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The Commercial Direct Marketing Approach

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Target Direct Marketing is a term that I have heard and used myself for many years. I use it to describe the approach we can use to provide help for prospecting and setting First Structured Meetings in order to find new clients for commercial services. So what exactly is Target Direct Marketing? What tools are available? Where do I start?

As a reminder; when a thorough and comprehensive sales process and direct marketing approach are not adhered to, then we may miss the opportunity to completely resolve the “pain” and issues that the prospect or customer are experiencing. We fail to differentiate and become tangled in the short sales process that focuses on “price only” discussions and never have the opportunity to negotiate. Target Direct Marketing sets the sales person up for success and helps them facilitate a proven, comprehensive sales process.

Some of the rules of marketing correctly include; short concise Messages, Benefit Statements, a Simple Invitation, Actionable Instructions, great Graphics, and using Social Media; as well as traditional methods of reaching prospects in order to set appointments. The beginning of marketing means understanding our company, competencies, “elevator pitch,” and what markets to penetrate. Let’s first look at the Target Markets for Commercial HVACR Service and then explore the rules mentioned above.

Target Markets for commercial service include the prospects that are most likely to “partner” with us and allow a negotiation as well as understand the “Value Proposition.” Value of course can be perceived, yet, most business owners, building owners and facility managers desire a long-term relationship and want to be a good steward of the money and resources they invest!

Key or Target Markets include: Owner-occupied Facilities, Office Buildings and Local or Regional Property Management Firms (those that buy the land, build the building and lease it out), Healthcare Facilities of all kinds, Education Facilities, Manufacturing/Industrial/Distribution Buildings and some specialized IT, Data, Cell Site, Clean Room and Research Facilities. Many contractors gain relationships with local and state government facilities’ managers, however, converting a bid to a negotiated agreement can be difficult. Please notice that Restaurants, Retail and Bars are not high on my list. With all the other markets to penetrate, why have your new sales person “spin their wheels” on these difficult markets? We are reminded though that “Relationship” trumps all, in other words, if you have a great relationship with a poor market segment; “go for it”…just adhere to the sales process and qualify well!

Your Message to each of these target markets may differ; yet, a simple “elevator pitch” should be internalized by the sales person and show up on your website, marketing case studies, introductory letters and emails or communications using social media, especially Linked In. A strong message is filled with not only your company history and competencies but with wonderful Benefit Statements that relate to specific markets.

Example; “We help office building owners and managers reduce or control costs, manage the budget or improve cash flow, and improve the overall environmental condition of the facility related to HVACR.” An actionable marketing message speaks to a call to action such as; “We will call you next week to arrange a convenient time to meet” or “We offer a building performance assessment to help you resolve HVACR issues, please give us a call.” Of course every marketing attempt should be followed by an appointment setting phone call, email, or social media contact to gain access.

As we work throughout the USA and Canada, we find that target market leads are plentiful in most of our contracting businesses. Bobby Lockett, owner of Air Conduit in Louisiana, has reminded me that there are tremendous relationships already built into our customer database because of the installation and construction work that we, as contractors, have already performed. I am also reminded, as many as 80% of these contacts or leads have never been approached by our service sales people, at a high decision-making level. No one has met with and facilitated a First Structured Meeting with the CFO, Controller, VP Finance or Business Manager. This is a great place to start once a new service sales person has gained some experience. In our next article we will thoroughly discuss and describe the First Structured Meeting and how to facilitate that appointment.

In summary, use as much desktop published marketing material as possible, use benefit statements and case studies specific to the markets you are attempting to gain appointments with. Simple capabilities overviews, introductory letters and emails, website content and even the proposal documents should have common themes, graphics and messages with strong benefit statements. Use of a marketing firm should be directed by and coordinated by sales management for service sales and have continuity that introduces the sales process using language that is familiar to the prospect; We Meet, We Provide A Building Assessment, We Explore Options and then Present Recommendations with Financial Justification…all of which we will cover in upcoming articles, so stay tuned and “sell more commercial service” by learning more about target direct marketing!

James Graening

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