• To Acquire Maintenance Agreements, Market for Tune-ups

    Aug. 1, 2006
    What if someone tried to convince you to become a loyal customer before you were even a customer? Imagine how unpersuasive a headline like this would

    What if someone tried to convince you to become a loyal customer before you were even a customer? Imagine how unpersuasive a headline like this would be: “Become a Loyal Customer, and We’ll Take Good Care of You.” It’d make you sound like the kind of company folks don’t want to do business with at all.

    Essentially, this is why it isn’t effective to market maintenance agreements to the general public. These people aren’t even your customers yet. How could you possibly sell them on a program that requires a commitment to you?

    A more effective strategy is to bring in customers by marketing tune-ups and then wow them with your top-notch service. At the point of presenting the invoice, you demonstrate how they can save big with a regular maintenance agreement.

    If they see the light, you both win. Once your customers sign up for a maintenance agreement, they can count on regular tune-ups, which usually lead to longer equipment life. Plus, they get other benefits such as priority emergency service, and discounts on parts.

    And you can count on going to their home twice a year to perform routine maintenance and possibly find an upgrade opportunity. The best part for you is that the semi-annual tune-ups are performed during a season when lots of HVAC companies are begging the phone to ring.

    Whatever you do, don’t let anyone tell you that marketing for maintenance agreements works as well as a face-to-face when the customer is getting the bill for the tune-up. That’s when the benefits get their full attention. Market for tune-ups to the public then the maintenance agreements. You’ll do much better.

    To Market Tune Ups:
    • Put a tune-up ad in your customer newsletter — or at the very least, print a story about it. Your customers need to be educated about the importance of tune-ups.
    • Put an ad in your newspaper that screams benefits loud and clear. You’ll get calls if you word it right.
    • Send a powerful postcard to your demand customer base or in an area you want to work. Follow-up with a phone call. If they don’t want it, that’s fine. No pressure, please.

    At this time of the year — when business slows to a snail’s pace — the way to bring in new customers is with tune-ups, so make sure they’re a part of your marketing strategy this season. And once you get those calls, turn your tune-up customers into maintenance agreement customers.

    Just remember, a call for a tune-up on a slow day can be a blessing. Converting that call to a maintenance agreement customer can be a year-after-year bonanza.

    Adams Hudson is president of Hudson, Ink, a creative marketing firm for contractors. To get the free, 12-page booklet “How To Convert Every Service Call to a Maintenance Agreement” fax your letterhead with the request to 334/262-1115 or visit www.hudsonink.com for other free marketing articles and reports.