The following guidelines have been excerpted from our two-day Sales and Marketing Boot Camp, delivered by leading national home performance experts. We highly recommend that Participating Contractors attend.
Here is an overview of the advice you’ll receive:
1. Nail down your business fundamentals
When your contracting business was small, as the owner you juggled everything: sales, marketing, project management. You interfaced with every client. But as you grow it’s time to go from working in the business to on the business. A mature and successful small company needs a general manager who sets goals and develops the annual operating plan (aka, “the budget”).
You ask the questions, “What does our growth path look like?” “How do we measure our performance and progress?” It’s time to start delegating the hands-on work and focusing more on your business processes, especially training and retaining good employees.
2. Practice effective marketing and lead generation.
If the phone doesn’t ring, nothing else happens, right? So if you want leads you must take marketing into your own hands. You need to set a marketing budget and create a plan with a smart mix of marketing channels. Those channels are changing: yellow pages are fading away and social media, website, and paid search are gaining traction. Employee and customer referrals programs remain proven tactics.
But there’s no one-size-fits all approach to marketing—you have to experiment and track performance and see what tactics work best. You must define your target customers and types of homes, and develop messages that explain how your services solve problems and differentiate you from your competition. Building your pitch isn’t as hard as it sounds!
3. Shift your approach from “salesman” to “trusted advisor.”
Remember, you’re not selling widgets, you’re offering solutions and solving homeowner problems. It’s called “consultative selling,” and it means you position yourself as an objective, trusted advisor to your customers. You’re here to listen, ask questions, identify needs, and help the customer make good choices. Don’t throw around technical jargon about “air handlers” and “condensers”; but rather, explain how a child’s chilly bedroom can become a lot cozier.
4. Track progress, measure performance, and improve processes.
“You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” You’ve probably heard this business maxim, but have you integrated it into your practice? A healthy small business monitors its leads per week, and how many are turning into appointments and closed sales. You’re tracking your YTD progress to see if you’re on pace to meet goals. You’re using a lead form to capture the customer information necessary to qualify the lead (rather than writing down names and numbers on a paper napkin). When a job loses money, your team discusses the situation without blaming; you learn from it and move on.
We’ll dive into these and other topics in much greater detail at the Boot Camp. Don’t miss it!