For companies dealing with the labor shortage, growth is only possible by adding efficiency
We’re a replacement company, and given the demand for roofing, siding, and windows, we could easily triple our volume in a year or two. But because we’re booked into June and can’t install what we’re selling now, trying to do that would be a road to disaster.
So our strategy for 2018 is to generate somewhat more than the $3 million in sales we did last year, but more importantly, we want the highest possible net profit by being as efficient as we can be.
More Profit Via Efficiency
The way for us to reach our goal is by improving performance and lowering costs in every part of the business—admin, marketing, sales and production.
We currently have fast, skilled crews who know how to communicate with homeowners. We’ve worked our butts off to get the team that we have now, but we always need more. If we see a siding crew out there doing a great job, we stop at the jobsite and start a conversation. We’re looking to get the best people we can. In hiring, it’s not what you’re looking for, but who you’re looking for.
Right now we’re looking to hire a salesperson. We’re not looking for a closer. A closer would turn our customer base off. I want someone with at least five years’ experience in the home improvement industry who knows as much about technology and delivering data as about selling. That’s really what we do these days—deliver data to the homeowner and let him or her make an informed choice.
The key is to write an ad that makes the person you’re looking for instantly recognize that this company is a great fit. So far, we’ve had five hits from our LinkedIn ad, and three seemed viable. But with both sales and admin, you have to constantly look. We’ll be looking throughout this year.
SEO Secret Sauce
Our customer is a white-collar, college-educated homeowner with minimum household income of $150,000. These are people with plenty of sales resistance, inclined to do lots of research on the Internet before they contact a company. That’s the end of the lake where I want to fish.
Ask yourself: Who’s your customer? Is it anybody who wants your product? Big window replacement companies operate with that philosophy, but if you’re not them, you may be blowing money on useless marketing and wasting sales time on appointments with people looking for the lowest price. On the other hand, when you clearly define your client, your marketing immediately becomes more effective because you know how to reach your customer type.
Last year most of our leads came from from manufacturers, referrals, or our own website. When it comes to SEO, here’s the secret sauce: We do case studies on every job. Our website has “before” and “after” pictures, a short story about how the homeowners came to do business with us, and a testimonial about why they chose us.
The biggie is Frequently Asked Questions. What were the most frequently asked questions on this particular job? It could be something specific to this customer—“Who’s going to put my mailbox back where it was?”—or it could be a question you get from many people, such as: “How will you deal with the rotten wood?”
You’re going to have these conversations anyway. Why not take it a step further and publicize those communications? It’s not just our vanity. Google’s algorithms see that data as local and relevant, which pushes us closer to the top of the page and increases our performance online.