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Marketing your business.

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redbaron is off-lineSilver Member
18 January 2014 15:22
redbaron
Photographer
redbaron
Location
United Kingdom
Buckinghamshire
Stoke Mandeville

If it was a thriving business then you should have a healthy database of previous customers to contact and remind of your services. I'm assuming that if one unit fails there is a good chance of another going later. Plus they may well know friends who have similar problems.

Sounds a little like you are looking for some magic bullet though. If so there is no such thing in photography or any other business. It is mainly down to hours and hours of boring grunt. You mentioned leafleting for example. Did you get back out a day or so later knocking on doors to ask if they received you leaflet? Do you put up signboards at houses you have worked on and give those customers some sort of loyalty deal if a friend of theirs takes up your services? You could contact local builders offering a commission if they refer a client or clients neighbour they see has problems to you.

You bemoan the leaflet drop you did yet 1,000 is piffle. If you have all this time on your hand it should be 10,000 at least and not from Vista. They are slow expensive and poor quality. Your leaflet has to be right too with a clear call to action and some sort of specific and limited offer.


Photography and Studio hire www.immortaleye.co.uk


theperfectgentleman is off-line
18 January 2014 19:44
theperfectgentleman
Photographer
theperfectgentleman
Location
United Kingdom
Essex
Chelmsford

Quote from ATVLONDON
Yes I have tried that but they do not seem to want to deal with a small one man outfit.  Same problem when I quote for insurance work.  I'm miles cheaper than the big boys but for some reason they think they will get a better job done if they use a large company.  I quoted to fit a composite door in a ladies house for £700.  One of the big DG companies that uses a mountain as its logo went in at £4000!  Work that one out?



I used to work for that company, let me ask you did you sell your services? did you earn the £700 BY SELLING IT FIRST?
people love being sold to if done the right way, people love people.
May I sugest, make an appointment to deliver the quote, dress smart buisness and then sell your product.
Show them all the bits and let them handle them,explain all the atributes of them. show them a portfolio of the work that you have done, showing quality of work and any letters of recomendation. and then the most important ASK THEM FOR THE ORDER.
Do you ask for recomendations? "Is there anyone you know who I needs my services? that I could call on?" any recomendations get a bonus from me!!!
A bottle, bunch of flowers, or a £10 delivered personaly and a the use of those two little word that are not used very often "Thank You" generates a lot more leads.
The mountain company reps had to generate there own leads by knocking on doors and asking for it, a minimum of 200 knock every evening 5days a week and if you didn't have any for the next week all day saturday.
Thats a possible 1000 face to face contacts a week, so a thousand leaflets is only a weeks work.
I hope I am sowing seads with you, or if I am teaching you to suck eggs then sorry.




19 January 2014 04:35
ATVLONDON
Photographer


All advice taken PerfectGentleman. I've only recently started advertising composite doors for the reason you do not need FENSA registration to fit them as the glass area is a low percentage compared to a normal UPVC door. The bottle of wine, box of chocolates, flowers etc works better if you are installing something of a higher value than what I'm doing. Most of my jobs come to little more than £120 so I can see your point and I've worked for companies in the past who have done that with every customer who had a whole house done. Going back to the comment that RedBaron wrote about going back to every house I've dropped leaflets at. I consider they have received the leaflet because I've put it through the door. Now to have someone come knocking on your door a few evenings later is going to annoy people. They don't like salesman cold calling them and my attitude is exactly the same. How many times has someone phoned you, or knocked on your door, as you're dishing up dinner or just sitting down to eat? This is not my way of how the public should be marketed. However I understand these techniques work for some people. But going back to houses from a few nights earlier gives the customer the impression you are desperate. There are two things I decided I would never do. One is I would never haggle over the price of work I was doing and secondly I would never go back to them once I'd been round once as again this makes you look desperate for work and also gives them the idea they can knock you down in price.
My doctor told me I've only got 6 months to live. Then I told him I couldn't pay him... so he gave me another 6 months.


Dominic Thurmer is off-linePlatinum Member
19 January 2014 06:12
dominicdgt
Photographer
dominicdgt
Location
United Kingdom
Kent
Gillingham

Specific to your business, and I can see how the likes of Facebook would have little impact but when I needed a door repair it was those local A5 magazines that get posted each month, we currently have 3 on the go, I always keep a specific one each month as it has local trades be it Computers, plumbing etc, I used it when our double glazed back door got stuck! We no longer get a free paper so its the go to option, even more than the yellow pages/Thompson local. Even if you don't get one in your road it could be worth finding what's out there and see what they consider their range/readership is!

Dominic


Paul Venn is off-lineSilver Member
19 January 2014 06:23
jpv
Photographer
jpv
Location
United Kingdom
Norfolk
Norwich

Each small business is unique and other experience is only a prompt to make you think about yours.

So to get you thinking, are you perhaps under pricing your services? Yes people use price as an extremely important decision point but they also use value which is a totally different thing. Do you appear as an established successful company that will be around to “fix problems”, have done “lots” before. Sales and promotion cost money and your prices must include a substantial amount for this cost.

