Marketing your business.

Marketing your business.

28 posts
18 Jan 2014
ATVLONDON
Photographer
ATVLONDON
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.

Posted 19 Jan 2014
redbaron
Photographer
redbaron
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.



Posted 19 Jan 2014
ATVLONDON
Photographer
ATVLONDON
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.

Posted 19 Jan 2014
redbaron
Photographer
redbaron
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.

Posted 19 Jan 2014
ATVLONDON
Photographer
ATVLONDON
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.

Posted 20 Jan 2014
Hi
I am just up the road from you and have worked the area that you are located in and what I have suggested worked for me for over eight years.
Two more suggestions that work.
I was walking down a street and saw a young lady washing a car, soap suds every ware, I teased by putting up my camera feigned taking a shoot, asked if I could take a better picture and she agreed, took two prints down to her two days late with my details on back, nine months later I got a call asking me to do her mothers wedding, paid handsomely as she married a Lebanese businessman.
Plus sow some seeds, my brother is well known in the boxing fraternity and regularly goes to professional gyms and shoots images of all the boxers and family's that are there, hands out copyrighted images.
Only insisting that they use his images on any promotional posters = income. and the boxers know him and his work. he regularly sees his work when these people give interviews from there home.
Go out and sell yourself and you will get your rewards.
Another thing that has just crossed my mind thinking of the security your customer has, as they already know what the workman looks and acts like before they let you in to do the work.
Posted 20 Jan 2014
Edited by theperfectgentleman 20 Jan 2014
redbaron
Photographer
redbaron
theperfectgentleman

Hi
I am just up the road from you and have worked the area that you are located in and what I have suggested worked for me for over eight years.
Two more suggestions that work.
I was walking down a street and saw a young lady washing a car, soap suds every ware, I teased by putting up my camera feigned taking a shoot, asked if I could take a better picture and she agreed, took two prints down to her two days late with my details on back, nine months later I got a call asking me to do her mothers wedding, paid handsomely as she married a Lebanese businessman.
Plus sow some seeds, my brother is well known in the boxing fraternity and regularly goes to professional gyms and shoots images of all the boxers and family's that are there, hands out copyrighted images.
Only insisting that they use his images on any promotional posters = income. and the boxers know him and his work. he regularly sees his work when these people give interviews from there home.
Go out and sell yourself and you will get your rewards.
Another thing that has just crossed my mind thinking of the security your customer has, as they already know what the workman looks and acts like before they let you in to do the work.


Not going to work selling replacement glazing units though! At least read the OP before commentingsurprise

Posted 20 Jan 2014
VinceM
Photographer
VinceM
A few thoughts from me Firstly, have you tried business to business sales? There must be 1000s of businesses with glass frontages and office blocks with windows that would be looking for repairs? Also, you mentioned that people don't want to deal with a "small one man outfit" well the simply fix here is don't give the illusion that you are one. A few simple steps can transform the look and feel of a business... 1) Use a proper phone number (I would use a voip service where you can get region specific numbers or even lowcall numbers like 0845 etc.) OR, You can even use a 3rd party secretary service like myruby.co.uk which will give the appearance of size... Imagine this "hello its jim" or "Good morning Jim Glazer Window Repairs, how can I help? Oh I'm very sorry but there's no one available to take your call at the moment, let me take some details are I will get someone to call you back whenever convenient to you" 2) Use a proper email address / website. I see so many builders and tradesmen have xyz@hotmail.com written on their vans or xys.freesite.com or whatever. Whilst I can't imagine anyone emailing you for a quote, its always best to maintain the illusion of total professionalism. 3) Use a designer. You can get kids on college courses who will do it for next to nothing. But if you are serious about your business, make it look good. Don't try and build your own website and don't try and give yourself a branding overhaul. Marketing managers at big companies outsource to the experts. A college undergraduate doing a graphic design course could knock you up a fantastic logo and identity for a few cases of beer and £50 if they can use it then portfoio. You can get them to design the flyers and magazine adverts. 4) Do something newsworthy (by that I mean business related, not murder or armed robbery!). Get in your local paper. Use your knowledge and get someone to help with a press release. Even a small headline in your local business section will help generate discussion… Also try and make yourself known as the "go to" man and become the expert in your field. Journalists are always looking for professional opinion when writing articles, get on their list. Imagine this... "XYZ building has XXXXXX tonnes of glass or whatever and the architects believe it will last for the next 55 years" but local expert Jim Glazer of Jim Glazers Window Repairs, suggested that “ongoing maintenance will be the main issue” and that “At 200 floors high, the windows will be subjected to high winds, making them more susceptible to damages”…. Etc 5) Join a business group. Every town and city has them. Ok so they are usually full of pretentious business owners who lap up the networking breakfasts and after hours lectures and events etc. But it’s still unsurprisingly how a lot of business is still done. The only thing to remember is that you are not selling your business to them but merely planting the seed and spreading the word that you exist. You could talk to Mr Big a local bank manager who next week plays golf with Mr Bungalow who is renovating some properties he bought at auction. “Ahh says Mr Big, I know a man who could probably help you out with your doors and windows…” Seriously. That is how a lot of business is won, through word of mouth. 6) Read a book. Go to the library. There are lots of self help business books that can tell you how to do small things to transform your business. Togs are a friendly lot and, as you’ve seen with all the response, we are happy to help. But there’s a lot you can do for yourself, at zero cost, if you just invest some time. 7) Hire a business consultant. An independent set of eyes looking at your business might help you see straight. Ok so they are not cheap (A typical day rate is £250) but you’ll end up with an impartial, professional view and some good ideas on where to take the business. Anyway, that my 800 words or so of advice… for free. Be good if you let us know how you get on in a months time or so. There’s been some good advice (particularly advertising in the journals that come through peoples doors etc) and I hope if you take it, that you’ll see the positive effect on your business. On a side note, if you know of anyone looking for a marketing consultant…….
Posted 20 Jan 2014
redbaron

