Getting your messages across
If you don’t make your customers aware of all the ways your business can benefit them, they’ll specify you only for the type of work you already do for them.
AS a flooring contractor, you’ll get involved in all sorts of projects, problem-solving and even, developing new solutions to situations you encounter in the course of a working day.
However, if you come up with a new product, a new solution, or a different way of doing things that could give your business the edge, do you ever tell your customers, and potential customers?
It sounds obvious, but if you don’t, then nobody will know about it, and you’re losing out on potential business. This is particularly so with your existing customers, because we tend to think they somehow ‘know’ what we do.
Why am I telling you this? For the simple reason that if you don’t make your customers aware of all the ways your business can benefit them, they’ll only specify you for the type of work you already do for them.
You get ‘pigeon-holed’ for certain services when you can more than likely, provide far more. And selling new services or products to existing customers is one of the easiest sales routes there is.
A few years ago, I shared a conference speaking platform with Gerald Ratner who years before had famously rubbished his own business by saying his jewellery ‘Was cheaper than an M&S prawn sandwich and probably wouldn’t last as long’, which was a prime example of how saying the wrong thing can destroy a business overnight.
Ratner told delegates there were about 20 different methods a business can market to prospective customers. Today, with the fragmentation of media and leaps in technology, marketing is far more complex.
The choices are wide and often expensive, but there are several marketing channels you can employ without busting the bank.
Popular low cost routes to market include e-mail marketing, social media marketing, sending press releases to publications that are read by businesses that you want to work with. You can also use your website to capture data and identify companies that visit.
Other valuable marketing tools include planning research databases like Glenigan and Barbour-ABI, where you can tailor leads to match the type of work you want to find and that’s happening in the area you wish to work.
This type of approach is excellent and works very well, providing you put in the effort required to make initial contact with the architects, quantity surveyors and the contractors managing the project. And then follow these up by phone.
Whatever the means you choose to promote yourself, there’s a very simple and proven way to help you think about your business and what you actually offer to customers.
It’s called ‘AIDA’ and means ‘Attention, Interest, Desire, Action’. It was devised many years ago but is still effective today.
Without attention, you can’t begin to persuade anybody about anything.
You can get your prospect’s attention in many ways but the first few seconds are essential as they will rapidly decide whether it is worth reading on. So, don’t waste these precious moments on niceties, grab the other person’s attention immediately and demonstrate how you can meet their needs in every way.
Once you have their attention, you must immediately sustain it by keeping them interested.
Your prospect isn’t interested in how long you have been in business or how many offices or staff you have. They want to know what’s in it for them and why what you offer is good, better, quicker or more cost effective for them.
As I said earlier, if you have found new ways of working, new applications for your products or can save customers money by doing things in a better way, then these are all ways to generate interest.
Remember, people buy benefits, so work hard on promoting the benefits you provide.
The next stage is to get your prospect to the point where they really want to find out more and want to try the product or service.
They may recognise that they have a need, but this is not desire.
Desire is a motivation to act. Think of it as a fire that can be stoked by adding fuel one stick or log at a time and build this into the way you set out your marketing copy, write your e-shots or develop your press release.
This is the point when the prospect or customer comes to you for more information or to buy.
Always ensure that the ways they can respond are clear; perhaps a website visit, e-mail contact, phone number, site visit, etc. And remember to make it easy for them do so and don’t hide vital contact information in the small print.
Whichever route to market you use in your marketing, following these simple rules will help you to present your key messages in a structured and effective way. And whatever you do, or whatever you say, don’t mention prawn sandwiches.
As ever, if you need more information or have any questions, or you would like someone to simply do all the marketing for you, feel free to contact me.