Social media is important, but face-to-face connections are still a remodeler’s main marketing tool. In today’s business climate, everyone — employees, trade partners, vendors — should be part of your company’s marketing efforts.
“Make it part of company culture,” says former remodeler and now consultant Neil Parsons, owner of DesignBuildProfit. Share your company’s mission and goals. Parsons suggests running an open-book company and regularly holding team-building exercises and periodic “state-of-the union” meetings.
In the monthly meeting at Seattle–based Gaspar’s Construction, co-owner Cathy Gaspar says she “make[s] everyone in the company aware that referrals come because of excellent service,” so employees are responsible for asking for referrals.”
To that end, Gaspar says that all the company’s hires have people skills. “Even laborers interact with clients,” she points out, so Gaspar’s Construction field employees go through online Sandler sales training.
40% of prospects are converted to new customers through face-to-face meetings
28%: Current business that would be lost without face-to-face meetings - Source: Meeting Professionals International study
But don’t limit your efforts to in-house staff. Steve Klitsch, owner of Creative Concepts Remodeling, in Germantown, Md., gives trade partners business cards to hand out to clients inquiring about remodeling services.
While Klitsch guarantees trade partners the work if their referral becomes a job, Parsons suggests a more formal policy using rewards such as gift cards. Gaspar’s Construction gets buy-in with its annual subcontractors’ breakfast and “Golden Hammer” award given to the trade partner who brings in the most referrals during the year.
“I just want subs to plant a seed,” Klitsch says. “I’m not asking them to be salespeople. I’m hoping the seed-planting process may have a return six months or two years down the line.”
—Stacey Freed, senior editor, REMODELING.