Mark Richardson, CR
Over the past five to seven years, most remodeling businesses have moved from an abundant flow of leads to a scarcity. This is due in large part to the economy, which has led prospects to put remodeling projects on the back burner. Home depreciation and an unstable economy have led to a lower level of confidence. The outcome of this dynamic is that remodelers sit waiting for the phone to ring.
The natural tendency for most remodeling businesses is to react to this scarcity of leads by spending more dollars on marketing activities. They naturally want to try many things that they know little about to see if the lead flow increases. For most businesses, the average cost per lead during this period has gone up substantially and sales have not increased to the same degree.
As I travel and speak to remodelers and other business professionals, I see a separation between businesses that continue to grow in these tough economic times and those that struggle. Approximately 10 to 20 percent of remodeling businesses have maintained sales goals, gross profit margins, and profitability. Many of these positive results have been products of leads and opportunities.
The difference between those who are making it happen and those who are struggling with lead generation is primarily their “marketing mindset.” To better understand some of the attributes that make them different, let me highlight three aspects of a great marketing mindset:
Five to seven years ago, most owners or remodelinag salespeople could get away with spending about 5 percent of their of time on marketing-related activities. This may have included attending an occasional home show or networking event, or working with a marketing agency on the quarterly spending. For the most part, these activities were just items to check off their daily to-do list.
Today, successful business leaders and sales professionals are spending about 20 to 30 percent of their time and energy on marketing. While you might say, “I cannot afford to spend that much time thinking about marketing,” I would argue that you do not have a choice.
The right marketing mindset means you wake up in the morning thinking about opportunities to touch prospects, not the window order you need to place or who you need to fire. Your drive into the office is a marketing activity. Your visit with a friend over lunch is a marketing activity. The new ideas will flow if you invest the time rather than look for the latest scheme to generate easy leads. By forcing yourself to spend more time thinking about marketing, you will see great results.
2. Don’t Be a Stranger
Most remodeling businesses don’t keep in touch with their past clients. If you don’t believe me, then do this simple test. How many paying clients have you done a project for in the last 10 to 20 years? How many of these clients have you talked to in the last six months? Imagine if I asked you the same questions about your close friends.
The successful marketer keeps in touch proactively and in a meaningful way with the client base. It may be a simple check-in call to make sure everything is working properly, stopping by when you are in the neighborhood, or sending a personal note about a mutual interest. This results in more past client business, referrals, and positive relationships, which ultimately create sustainable lead flow.
Today, marketing mindset acknowledges that, “All of us are better than one of us.” Marketing is not just the responsibility of the business owners. Everyone in your business needs to be a marketer, including the administration and production teams. They need to be trained and deputized.
Think about the number of times during construction a client has raved about the craftsman or an experience with an office staff member. What better time for the trained employee to seize an opportunity to do more business with that client? If you adopt this mindset then it also may require some incentives to your non-sales team. However, it will save you a great deal on your cost of leads.
This deputizing process goes beyond your internal team. Bring in your key relationships, and discuss your interest in a deeper, strategic relationship and your interest in their assisting you with more leads and opportunities. Today, you cannot go it alone and be as successful.
Each of these concepts is key to getting the phone to ring. Together they create the long-term marketing mindset that allows you to control your future, rather than let the environment control you. PR
Mark Richardson, CR, is an author, columnist, and business growth strategist. He authored the best-selling book, “How Fit is Your Business” as well as his latest book, “Fit to Grow.” Richardson will also be a speaker at Professional Remodeler’s Extreme Sales Summit in September 2013. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org@mgrichardson.com or 301.275.0208.