Not going to work selling replacement glazing units though! At least read the OP before commentingsurprise


Would you like another saucer of milk?
Every order that I sold in the years that I was in the industry is a prospective customer to the OP.
Have just read the post and the trade mentioned was double glazing repairs so replacement sealed units could be part of the service offered.
SOFI comes to mind.


Posted 20 Jan 2014
Edited by theperfectgentleman 20 Jan 2014
ATVLONDON
Photographer
ATVLONDON
Vince everything you have suggested is beyond my budget, I do not have the funds for all those marketing consultants. Also I cannot do office blocks and shop fronts as I am a one man business working on a small budget. Shop fronts require more manpower and big vans and I just don't want to go down that route. I'm sticking with the leafleting for the moment and possibly the local magazine route. As for not building my own website - WHY? [removed as requested]

Posted 20 Jan 2014
Edited by Chosin 20 Jan 2014
VinceM
Photographer
VinceM
The marketing consultant route is expensive, thats why I offered you lots of cheap and free options A new tel number is free - you can set them up to forward on to your mobile if you wanted. Check out sipgate.co.uk MyRuby - is actually quite cheap. You only pay for the calls that are answered. Often better to get someone to answer a call than to let it go to voicemail if you are "on a job" - looks more professional. Anyway, I thought the thread was about wanting more business...?? You seem to be stuck in a rut saying that you are a "one man business working on a small budget" So I was giving you ideas on how to change this. By giving the impression of scale and professionalism to attract new customers. I wasnt suggesting you pay lots of money for a web design company. Anyone can knock together a half decent looking site using preset templates like you've done off www.coffeecup.com I was merely suggesting that if you get someone more design led to lend a hand, it can change you from being a "one man" and very personal style of site to a more professional and business looking site. I mean a simple logo can go a long way to transforming your business image. I was only trying to help... Further critique of your website... In no particular order: All the links at the bottom of the homepage are missing Why have such a large font saying last updated? Is this really important to a potential customer? Looks quite amateur (a bit like how having a counter on your website is so 199 Why have negatives such as "unfortunately I don't offer a 24hr service on locks..." on your homepage. Sell what you do! “ I can replace locks in 48hrs or your money back” or similar. Don’t tell people what you don’t do. Remember my advice on networking… maybe YOU don’t do 24hr callout, but maybe you know a competent locksmith who does!?! Perhaps you can send him some emergency customers and he can reciprocate by recommending you as the glazing expert. Your map excludes the major conurbation of Cambridge. Surly this would be rich pickings for your services? Your email address is @AOL.co.uk not at atvlondon.net which is more professional. Your entire website is in the single person “I” if you rewrote it as “We” it would give scale even if the only other person who works for you is a wife/girlfriend/friend or whatever once ever decade. The photo and About me section is irrelevant. No one needs to see what you look like and it may put off potential customers, especially those who would expect you to look like a smart tradesman not posing with a vintage car. Anyways, those were my thoughts. Its not a personal attack on your website, just observation and some of the reasons why its not always best to do it yourself.
Posted 20 Jan 2014
ATVLONDON
Photographer
ATVLONDON
OK

Posted 20 Jan 2014
iestyn
Photographer
iestyn
In any business but especially a small business without a huge marketing budget reccomendation is your best and cheapest form of advertising, make sure you thrust several business cards at every customer to pass amongst their friends. Then do some self reccomendations, knock every house in the street telling them your working at No 30 of their street for Mrs Bloggs and do they need any work? if so you can do them a quick free quote or if they aren`t in leave a leaflet with a note attached `Just been doing some work for Mrs Bloggs at No 30 if you need any repairs call me`. Recco`s are great but you still have to work for them.

An advantage you have over many other businesses is that by taking a walk down any road you can see half of the windows/doors that may need attention (prob best not to go garden hopping to see the windows at the back as you may get arrested as a peeping tom!). With your trained eye i`m sure you can see blown panels or even poorly fitting windows from the pavement, go and offer them a quote! I`m sure many people think it`ll cost them many hundreds for a whole new window rather than a fraction of that for a new fitted panel or minor repair. They don`t know how little the repair could cost, it`s your job to inform them if you want the work. A friend of mine used to sell loft inulation and always loved the snow, obviously the snow melted on the non insulated houses first so he would knock their doors. You have that advantage all year round.

Certainly follow up every quote you give and even if you don`t get the work ask the customer why they gave it to a competitor? it`s not cheeky to ask and you may find a common theme that you could address in your business to get those jobs in the future.

You`ve been given alot of good advise on this thread so hopefully you`ll take some aboard and make a great success of your business. Good luck.

Posted 20 Jan 2014
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