Leo Duplessis, general manager at Yankee Home Improvement, loves when homeowners go on the Internet to check out what the company sells. “It means I have less training to do,” he says. “That’s what a sales appointment is; it’s training the homeowner on the product.”
Ger Ronan, top producer at a local home improvement company, founded Yankee Home Improvement 10 years ago so that he could implement his own systems and ideas. Well-trained salespeople, outside-the-box approaches to marketing, and diligent customer service have propelled the company’s growth.
Yankee offers five guarantees or warranties, including the guarantee that if customers find anybody who will do the job at the same scope but cheaper “we’ll give them the difference plus 150 bucks,” Ronan says. Another is the company’s risk-free guarantee: If in the first 90 days after completion the homeowner finds anything to be unhappy about with the job, Yankee will fix it to the client’s satisfaction. And then there is an unconditional double lifetime warranty on windows and siding, and a manufacturer 50-year warranty on shingles.
- To get homeowners’ attention, Yankee’s marketing aims to take them by surprise. For example, with direct mail, instead of a letter or a postcard, the company mailed out bottles with messages inside them. “We had a 5% to 6% response rate before our canvassers and phone room hit it,” Duplessis says. The company has also mailed out stress balls in the shape of a human foot, then contacted recipients to ask whether or not Yankee could “get its foot in the door.”
- At home shows, the company paints faces and gives out balloons. In February the Yankee booth featured a slot machine—whatever it takes to get a conversation about windows or roofing going. “Ger has a long-held belief that as long as we can get in front of people, it’s a good place to be,” Duplessis says. So far this year the company’s marketers have been to four bridal shows.