Contractors often fret when their leads slow down. They often become desperate, looking for anything that will generate some leads. Unfortunately, they frequently overlook one of the best sources of leads—their past customers.
While I advocate regular marketing to past customers, it is a marketing method that can be easily turned on or off. Whether it is direct mail or email, retention marketing can be used when you choose. Unlike most other forms of marketing, you have complete control over when it occurs.
There are many ways to do retention marketing: direct mail, email, and phone calls are the most common. But anything that reminds your customers of your business is effective.
I’d like to share a secret with you: Winter will be here in few months.
Many contractors will be unprepared because they aren’t taking steps now. We may be experiencing the dog days of August at the moment, but it’s not too early to start thinking about the winter.
The seeds you sow today will determine the harvest you reap in December and January. If you begin planning for the winter now, you won’t find yourself struggling to stay busy later in the year.
An easy way to address the winter doldrums is to pre-sell interior work. Begin marketing and selling interior work a month or two before your exterior season ends.
Contractors often ask about ways to screen prospects on the phone. Understandably, they don’t want to spend hours chasing unqualified leads. But screening on the phone can be equally bad.
Screening on the phone essential puts the prospect in the position of saying some pre-determined magic words. If he doesn’t say the right thing, he is immediately regarded as unqualified.
If you went into a restaurant, you probably wouldn’t appreciate being screened before you were shown to your seat. You wouldn’t like a pop quiz to determine if you could spend your money. So why do it to your customers?
I am not saying that we should chase every lead. If a customer wants a service we don’t provide or is out of our service area, their desires don’t fit our business model. But short of that, trying to screen prospects on the phone is a crap shoot at best.
A common topic of discussion among painting contractors is how to market their business. The question is usually posed as if there were a single, one size fits all answer. The real answer is: It depends.
It depends on your company’s skills and goals. It depends on your target market. It depends on the types of jobs you do most profitably.
For example, if you have a three-man crew, it probably isn’t wise to market for large commercial projects. If you specialize in custom painting, marketing for apartment make readies is a waste of your skills
The best way to market is to first identify who you want to market to. Then identify what media will reach that market. You can’t be all things to all people. Don’t try to market to everyone either.