How plumbing contractors can close 2016 on a high note
Auld Lang Syne?!
It’s time to plan the remaining 100 days of the year. Why? Because to quote Dwight D. Eisenhower and others: “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
“But, I hate planning.”
You probably plan more than you think. You plan your vacations and your free time. Take a few minutes and plan your business marketing activities. After all, marketing’s job is to produce revenue. How much revenue depends on the success of your marketing plan.
Sometimes you have to do the things you really don’t want to do. Ever had to lose weight? Stop smoking? Exercise? You forced yourself to start. Within a few weeks you felt better and had more energy. This success encouraged you and you continued the new habit.
“But, I tried marketing and it didn’t work.”
Marketing is a process. Who did you send a message to? What was the message? How/where did you send it? If you sent a direct mail piece to everyone in a specific zip code and got 0.5% return, then the mailing was successful. If you sent a direct mail piece to all of your maintenance clients, and you got a 0.5% return, your message was wrong.
“But, I don’t have time.”
What if you didn’t plan your service routes, projects and home installations? They take more than the budgeted time and dollars. Your service technicians spend more time travelling and less time billing. Your field employees take more materials than they need and they may not install the work the way the customer wanted it done.
When you take a few minutes to plan the projects and communicate expectations, your service calls and jobs are much more profitable and you have fewer headaches.
You don’t have to spend hours and hours on planning. Put a simple spread sheet together. For a sample 2017 marketing spread sheet email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three courses of action
Over the years, this column and others in Reeves Journal have given you activities that will increase your client base. Choose one and implement it. Here are my three favorites:
1. Make a list of people you haven’t done business with in the past 18 months. Pick up the telephone and call them.
Say: “Mrs. Jones, thank you for your past plumbing/heating/air conditioning business. This is NAME with COMPANY NAME. I noticed we haven’t taken care of the plumbing/heating/air conditioning in your home for a while. Did we screw up? If we did, I’d like to fix it.”
Offer her something to use your company again — a discount on a service call, special pricing on maintenance check, etc.
When you pick up the phone and talk to your inactive clients, you will get many of them back.
2. Start an active referral program.
Whether you have $1,000 or $100,000 to invest in marketing, your referral program should be part of your marketing activities.
Passive referrals occur when you send a thank you gift at the end of the job and don’t ask for a referral. Or a client refers their friend, neighbor or relative to your company without being asked.
Active referrals mean you ask for a referral when you finish a job by asking the client who they know at church, a neighbor, at work, etc. that might need your company’s services. You may give a gift for each referral. The gift can be cash, a dinner out, or some other tangible item.
The best and fastest way to grow your client base is through referrals from satisfied clients. Mention your referral program on your service tickets, on your proposals, on your website, in letters and in postcards to your clients. Take a testimonial and promote it though email or direct mail. Then at the bottom put a statement such as: “We grow our company through referrals from satisfied clients like (NAME ON THE TESTIMONIAL) and you. Please share this story with your friends, colleagues and neighbors. The next time they need plumbing/heating/air conditioning, have your friends call us. You can rest assured we will take care of their needs quickly and efficiently.
3. Have a contest.
Determine how many new customers you want in the last 100 days of the year. Define what a new client means. For example, a new client uses your company for service, replaces a system or enrolls in maintenance.
Give a prize for the company meeting the goal. Track the progress and celebrate the win.
No more marketing excuses. Choose one marketing activity. Execute it. Track the results. When you communicate results you create a positive environment for your employees and do things that will help the company be more profitable.