I have been working a small business in the carpet cleaning business for over 20 decades. I recall a time before the internet. Back then, marketing your laminated architectural timbers company or freelance graphic designer business was much easier. The YellowPages was a small business owners best friend. A very small ad for your service was sufficient to bring a flow of steady clients for the whole year and beyond. All on a budget of a couple hundred dollars. But as the famous Bob Dylan song goes… oh how the times are changing. In reality, the times have already changed and they will never be the same again.
The proliferation of the net brought with it new advertising channels and new opportunities. For a while things got even better as customers flocked online before many small business owners needed time to adapt. The internet version of YellowPages and Google Adwords gave us first movers a flood of new clients for pennies on the dollar. But over the years profits eroded, competition caught up and things have become much tougher. In the spirit of authentic Aussie innovation new technology platforms are created to help resolve the issue. Lately the most common of them has been online quoting websites used by slab crane hire companies and other local businesses.
These sites allow customers searching for tradies to get free quotes from multiple sources. A customer simply must logon, fill out their occupation information and wait. The platform sends off those details to a couple of tradies that are prepared to pay top dollar for the right to estimate the customer. Of all of these platforms, the most popular ones are OneFlare, Service Seeking and HiPages. These websites are great for customers because it saves them time in obtaining quotes from various companies, whose services vary from gas installations and fixing burst pipes to only solar-powered electricity services. For small business owners such as myself they are also amazing. They supply a marketing channel that we can use to further grow our companies.
But it’s not as easy as it seems… Receiving the clients details is just the first stage in the struggle to obtain more business. You see, at precisely the exact same time as you have obtained the lead, these details also have gone to at least two other companies. They are just as hungry as you are for the excess revenue that a client can bring. How can you stick out from the crowd and make sure you beat the competition? During the past few years my staff and I have become experts at this. We have developed a few methods that will let you take complete advantage of quoting sites. Ensuring you can nab more clients and grow your business.
Find below my seven tips to closing more leads through quoting sites:
Make Contact With The Client ASAP
This one seems so obvious that it is almost silly to mention. I’m amazed how many times a customer tells me I am the only company to call back once they’ve submitted their details. You should call the client once you get the lead. Like, immediately! These sites act fast and whenever the customer hits ‘Send’, their system will broadcast the details to companies. That means when you receive the BEEP in your phone there is a good chance that the customer is sitting at their computer considering a low loader hire from your business! Or they’re sitting there contemplating buying your paint job and interior design services! Catching the customer within this mindset means you will have a high likelihood of them remembering you and winning the quotation. Additionally, it shows you’re efficient and eager for the small business. Those two things go a long way.
I get it! In the modern technological world an email is the simple answer. However, it is also the lazy mans way of doing business. A telephone call is a far better way to market. It creates an emotional connection with the customer and shows you’re seriously interested in their job. The one exception might be if they have specifically asked you to email rather than call. Then and only then would I say an email is OK.
Follow Up The Next Day
If you have contacted the client quickly and through telephone then you’re already halfway to winning the job. By this stage you should have already given them a cost verbally or delivered them a quotation via email. The hard work is already done. It is time to give the client a small push. Give them a call the very next day to follow up. Ask them if they need any clarification regarding your quotation (such as what kind of products like engineered timber you use or what it even is in the first place) or additional assistance. I also like to ask a leading question such as, ‘So when can we come around and find those rugs cleaned for you?’ Provided that it is lively and not pushy they will have difficulty saying no. Nobody likes to disappoint a friendly individual.
Keep Your Website Up To Date
This is one I learnt the hard way. 1 day, after finishing all the above measures a customer made a remark; ‘I thought you could have been from business, your website has not been updated in over a year’. She was speaking about my commercial plumbing services company blog and she was dead right. The latest article was over 12 months old! That conversation taught me a valuable lesson. When you have made your initial impression on the phone, many clients will do additional research. Ensure that your site looks professional, is well designed and current.
Invite Reviews For Existing Clients
Now more than ever clients are using online reviews to help in their buying decisions. As with your site they may conduct independent research around your business to be certain that you are on the up and up. That is why it’s important to maintain your online reviews appearing squeaky clean, particularly on Google and Facebook. If your testimonials are sub-par (under 4 stars) or you do not have any reviews at all then it is time to get cracking.
Get in touch with some happy customers and ask them if they would mind leaving a review. If you have hand picked them this will not be difficult. In exchange you may offer them a discount coupon or promotional offer. I make certain you tell them to be entirely honest. Again, if you have hand picked them and picked the proper clients a flood of 5 star reviews should come your way.