TAKING THE LEADS

If, as a flooring contractor, you’re wondering how to make more money, a good place to start is looking at how you source your leads.

IN an episode of the TV Police drama Unforgotten, a manager was talking to his financially beleaguered salesman who’d just asked for more leads. What the salesman really needed was more money, and he could achieve this by having more leads which he could then turn into more sales meaning more commission.

As a contractor, are you wondering how to make more money? If so, then a good place to start is to look at how you source your leads. Because finding better quality customers willing to pay a little more, cause you a little less trouble on the job, and pay you on time are a great way to make more money.

So, one way of achieving your objective of making more money is by having better customers. And finding better customers requires better leads, which requires you to think about marketing. Now don’t stop reading at this point!

I know marketing is never at the top of any specialist subcontractor’s priorities, but it’s extremely important if you want to find the better customers you actually want to work with, rather than working with those you have to work with simply because you haven’t found alternative ones. But, let’s be clear on this. Marketing isn’t something you do when you’re not busy, then forget about when you’re busy. It’s something successful businesses do continuously. That’s why they’re successful.

And let’s also be clear about something else. Marketing isn’t about big budget advertising. There are low-cost and no-cost marketing ways to attract better customers and here are three activities you can undertake to help find better prospects:

Direct marketing: Since the advent of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), many businesses are being much more cautious about data privacy and how they manage data.

According to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), you don’t need consent for postal marketing, which means rather than having to ask your customers to opt into communications, you can send postal direct mail to them.

For contractors who deal with homeowners, direct marketing offers a very effective way to reach your local market place.

According to Royal Mail, direct mail is ‘seen to be of value and addressed advertising mail stays in the home for an average of 17 days’. It’s a very powerful means of one-to-one marketing communications.

E-mail marketing: Although many bulk e-mail services no longer allow you to upload non-opt-in data onto their systems, you are still able to send e-mail marketing to businesses. You just have to ensure the business you wish to e-mail is a limited company and not a sole trader, or an individual, as these are treated as ‘consumers’ and must agree to receive e-mails from you.

Reputable list owners can provide you with business data, including e-mail addresses and I can recommend one such company if you’re looking for data.

Public relations: Public relations is something you can do yourself, simply by identifying projects you have worked on and picking out the benefits you provided as part of that project. Was it a special or a one-off? Were there problems unique to that project you had to overcome, or did you introduce a new method of working or new product to deliver a superb end-result.

Quite often, this information – accompanied by a quality photograph that shows the work in all its glory – is all you need to produce a short PR story about the project. And don’t forget check your contract to ensure you can take photographs on site for promotional use.

Whether it’s trade press or your local newspaper, just phone the editorial office to introduce yourself and gauge their interest in what you want to send them. They’ll certainly tell you if they think it’s something of interest.

Into 2019!

As we’re now in November, now is the ideal time to think about how you’re going to market your business in 2019. Establishing those better customers who you want to talk to, where they are and the type of work they need would be an excellent good start.

Here’s how it can work in practice.

A telephone sales campaign is currently ongoing for a specialist contractor in another sector. The sales approach is to identify lead data sourced from a service such as Barbour-ABI or Glenigan (I wrote about the benefits of this type of approach in July, and then to regularly follow up with them.

The call programme has been happening week in, week out, since Spring. In August, one potential customer, first contacted six months ago, sent their first set of enquiry documents against which to quote. It didn’t need hard work to achieve that result, but what it did need was tenacity, with call backs at regular intervals. It has taken relatively few calls to achieve a successful outcome.

This approach to quality lead generation is one of the most effective methods of marketing that you can use. Remember, marketing is tough and does need to be a properly managed ongoing process. However, when done properly it pays dividends.

So, when you do start your marketing, stick at it to ensure that those people you speak to on day one aren’t forgotten, or rather, are Unforgotten.
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