Call Your Former Clients, There Is Work Out There
My guess right now is that most remodelers need more leads for their sales departments to process and that many remodelers are sitting by the phone waiting for prospects to call with “Let’s do it” marching orders.
It also seems to me that the new-home market woes and the media’s reporting of them have successfully created the illusion that this is not a good time to invest in your home.
If your phone is not ringing like you want it to ― or need it to ― I suggest that you quit waiting for people to call you and, instead, call every one of your existing past clients to let them know that they are important.
This certainly isn’t a business approach I invented, but it's one I subscribe to religiously.
Just calling to say “Hello” is often enough of a contact to generate some work, and I suspect that most of the well-established companies that are members of the NAHB Remodelers have boatloads of former clients that they haven’t paid much attention to during the past several years.
I’m a big advocate of calling clients just to say “Hello.” About 70% of our work comes from repeat customers and referrals from our satisfied customers. That’s an impressive percentage, and one that should not be overlooked.
If your percentage is similar and you have a list of, say, 1,000 former clients, there is probably work out there than you can pursue.
Most people who have completed a remodeling project relatively recently are probably open to having more work done and, if you did any kind of respectable work for them the first time, they will not look elsewhere if you let them know that they are appreciated and important.
Even if you come across a less-than-happy former client, you might have an opportunity to make something right ― and probably pretty inexpensively at that.
So, set aside time each day to call three or four former clients. Call to say hello, let them know how much you appreciated working for them and ask about how they are enjoying the project you did.
I can almost guarantee this approach will create some work even if the jobs are small or, heaven forbid, you end up doing warranty work. This works especially well when your sales and customer service staff people are trained to look for new work when contacting former clients in person or on the phone.
The cost of generating these types of leads is pretty inexpensive ― and you will probably find yourself preparing estimates for work without having to contend with competition.
Not only that, most of your former clients understand that you have enhanced the value of their home.
So, go for it, make a plan to contact all your former clients. Instead of waiting for the phone to ring, make it ring on the other end. I know this approach works. It has saved our backside a couple of times.
Bob Peterson, CGR, CAPS, is president of ABD Design/Build in Fort Collins, Colo. He is the chairman of the Certified Graduate Remodelor Board of Governors and was the NAHB Remodelers’ 2007 Remodeler of the Year. For more information, e-mail Peterson, or visit the ABD Design/Build Web site.
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