Lessons learned from the past
|By Kevin Smith|
If you think about it, many existing customers might be interested in some type of upgrade.
The world as we know it is ever-changing. This year we all have had to adapt to new ways of doing business. Staying in communication is more important now than it ever has been in the last 10 years. Combine that with social distancing practices, and it’s easy to see how these create a real business challenge.
Since customers are now less likely to meet in person, there is even more emphasis on electronic communication. Virtual meetings and email communication have become part of our new normal. During these times, customers may be a little more cautious when it comes to projects or spending their money. That being the case, it is important to keep customers aware of new trends and touch-free services you offer.
During 2008’s financial crisis, I was a field representative for a lighting company. Many contractors that I worked with came to me and expressed that it was extremely hard to get new jobs and keep their crews working. I had to think of a way to help them keep their foot in the door and obtain new business.
I shared the example of the quick-sale specialist. These are the folks that might leave a flyer at your door stating that they can paint your address in reflective paint or install a peephole in your front door for a small fee. In many cases, homeowners also asked if they could paint the door trim or perform some other quick task. All are 5- to 15-minute jobs with a quick payout.
In those days, astronomical timers had just started to become popular. I suggested that contractors call up all their existing clients and offer them an installed price for this new upgrade. Many took this advice and remained terribly busy and profitable during that time. Since advertising budgets were thin, I also suggested that they ask for customer referrals. Several contractors gained new customers by just getting their foot in the door. This same strategy can be applied during these times.
If you think about it, many existing customers might be interested in some type of upgrade. Perhaps at the time of an initial installation your customer wanted some technology that was simply not in the budget or not developed at the time. Many manufacturers have been making significant strides in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technology. Opportunities to revisit or upgrade a previous project might just be in your job notes.
Often a quick drive past a customer’s house in the evening might provide an instant opportunity. Perhaps a call or email the next day could be like this:
“Hi, Mrs. Jones. This is [insert name here] from [insert company name]. I happened to be in your neighborhood the other night, and I noticed the [insert area] in your front yard was very dark. Would you like me to help you secure this area? I’d be happy to meet with you to discuss options. I am working with new products that could help illuminate this area.”
This simple call or email demonstrates that you genuinely care about your customer’s property and safety and that you are ready and willing to assist them.
These last few months I have been speaking to several contractors across the country. Many have begun to offer what they call a white-glove service. White-glove service is a business attitude that sets one’s company apart from the rest. This is an attitude where every job is completed from start to finish with the utmost care and precision. The attention to detail and full communication is also a factor of this service. White-glove service is basically an attitude to go beyond the expected. Although white-glove service costs more, discerning customers understand the value and prefer that level of service.
During these unusual times, companies who figure out how to reinvent themselves and adapt to current conditions are the ones that flourish. I hope you have found some of these ideas helpful. Stay focused, and stay well.
Kevin Smith is the national technical support and trainer at Brilliance LED LLC, Carefree, Arizona, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.