Finish Your Year Stronger Than You Started
Did someone steal summer? And fall, too? I vaguely remember being involved, yet somewhere between swimming and raking leaves, I guess I missed them. Perhaps by the time 2020 arrives, someone will tell me what I ate during Thanksgiving. Just wow.
Year ends are fantastic because there are 4 great ways to absolutely trounce the other contractors who are “waiting” on winter to arrive. Scary because you can almost forget “sale” marketing during December (unless you follow the steps below).
So, let’s hit November super hard, finish strong, finish the year welcoming a new one…
How to Increase Your Customer Loyalty, Repurchases and Referrals:
Customers Count. Big time. We’ve seen the trend toward active Customer Retention programs increase over the years as impersonal e–zines and ‘one size fits all’ marketing programs fail to impress. (FYI: The vast majority of “e–zine only” customer contact is a dead end if not coupled with real, paid media efforts.)
- 1. Contact Them. Seems so simple, but most contractors contact only for “sales” or offers. A follow-up phone call and a Thank You card after a service are pennies spent to generate dollars of delight. No contact other than an invoice or offer is a completely shallow relationship. Go deep. Engage. Plus this…
- 2. Go Automatic. Automate the sending of a monthly email, (info-based) a real newsletter four times per year and a Holiday Card. The newsletter gives you the real estate to educate, inform and sell. The email must be short and lead to Item 4 below.
- 3. Go Social. Use the exact same email above as a short social post that links them to…
- 4. Online Engagement. This can be through a web-based content article, a video or both. (This is why Hudson, Ink offers an integrated retention program with both digital and print components.) Respond to any comments on Facebook, especially with reviews. Which brings me to…
Online Reviews Count. The days of letting this area go unmonitored are over. Many prospects who find you online don’t go one inch past a bad review and move on. You never even know you lost ‘em. Even no reviews is a mild negative, because you’re an “unknown”.
Of course, if you follow the above four areas, you’ll build more community and praise, but for the initial visit to customers, it’s extremely wise to…
- 1. Set Expectations. Many customers are intimidated by techs fiddling inside walls, in basements, on ladders and really don’t understand how they should be billed or what’s involved. Hand ‘em a Green Sheet in person (a one-pager on your company) or send ‘em an email prior to arrival showing tech, photo, company bio and services offered. DO NOT ‘sell’ them, just tell them.
- 2. Overserve Customer Service. Most reviewers will NOT watch for your technical expertise; they’re watching for your customer service skills. Are you on time, neat, professional, courteous, clean, polite? Yes, THIS too counts, and they ARE critics of all.
- 3. Give them the option of a Positive Review. No bribing, no arm twisting, just, “Was my service good enough to earn your positive review?” If “no,” you have an opportunity to make it so. If “yes,” party on.
- 4. Follow-Up quickly. The ‘thank you’ call that we’ve advised for years is still painfully less enacted, yet when we get one, it’s a huge differentiator. Our clients have scripts for this, plus postcards and emails that help cement the relationship.
Remember boys and girls: Your customers pay for everything you have. Your overhead, trucks, tools, training, techs and profit. Probably worth investing in them. Be different. Be their Contractor Hero by proving you care, especially during the season of the year where it is most accepted.
Leads Count. This is where Direct Response Marketing is at its strongest. And you can KILL IT in November by making a serious year-end reason to call you. Your highest ROI is with Direct Mail before the December clutter arrives. Remember, the RULE is “Message to Market Match,” and that means:
Pick WHAT you want to sell to WHOM. 3 Great Options:
- 1. End of Year/Price Increase Letter. Alert your people to prices “out of your control,” that you’re willing to hold prices for customers on remaining product if they’ll call and schedule before <DATE> (sense of urgency, with added quantity limitation).
- 2. Unclosed Prospect Letter. Got some folks who didn’t buy last winter? Hit them with a reason to call now.
- 3. Trade-In Letter. A regular top-performer here, year after year, though I can quit tweaking it each time. Trade In an ugly Faucet, an ugly fixture, you name it. Doesn’t matter. This is called a ‘qualified rebate,’ and people eat it up.
If you will just do ONE or TWO of the things mentioned in this article, you can finish your year strong.
Hudson,Ink is a creative marketing firm for contractors. Readers can get a no-cost report Customer Retention Kit and Holiday Marketing Report with a complimentary subscription to the Sales&Marketing Insider by emailing a polite request and your company information to calling Hudson,Ink at 800-489-9099. Visit us at www.hudsonink.com for many other free marketing articles and reports.
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