select number of neighbors. This service allows you to mail as few as 20 postcards. You can mail to the same homes multiple times, with different messages. For example, you could announce that you will soon be doing a job in the neighborhood. A second card could announce that you have started the job. And a third could state that the job is completed.

A second part of proximity marketing is to put a sign in the yard as soon as possible, even if it is a week or more before you do the job. The longer the sign is in the yard, the more exposure you will get.

The third part of proximity marketing is door hangers. While on the job, spend a few minutes each day distributing door hangers to the neighboring houses. Even if you only do 10 or 15 a day, you will be increasing your exposure. Combined with your sign and mailings, a potential customer could be exposed to your company many times within a week or two.

The second method is customer retention—that is, marketing to past customers. This can be as simple as a periodic email thanking them for their past business, or as elaborate as a printed newsletter. The important point is to stay in front of your customers, to remind them that you want to do business with them.

If you contact past customers at least four times a year, you will remain fresh in their minds. When they need painting work, or are asked for a recommendation, your name will be fresh in their mind.

Contact with past customers does not need to involve a constant sales pitch. Indeed, it would be better to provide them with information that is useful, such as home improvement tips. Offering such value differentiates you from competitors without coming across as being pushy.

A very good aspect to both of these methods is that they can be turned on and off easily. If you are swamped with work and need to reduce your lead flow, you can easily stop either of these.

Despite the effectiveness of both methods, they are often overlooked when marketing a painting business. Include them in your advertising mix, and you will have a powerful and inexpensive tool at your disposal.

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