Dig Into Your Numbers And You Just Might Find Some Gold Nuggets
Don’t Be Afraid To Question Your Assumptions
& Double Check Your Numbers.
Have you ever walked into your closet to find something, searched high and low, and couldn’t find it… only to have your spouse walk in, grab it off the shelf right in front of your face, and hand it to you?
Of course you have.
It must be a human frailty. Sometimes it’s nearly impossible to see stuff that’s right in front of your face.
Funny thing—this happens all the time to remodeling contractors in their marketing.
I recently began working with two new clients on their marketing; one is a huge HVAC company and the other is a large kitchen & bath remodeling company. Both of them are outstanding companies that are run by extremely talented people. Both have robust marketing plans that are funded by sizable marketing & advertising budgets.
And in both cases, I was able to uncover some pretty major inefficiencies just by asking the right questions… and knowing how to dig into the numbers.
Let me tell you a couple of stories:
Instead of Complaining When Marketing Doesn’t Work, Find A Solution!
Who’s Fault Is It When Your Marketing Doesn’t Work?
You Still Probably Won’t Like The Answer.
By Rich Harshaw
Last week I told you how my wife hates losing her car keys, and how it’s human nature to blame others when we make mistakes. I covered five marketing mistakes, and the true source of the problems.
Today we continue with five more contractor marketing mistakes… and where to look to solve them (spoiler: the mirror).
What You Think Went Wrong: (New Marketing Idea) Is Too Hard To Execute (or Won’t Work)
The Truth: You’re Too Lazy
Explanation: Immutable law in life: everyone, including you, will always try to take the path of least resistance. Okay, maybe not EVERY single time, but darn near it. And that’s a shame in construction marketing because a lot of the things that will probably work the best for you are a little bit off the beaten path. Which is good because that means your competitors probably won’t be trying these things.
One of my clients sells sunrooms, and his most successful marketing activity is holding “sunroom tours” where he gathers 100 prospects, divides them into groups of four or five, and then has employees guide them on a tour of several of his customers’ homes for snacks, drinks, and a chance to see his handiwork. The tours take a tremendous amount of preparation—cleaning the sunrooms, arranging the food & beverages, organizing a starting place, using marketing to find the 100 people, etc. But it always works to bring in twenty-five to forty appointments and a high closing ratio. Guess how many other sunroom companies I’ve worked with (and there are a lot) who are willing to put that kind of effort into a tour? Yea, zero. It’s too hard, and it won’t work anyway, they tell me.
Here’s A Story Of A Puny, Rebel Marketing Force That Takes Down An Empire.
A Strategic Plan For A Little Start-Up Donut Shop To Take Down Krispy Kreme.
And Hope For Little Guys Everywhere.
By Rich Harshaw
Note: This article is part of MYM’s ongoing “Outside The Box” series, which feature ideas, strategies, and case studies from OUTSIDE contractor marketing, with suggestions of how to implement those ideas into your business.
Nothing brings joy to a Saturday morning in the Harshaw household more than a couple dozen Krispy Kreme donuts—fresh, hot, and ready to dunk in a cup of cold milk. My six locust-wannabe children can devour two dozen in approximately thirteen seconds—sprinkles and all.
So one Saturday morning when my oldest daughter reminded me she had to be at school for a band competition at 8:30, it was a perfect chance to make a run. My oldest son jumped at the chance to come with me and get the hottest of the hot right after they go through that glaze waterfall thingy. There’s nothing like father-son bonding at 240 calories and eight grams of fat per donut. Homer would be proud.
After we hastily dispatched of the flute player (more for the rest of us!), it was on to donut Shangri La. As we turned right onto Highway 26, my donut radar efficiently picked out a daring new player in the local donut scene. A new shop bearing the generic white letter sign “DONUTS” was a dead giveaway that this was a Korean-owned store. And judging by the parking lot, they weren’t experiencing the typical traffic control problems associated with Krispy Kreme grand openings. In fact, there wasn’t a single car in the lot.
