Written by Danielle Putnam
I recently polled 100 contractors about marketing. Out of all who answered the survey, would you believe that 15% responded that they don’t have a clue how to market their companies? Another 15% said they felt stressed about marketing and 31% felt that their marketing was inconsistent. There was only one person that answered the survey that said they felt comfortable with marketing, and even they have room to grow.
Let’s face it: marketing freaks a lot of us out. We aren’t comfortable with it, it seems to come with a looming price tag, and we aren’t even sure it’s working. So, we procrastinate. We procrastinate when things are outside of our comfort zone. But, as my Vice President at The New Flat Rate, Matt Koop, says, “Your comfort zone is a liar!” The growth you want for your company is just on the other side of your comfort zone. We must step outside to reach for what we want.
Winter is Coming
The seasons are changing, and for many contracting businesses, that means the slow season is coming. By the time we realize we need to market and have time to do so, we already have gone too many days with no generated business. Do you have any slow season solutions in place? If you know that you are not going to get any A/C repairs in October, consider something else that you could offer to your customers. And consider it now before October is here. Fall tune-ups, gutter cleaning to get rid of the falling leaves, winterizing the home, pumpkin spice air filters (I’m kidding…sort of), etc.
The first thing you have to do is start somewhere. And where better to start than where your company is already present? Yes, I’m talking about in the homes of your customers, and you already have the army on the ground, your technicians, to help you.
- Make sure your technicians have a written marketing process. If you don’t have processes in place that your techs can refer back to, there is no consistency, and it is impossible to have expectations.
- Train your techs on the process. Communicate the motivation for the process, and make sure that they know exactly how the process should manifest. Show them how an ideal implementation of the marketing process within a customer’s home will look.
- Have practices and simulations to ensure that your techs know the process. You’ve shown them what should be done and what you expect. Now let them practice until it is second nature.
- Implement the process for marketing within the homes. Put the marketing tasks on technician checklists, provide them with the proper materials to do so, and discuss the completion of such tasks in each wrap-up call as your tech leaves the home. There must be accountability, so make it a practice to give them the tools and then ask if they are using them.
Technician or Marketer?
So, what kind of marketing should your techs do? They didn’t sign up to be marketers. The great news is, your techs are supposed to be techs, and techs are in the home with customers. So, they need to know the process of informing the customer of all your available opportunities.
- Tag the homes of your customers: Sticker everything (within reason) once a job is done. If you worked on the furnace, place a nice sticker with your logo and contact number on the furnace, the water heater, put a nice magnet on the fridge…you get the point. It is inexpensive advertising, and the next time something goes wrong in the home, you’ve already replaced Google for “local _____ repair near me.” And don’t forget, shut off valve tags are a no brainer too.
- Have your techs carry your next flash marketing piece with them. By flash marketing, I mean the next upcoming coupon or promotional piece. Give your customer something to be interested in, and if it isn’t a coupon for what they called you out for, that’s great, too. That leads me to point three.
- Mention other verticals within your company. This is where those creative slow-season solutions come into play. For example, on an HVAC call, have your tech mention that “by the way, we also do plumbing, attic renovations, duct cleaning, mold removal, roof cleaning”…whatever it may be. Mention it and use any of those verticals as the theme of your flash marketing.
We often get stuck living in a comfort zone of marketing – thinking that word of mouth alone is all that we need. But our marketing doesn’t have to be expensive, just extensive.
Do we follow up with our customers? How can we ensure that they aren’t going to call someone else the next time they need something? We have to make a lasting impression, thank them for choosing us, and provide unforgettable service so they can’t imagine calling anyone else.
I know I mentioned it previously, but once again, if you come to Service World Expo, I invite you to join me for my session; I’ll tell you how to Dumb Down Your Marketing and focus on what works. I just might even have a free gift for you; like I said…flash marketing.
Danielle Putnam is the President of The New Flat Rate and Women in HVACR.
Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These group of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!