Marketing Makeover Machine Revealed

Sept. 1, 2007
By Adams Hudson

Part 3 of a 3-Part HVAC Comfortech Advance Training Curriculum

So far, you've been lucky. In the last two issues of CB, you've gotten to see how easily Jeff Lee converted leads to sales, helping his "new" HVAC company zoom from $0 to $3.24 million in sales - in record time (CB July and August 2007).

The purpose of this three-part series was so you could use Jeff's techniques right away - like the same day - to get more sales during your busy summer than you had before. For those who have, you're now ready to implement the marketing strategies that helped Jeff generate astounding numbers.

First off, do NOT confuse Jeff's success with anything other than his initiative. I'm paid to give advice, create ad programs, and monitor results. However, I don't travel to contractors and stick them with a hot needle until they actually do what is advised. Jeff did the work and deserves the credit. To be honest, he came up with scores of creative new ideas (his publicity program for example) and implemented all of them, most while I was sleeping.

With that out of the way, I'll just let Jeff tell his story here and at HVAC Comfortech 2007 in St. Louis, September 26-29.

How Did Jeff Clobber His Competition?
"Impatience!" he laughs. "While competitors were wondering if, or how or what ad to run, we were already way past that point. But from my earlier job, I knew what worked — so our Yellow Pages ad was different, same with our

newspaper ads, our direct mail was in their face, and all of it was consistently attention grabbing."

Jeff continues, "We'd see a competitor try something, then they'd wait, wonder, analyze, and maybe try a little more. We just went for it."

His focus was on four areas, which included:

1. Acquisition - "Much as I hate to admit it, we needed the Yellow Pages to get the word out. So we put in a very different ad, solely for lead generation. The first year's ad was a test. It did so well, we increased the size. Yet we always planned to scale back Yellow Pages costs as our other marketing took over. Which is exactly what happened.

"Direct Mail is usually poorly done by contractors, but we had an assortment of secret weapons. Choosing the right list took longer than choosing the right letter or postcard. This medium has performed well for us, and I'm on a program now that includes about six mail pieces per year, all pre-selected.

"Our best one is a ‘Trade In' letter, which is how we structure our manufacturer rebates, just to be different from everyone else. Over the years, we've gotten more than $2 million in sales from this letter alone. I use it twice a year.

"Newspaper has been good for acquisition marketing too, even though I hear contractors complain about it. Maybe it's their ads or targeting, I don't know. We use low-cost, targeted inserts, on specific days, in specific sections. Doing this not only generates our lowest cost per lead, but it helps us ‘cluster' leads to cut travel times.

2. Retention - "This was another area where my competition was weak. As our leads and customer list grew, I wasn't about to take a chance of losing them. We send a thank you card to every customer. I figure a stamp isn't too much to send. For installs, we call to make sure we didn't leave a mess, and that the thermostat was programmed. It's little stuff that people appreciate. Afterward, all customers get a polite referral request.

"We send a newsletter too, which is another program we use with great results. I'm very busy and don't have time to do all this. It just runs on schedule. I prefer coming up with ideas to make our business better.

"One piece I was proud of was called ‘Handshake through the Mail' which was an idea I presented to Adams that he surprisingly liked! This goes to all of prospects who agree to a system, but since installation can sometimes run 10 days behind, I used to lose about one-ineight deals. Now I send this postcard to them and haven't lost one since (This will be shown at HVAC Comfortech 2007 in St. Louis).

3. Credibility - "As mentioned in the article on ‘Presentations' (CB August 2007, pg. 157), you can't have too much credibility! To me, credibility and sales success are the same thing. Be consistent, since people often choose companies based on who they've ‘heard of.'

"Sounds odd at first, but the more I thought of it - and the more I heard my wife use that phrase - I was a believer.

"We ran small ads in the newspaper all year at a very low cost, which amazingly also generated leads. Adams hates billboards, but we ran them anyway and did pretty well. We sent in press releases every month, hoping to get printed. Since so few contractors do this, we stood out and it worked. That eventually turned into the biggest marketing score of my life.

"I was ‘invited' to give a two-minute video on our nightly television news. There is no way to explain the impact this has made for our company. It's like all the other marketing elements added up to this.

Then I realized something: Sometimes we do marketing, thinking it's for ourselves. But, after all the leads we generated, all the sales, installs, service appointments, and even the press releases, we were actually marketing for our community. It was like a bigger goal became clear for us.

"These two-minute news segments allowed us to reach more people, help more, do more than ever before. I put those segments on our website, which generated even more traffic than we had. Amazingly, what started as a ‘gift' to others, became our best marketing ever. It just fit.

4. Helping Others - "Adams kept sending me articles about the ‘New Philanthropy' and ‘Business with a Heart.' Then the opportunity presented itself where we could actually befriend the community. So we did it. (Note: See video clip at

"The phone just rang off the wall. "The business generated paid for that many times over. Plus, anyone could do this. Now we seek out ways to help. Funny, as our business served a bigger purpose, the business grew bigger. It's amazing. I'll tell more about this at Comfortech too."

Fittingly, Jeff's steps above are the ARCH marketing method - acquisition, retention,

credibility, helping others - which should be easy to remember with Comfortech's location in St. Louis, home of the world famous arch.

Let the ARCH marketing method become your gateway to success too.

Adams Hudson is president of Hudson Ink, a contractor marketing firm. He'll be conducting a marketing seminar at HVAC Comfortech 2007 on September 26-29 in St. Louis. His company offers turn-key marketing solutions for contractors for lead generation, image, branding, publishes newsletters and offers Monthly Marketing Coaching. Call 800/489-9099, fax to 334/262-1115, or visit www. for additional information.

Free This Month:

  1. get a report on the ARCH marketing method that shows details on how to implement this in your business.
  2. get a copy of a teleseminar audio CD from Jeff and adams, covering some finer points on what worked, what didn't, and how you can copy the steps.
  3. get a copy of Parts 1 and 2 of the Marketing Makeover.

Simply fax a request on your letterhead to 334/262-1115 to receive the items above.