My son was already locked and loaded: “Dad—check it out! A new donut shop! Let’s go there instead of Krispy Kreme. I hate Krispy Kreme. We always go to Krispy Kreme. I like the big donuts from the little shops better.”
The glaze waterfall thingy would have to wait for another day. The Koreans had just won a new customer.
No small feat considering that at approximately three miles from my house, this was the ONLY locally-owned shop in existence. Krispy Kreme had decimated the rest when they opened their mega store three or four years prior.
As we walked in, I was not surprised to see that indeed, this was a Korean shop. “Just opened?” I inquired as I approached the eager employee standing behind the counter ready to serve what appeared to be an endless and yet-untouched supply of donuts. “Three weeks open now,” came the broken-English reply. Amazing—three weeks and already the place had the look and feel of a crusty little donut shop that had been there twenty-five years.
It wasn’t dirty—but there was absolutely nothing remarkable in the entire place. The walls were all painted pale yellow, and on the left wall was the standard-issue donut shop drink cooler with sliding glass doors and an assortment of juices, milks, and energy drinks. Just past the cooler was the huge Jesus picture—the one that’s always there in these kinds of shops, unless they have the more traditional Buddha-type statues. Just below that was the seventeen-year old CD boombox playing random light rock hits from the 80s. The back wall featured a bulletin board where you could leave your business card, which caused me to think—do you really want to hire an accountant, plumber, or personal trainer you found on the bulletin board at the donut shop? A half-dozen of those flimsy little donut shop tables and chairs were in the middle of the shop for those who preferred to dine on their donuts while reading the Korean newspaper that was conveniently available. The glass cases under the counter featured a wide assortment of nice looking donuts—plus those creepy hot dog things wrapped in a bun that I’ve never really seen anyone buy.
Six dollars a dozen was the asking price on the menu board above the clerk’s head—it was the generic kind with lines on it that you can stick letters on to form whatever words and prices you want. Fancies and cream-filled would cost extra—but for regular old donuts, their price was a full dollar less than the Evil Empire was charging less than a mile down the road.
We bought my standard cache—a dozen glazed and a dozen chocolate sprinkles—plus three chocolate milks for the kiddos back home. Then, to my surprise, the lady threw in a dozen donut holes for free—a nice touch. We got out of there for just under seventeen bucks. Not too shabby.
As we drove home I couldn’t help but think that this brave little startup was doomed to be crushed by the venerable Krispy Kreme—it was only a matter of time. But it didn’t have to be this way! A savvy marketing Korean shop could take a substantial chunk out of KK’s hide if they would just employ a few simple strategies. Four strategies to be precise—detailed here for you reading pleasure, so you may be able to use them in your construction, plumber, or HVAC marketing efforts. Think of me as the holographic Princess Leah R2-D2 kept showing Luke in the original Star Wars.
Citizens, we have a plan to destroy the Evil Empire.
People are primed and ready to buy home improvements when they move into a new house. Are you ready to grab your share of the business?
New Move-Ins Spend Tons Of Money On Remodeling Services…
How To Get Your Share Of The Pie.
By Rich Harshaw
“Because that’s where the money is.”
That’s the famous answer prolific bank robber Willie Sutton gave when asked why he robbed banks.
Then, he added, “It couldn’t be more obvious. Go where the money is, and go there often.”
When it comes to direct mail marketing for contractors, it’s pretty obvious where the money is: NEW MOVE-INS.
Just look at the data. According to Scarborough report released in 2012, new homeowners are more likely than established homeowners (those who have lived in their home for over three years) to spend on the following items for their new home:
- 53% more likely to repair or replace flooring
- 47% more likely to add or replace heating and cooling systems
- 47% more likely to have the interior of their home painted
- 45% more likely to remodel the home’s kitchen
- 34% more likely to replace siding
- 33% more likely to add on to the home
- 32% more likely to remodel the bathroom
- 29% more likely to replace windows
- 24% more likely to upgrade the home’s exterior
- 14% more likely to repair or replace the roof
It only makes sense, right? When people buy an existing home, they’re not always going to be crazy about the condition, the colors, the design, or the look. That’s when the checkbook comes out and the spending starts.
And that’s where you come in.