Sometimes you have to embrace the unsexiness and just keep going.
There are tons of ‘sexy’ marketing techniques out there. People are mesmerized by SEO, Facebook ads, pay per click, and basically all the social media channels with video now. But have you stopped to think of all the ‘unsexy’ marketing techniques that are still highly effective? Sometimes the best solutions are the simple, uncomplicated, and very unsexy techniques that we ignore. Think of these as the “tee shirt and jeans” of the marketing world- simple, classic, nothing fancy, but they work. I will break these down into the residential and commercial applications for each and why they work.
I’m not going to lie. Nobody likes to set aside time to make a bunch of phone calls, get hung up on and maybe land a deal. However, cold calling is a direct approach to finding work. If we get the possible client on the phone, we can usually get a straight answer and the waiting/ guessing game is gone. So how do you go about doing this the right way? Well, the goal is to make cold calling a little warmer with targeting the right leads.
In the residential market it is very difficult to just do this randomly with homes in the area. We want to avoid being the automated telemarketing phone call that we want to hang up on immediately. So the first step is to set up some guidelines. We need to target specific homes and customers that we want to work with. So how do we do this? Well, think about the current homes that you service. Focus on increasing your route density by specifically targeting their neighbors and giving them a killer offer. Another technique would be to focus on communities that you would like to break into. Maybe these are higher end neighborhoods or ones that are closer to the shop. Either way we want to make sure we are smart in our cold calling efforts.
In the commercial market we want to do the same thing. Again, we want to make these leads a little warmer. I would focus on property managers that have properties that are close to other commercial properties. I would also concentrate on association directories where I knew people would be interested or eventually interested in my services. So it never hurt to “check in” and see if any RFP’s were available at the time. Just be persistent and eventually you will get some really good results with this one.
DOOR TO DOOR:
Nothing is as classic as the door to door salesman. We still reference the tenacious “foot in the door” vacuum sales guy of old who was a trailblazer in gutsy, face to face, sales tactics. Now, we don’t want to be that guy, but we can’t deny that the legacy of this technique still works today. We don’t get more direct than going to a home, knocking on the door and presenting our services to the homeowner. It is only in this environment when we are really able to form instant relationships. No other strategy is really this personable. There is a reason why big companies like Trugreen still use this tactic today. So, how do we do this wisely without making everyone mad?
In the residential market this is a lot harder. We believe that by going to people’s homes we are disturbing them and in turn this makes us really uncomfortable. So most companies choose to deliver doorhangers from house to house. This is effective, but becomes much more significant if we personalize it. We do this by offering an evaluation and quote on the spot. We focus on giving them a killer offer with value. This killer offer is enhanced if we knock on the door and keep it really brief after servicing their neighbor. By offering them value they will have no choice but to be grateful and friendly even if they are not interested in your services right now.
In the commercial market, we do this in a different way. We want to visit property managers at their place of business of course. So visiting them at the office we don’t always know what their needs are, but we still want to capture their attention. We do this by regularly leaving them information along with some goodies. You will never believe how far a box of cookies or pastries will go in an office. By developing a regular route in doing this, we will begin to build a relationship with the managers in the office and they will eventually turn to you whenever they need a bid on something.
When it comes to direct mail, some people are hesitant because they think that good ole fashioned mail pieces don’t work. They would be wrong. Some stats show that about 40% of consumers still scan their mail which means they are reading your headlines! There is something about having something real and tangible in your hands versus seeing it on your computer screen or phone that makes people think harder. Now if we were to have a good offer and great call to action we would have a really effective strategy here. So how do we do this the right way?
In the residential market it all starts with having the right list. We have to know our target clientele really well. We should know their age, gender, what they like and the major problems they are having. Having the right list and the right people ready to buy is the most important part of this strategy. Once we have this it will be easy to sell to them because we already know the problem we are trying to solve. Whether it’s a letter or a postcard, we have to convey what benefits or value we are ready to bring to them at the right time. I see so many companies simply listing all the services they offer (lawn mowing, landscaping, irrigation repair, fertilization, etc.) but people will most likely know this by the name of your company. What they want to know is what makes you different and what benefits you are going to offer them. So instead of listing services, try listing the benefits (more time with your family on the weekends, less time worrying about what fertilizer to buy because we will make your lawn green and healthy, get the HOA off your back and make your neighbors jealous, etc.). Do you see what I mean here? Bring them value, not simply choices.
In the commercial market we can apply the same principles. We have to know who our target clientele is. Property managers are different for every industry. In the HOA field, I can safely say that managers are middle-aged women. In facility management, I have mostly seen middle-aged men. So knowing who you are going to target with your campaign is crucial. The message and benefits are going to be a little different for each, but knowing how to appeal to them and give them value is vital. Again, we want to convey the benefits. In the commercial world it will most likely be reducing complaints, regular and consistent communication, increasing property values and making them look like a hero for hiring your company. If we have the right list and an effective message we will be very successful with this strategy.
There is no doubt that all the new stuff out there works. I have personally had success with social media and other new channels of marketing, but there is something to say about that these classic marketing techniques. Mainly, that they still work really well even in this digital world we live in now. So next time you are hypnotized by the latest online marketing craze, don’t forget to include these traditional, but unsexy marketing strategies.
Thanks, great article.