Existing customers are an invaluable source of feedback and a word of mouth recommendation is a priceless asset. If you have customers with a young family they mix with similar they can tell you about clubs and coffee mornings that can be targeted, perhaps a young mum would love a few hours work doing a leaflet drop. All her friend at the school gates might like to know likewise retired people.

Stores with free advert boards or paid ones are often a good source of leads.

Local tradesmen with different specialisations such as painting/decorating come across needs for your type of service frequently, are you their first port of call; do you offer an introductory commission?

Nothing in this thread might be relevant but you need to stimulate your imagination, talking regularly with people in similar businesses “over a pint” can often lead to new insights.

I hope I am misinterpreting you sales process outlined at 09:35 as indicating that one you have delivered a quote you do not have a follow up meeting. This follow up is your key objection handling and closing situation and key to your conversion rate (prospects to customers).




19 January 2014 08:50
ATVLONDON
Photographer


Well I'm going to do another leaflet drop in Dunmow next week so we'll see how it goes. A good point made by JPV is underpricing as it gives the impression one is not going to be professional. But I cannot charge £4000 for a door knowing I only paid £450 for it trade. I am just not out to fleece people. You are correct that I do not follow up potential leads once I've dropped the bait and given a quote. As I said this makes me look desperate and gives the impression that I am likely to haggle. In the repair business there is little room to haggle I am not selling £1000s of pounds worth of windows I am offering a repair service. Although it's quick turnover which is why I stick with it.
My doctor told me I've only got 6 months to live. Then I told him I couldn't pay him... so he gave me another 6 months.


redbaron is off-lineSilver Member
19 January 2014 11:25
redbaron
Photographer
redbaron
Location
United Kingdom
Buckinghamshire
Stoke Mandeville

Paul you need to put that misplaced pride aside for a while and re think your whole attitude. Following up quotes is not desperate it is normal professional behaviour. Checking some well chosen houses to ask if they recall receiving a leaflet is standard practise when paying someone to do it and a good way to get a bit of quick feedback on the leaflets effectiveness. They would not have paid any attention to who delivered it.

All you are displaying to customers currently is arrogance, a sense that you think you are doing them a favour in quoting and expect them to run round after you. It may be that the only thing separating yours from some other quote is a minor query that could have been dealt with in that quick courtesy call. Even if they have decided to go with another quote you can often glean useful information for the next time if you act gracefully. It could be that you lost not over price but because of some silly thing you could easily correct for example.

I get the distinct sense that you are doing all you can to avoid actually initiating contact with clients or prospective clients. You want them to contact you all the time rather than get out there and talk to people. You try to dress it up as not wanting to appear pushy or desperate but the truth I fear is you don't have the bottle. And I am speaking as someone who has been there and wasted a lot of time and good leads doing exactly that in the past.

People are not overwhelmingly hostile to 'cold' calling. I know. We make hundreds of them every year and rarely get more than a phone put down on us. Evenings are also the best time for them in turns of returns. Of course they are not random cold calls. The person has expressed an interest in some way, just not specifically to us.

The classic is the way most photographers insist on using online galleries for sales. It immediately half's your potential sale even if you get it right but they are just too frightened to do a face to face viewing.

You have to start talking more to people. Set up a stand in a shopping centre and accost as many people as possible. Send out letters to past customers with some sort of offer. Then phone up a week later to see if they are interested in taking it up. I know of a photographer whorecently got a £1,000 portrait sale for doing nothing more than handing his card to a pregnant mum sat at the next table in a cafe. No not me but I intend to start doing it.

Photography and Studio hire www.immortaleye.co.uk


19 January 2014 14:17
ATVLONDON
Photographer


Ok thanks for the comments everyone.  I'll take on board what you've said RB.  It isn't a case of me not having the bottle it is just that I like to deal with the public in the way I'd want to be dealt with.  I'm not the sort of guy who will spend hours in someones home and put my foot in the door when they ask me to leave, but I will certainly change to a more aggressive approach and see if that works out.  Me and the missus are going to drop another 1000 leaflets next week (I'm not doing more than a 1000 cos my knees hurt after the walk)  OK thanks all.
My doctor told me I've only got 6 months to live. Then I told him I couldn't pay him... so he gave me another 6 months.


redbaron is off-lineSilver Member
19 January 2014 17:30
redbaron
Photographer
redbaron
Location
United Kingdom
Buckinghamshire
Stoke Mandeville

It is a balance, I accept that and you will never get it exactly right as there will always be the odd person just looking for a chance to be offended. The more you do it though the easier it becomes to judge that line. In the end it is not about how you would want to be treated, it is assessing how best to treat the client or potential client. Don't assume just because you interpret something as being hassled or pressured others do. Learning to sell has been the hardest part for me. Particularly learning to believe in myself and my products.

There is nothing wrong with profit either so don't be afraid to make it. There is no point working for yourself and only earning what you would stacking shelves. You may as well stack shelves and not have the pressures of finding the next hours work.
Photography and Studio hire www.immortaleye.co.uk


20 January 2014 03:51
ATVLONDON
Photographer


Yes very well put. I'll see how it goes. Got 4 jobs come in since I started this thread. Should get about £600 from them so that'll be helpful.
My doctor told me I've only got 6 months to live. Then I told him I couldn't pay him... so he gave me another 6 months.



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