This time last year I shared with you a few low-cost and no-cost customer loyalty programs that work. Here are a few more.
Join business networking groups like the Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis, and Rotary. Don't join just to pass out business cards. Get involved. Help plan and staff events.
Be advised that Rotary actually requires you to regularly participate in their luncheon meetings. There's always a presentation, and they need to fill those slots. Do presentations on Indoor Air Quality, Energy Savings, Total Home Comfort, and ways to make your existing system run better, provide more comfort, and last longer. It will take you a couple of hours to put together your presentation, but it's totally free advertising.
Support Local Sports TeamsThis is one of the best ways to promote your business. Simply sponsoring local teams helps, but nothing helps like actually helping. Get involved. Volunteer. Meet people. Almost everyone has some kind of question or issue with their home
Let's not leave out professional sports teams. I know a very successful contractor whose sole advertising budget is getting his name plastered all over the arena of a major league team. If that's all you're spending your money on, it's affordable.
Discount Coupons on Service Calls
"Free Service Call" coupon with no expiration date. You're not wasting your time or resources running this "free call". Anyone who uses this coupon obviously has a problem and wants it fixed.
If you're like a lot of companies, you waive the service call fee when they buy a repair anyway. Besides, you're not giving anything away anyway. Your service call fee should be incorporated into the price of the primary repair. Telling people who call to ask "How much is a service call?" that you waiving the service call fee when they buy a repair makes it easier to book people. You want to book every single one of them because they wouldn't be calling your shop if they didn't have a problem that needs to be fixed.
By the way, let them keep the coupon. They can use it as many times they like, and you want them to use it. In fact, they can "loan" it to a friend. BAM! You just got a new customer for the price of a service call fee that you were probably going to waive anyway.
"Existing Customers Only"
Don't you hate it when a business that you've been patronizing for years, and have spent a lot of money with them, offer a sweetheart deal to "New Customers Only"?
How about running a promotion for "Existing Customers Only"?
What could be better, cheaper advertising than to have hundreds, may even thousands of people walking around wearing your company's advertising. People seeing your company name and logo everywhere they go creates top-of-mind awareness for a very low cost.
To avoid someone wearing the company shirt and posing as an employee, include "Loyal Customer" with your logo.
I worked for a company where, if you were quoting a system replacement and they gave you the old, "We're 99% certain we're going to buy from you. We just don't make decisions on the first night," you could give them a high quality logoed polo shirt if they could make up their minds on-the-spot. It often was just the little incentive required to get a faster decision. A little secret was that I'd give them the polo, hat, or whatever, whether they made up their minds or not. I wanted them wearing that stuff around.
Don't worry about someone wearing your attire and posing as an employee. Things like that don't happen very often. What you can do to prevent that is to have a ribbon under your logo with "Loyal Customer" on it.
Of course, there are smaller, less expensive promotional items you can give away that work well. My personal favorites are pot holders, grocery shopping lists, and refrigerator magnets.
Send ConsumablesA lot of companies send flowers or cookies to customers who purchase a system the day after they sign the paperwork. You can handle this yourself, but that does take time. There are a number of companies that cater specifically to HVAC
Charlie Greer was voted Favorite Industry Sales Trainer and HVAC Consultant-of-the-Year. He's also a member of the Contracting Business Hall of Fame. For info on Charlie's services, go to www.hvacprofitboosters.com. Email your comments on this column or your sales questions to [email protected].