“Try to become the “I’ve got a guy” guy. You want your customers to think of you whenever they need a contractor to work on their house.”
In Part 1 of this four-part blog series, I spoke about the best way to avoid a slowdown, which is to build a healthy pipeline. There are five core marketing channels that I focus on for my business. Today, I’m diving into two of those channels, word of mouth and networking, and sharing some of my best practices.
Word of Mouth
“But I rely on word of mouth advertising, isn’t that the best?” Yes, word of mouth is the best, not only because it is inexpensive, but because you are twice as likely to book those projects. The problem is, it is not very scalable, meaning you can’t predictively do more of some activity to get more word of mouth referrals. You can create a system, and you should, as a part of your marketing funnel to re-connect with past customers and to stay top-of-mind. Do you do that? Two ways to do this would be:
1. Send out an email blast once a month with helpful information, tips, community events, or home service recommendations. Don’t do it and talk about your painting business. They know who you are and what you do. If you receive an email once a month from a service you used in the past and all it said was “Buy my stuff!” you would start to ignore emails from that person. Be helpful and solve problems. Recommend a carpet cleaner, or highlight a local festival, or remind them to clean their air ducts. Keep it simple. Keep it short… and don’t be self-promoting.
2. Start a send-out-cards campaign. Send a card to every single customer you have ever had at least once a quarter. Be fun, be funny, be creative, say thank you, but again, don’t self-promote. The aim is to simply stay top-of-mind.
I think we have all tried the Business Network International (or BNI) group or the local chamber of commerce, but when I say networking, I mean finding out who are the best people to refer your business, and then get in front of them. For painting contractors, I believe that to be real estate brokers, interior designers, flooring salespeople, and contractors. You need to be well known in these circles and look for ways to refer business to them. To do this, you need to be constantly asking your clients if they have any other needs. Try to become the “I’ve got a guy” guy. You want your customers to think of you whenever they need a contractor to work on their house. This keeps you top of mind.
If you do a good job at feeding other contractors work, do you not think they will want to reciprocate? It may not happen as much as you want (I know it doesn’t for me), but if you start consistently getting high-quality customer referrals out to other contractors, you can rest assured, what goes around will come around.
How do you take advantage of the power of word of mouth or networking? Share your comments below.
Also, look for Part 3 of this series, coming next Wednesday, January 18! I’ll be providing tips for web content and social media.
Nick May owns Walls by Design, based out of Denver, CO. He started the business in 1999 with one employee, and grew it to be one of the largest residential interior painting businesses in Colorado. May believes in systems, team building, and marketing…not necessarily in that order. When he’s not working with his team, you can find him playing soccer or hosting his successful interior design podcast called The Chaise Lounge where he shares the stories of some of the most successful designers in the industry today.
Last modified: March 2, 2017