Customer Communication - Part 2
Going The Extra MileStan Bastek, Director of Marketing and Sales Development
For many companies, finishing up the job and collecting payment is the final chapter to a short-lived customer relationship. However, ending the relationship can often mean you miss out on business opportunities. In conversations with roofing contractors around the country, I have found that there are many common challenges in growing revenues, and lead generation is often at the center of their concern. What is so often missed is a strategic and dedicated effort to create opportunities through customer referrals. New leads can be hard to come by and paid lead services are both expensive and sometimes unfruitful. With some basic changes to your follow up process, you can start generating new leads by tapping into opportunities with existing customers.
You provide an additional service and remove this burden from your customer when you complete the warranty registration on their behalf in the few days following completion of the project.
An Added Service: Register The Manufacturer’s Warranty
Most manufacturer warranties come with simple online or mail in registration processes that take just a few minutes to complete. For many warranty programs, copies of material invoices are required for application of the warranty and there is often a time sensitive element to getting the warranty application in. You provide an additional service and remove this burden from your customer when you complete the warranty registration on their behalf in the few days following completion of the project. Typical turnaround on a warranty approval is 1-2 weeks, giving you a perfect reason for a follow up communication to deliver their warranty document. You might want to write a nice email to your customer with copies of the approval and warranty documents. Alternatively, you can put together a printed packet in a branded folder to really impress your customer. Include warranty information and a short handwritten note thanking them for their business and asking them to both refer you to friend/family and rate you on online sites. Either way, the warranty becomes a perfect vehicle for a follow up communication opportunity.
Design A Referral Program
Referral programs are simple and effective. A flyer with a simple promotion ranging in value from $50 to $200 can be a big motivator for existing customers to tell their neighbors, friends, and family members all about their experience with your company. Make sure that you are clear about how your program will be implemented, if there is a limit per household, and what prospects need to commit to or say so that the referring customer gets what they are expecting. A sense of urgency also helps drive referral programs, so consider dating these programs so that you can drive action with a deadline.
Get In The Trenches - Neighborhood Marketing
Landing a single job in a neighborhood full of potential roof replacements is your chance to shine, but you need to do two things: 1) Do a GREAT job and 2) Make yourself visible before, during, and after the job. Have you ever noticed how cars slow down as they drive by homes with exterior renovation projects taking place? Everyone on the block wants to know what the neighbors are doing, and you have an opportunity to get their eyes on your brand. Here are some easy things you can implement to get visible and dig trenches around the neighborhood:
- With permission, place a yard sign in the customer’s yard. Keep your messaging simple, clean, and memorable.
- Take lots of pictures BEFORE and AFTER the job to ensure you can use this socially, and build a printed/digital pitch book of these reveals to share around the block.
- With permission, during the job installation, set up a tent and/or table in the front yard with literature, BEFORE/AFTER pictures, and a cooler full of lemonade. This is a welcome sign to neighbors to learn more about your work.
- If the job is in a large community, ask if they have a bulletin or email newsletter with paid advertising opportunities. These are often the most affordable ads you can buy, and your message is simple: “We’re Already Here, Helping Homeowners In Your Neighborhood Achieve Their Remodeling Dreams”.
- Revisit canvassing, but personalize it to the neighborhood you are visiting. If you completed a job at 123 Elm Street, add a personal sticky note with a handwritten note that says “Just replaced your neighbor’s roof at 123 Elm Street; check it out or call us for a free estimate.” Personalizing canvassing materials with handwritten notes takes a bit more time, but it is also less likely to be tossed.
Whatever your business model or lead generation process looks like, referrals are like gold. Set up a meeting with your team, from sales to operations and office admin staff, and discuss what you are doing well already. Then have an open dialogue about what you can do to better capitalize on referral opportunities. The best ideas may be the simplest to implement.
About The Author
Stanley Bastek is the Director of Marketing & Sales Development with Atlas Roofing Corporation. In this role, Stanley leads a dynamic team of professionals providing all aspects of marketing support, training, and sales development tools to both customers and a growing sales force. A big believer in selling on value, Stanley is constantly looking for ways to help contractors differentiate themselves in a commoditized market. Part of his mission in the industry is giving contracting business training and technology tools to be more successful sales organizations, in addition to being great installers. This comes from a belief that both construction trades and sales are admirable and worthy professions that have lots of crossover in today’s home improvement industry.
Stanley holds a Bachelors degree from The University of Michigan and an MBA degree from Shorter University. Stanley has more than 10 years of marketing and sales management experience. He is passionate about the ever-changing and expanding possibilities within the home improvement industry as contractors and suppliers become more technologically sophisticated and homeowner needs evolve. To contact Stanley, please email SBastek@AtlasRoofing.com.