Text BoxGrow your Business and Income
This document is for you if you want to increase the effectiveness of you marketing and sales efforts, which in turn will grow your income, without spending bucketloads of money on advertising!
Some of the tips may seem blindingly obvious, if you are already applying them, well done, you are better than most. Even if you are, take a moment to review and see if you can improve upon what you do. This is the magic of incremental improvement, so often used in elite sport and increasingly in business, making small improvements across a range of aspects of your business which delivers an exponential increase in your sales and income.
The Power of Marginal Gains Example:
If you increase the number of leads you get per week by just 1, and then get 5% better at contacting, quoting, and winning the business, you could increase your income by 25% +
Apply that to your income, for example if you are making £50k pa, you could make an extra £1000 per month, £12,000 per year, not too shabby!
So here we go with the tips. These can all be implemented by you, for little or no cost. Where there Is a cost, think of it as an investment with a £12,000 return. Any areas you need help with, get in touch, we can help.
Let’s start with your customers and the way they see you.
There is an old saying “You only get one chance to make a first impression. Research has shown that this can happen as fast as 1/10th of a second. There are steps you can take to make sure you project a positive image to your prospective customers and maximise your chances of winning their business.
You can start to influence people before you even meet them, with your online image. This includes any social media you use for business purposes, your website (if you have one) and your email address. Let’s take them in turn.
Social, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and twitter, all great tools for keeping in touch with your mates and showcasing your work. The problem here is mixing the two, personal and business, is risky. A joke shared with a close friend may not be appropriate for viewing by your prospective customers, in the worst case putting them off before you have a chance to connect with them. A prospective customer wants to get to pictures of your work, without having to scroll through your holiday snaps.
Tip Number 1 – Set up Business Social Accounts and give your Website a Make-Over
Text BoxThe answer is to keep it separate. Set up accounts for work for each service and. You can invite your current followers to follow the new page. Even if they don’t immediately, if you ask 3 times, over a period of weeks, most will do so.
Also worth considering is a professional looking website. It need not be complex, just clean, with the following clearly stated and shown where appropriate:
A clear headline, NOT your company name but what you do for your best customers/the customer you want to attract. This is critical. If you need more detail, please get in touch.
What you do – Short description worded to appeal to your target market, the people for whom you generally work.
If you guarantee your work, make this clear, it gives people peace of mind and projects confidence
A picture gallery with professional photographs of your work – before and after can sometimes work well shots if relevant. If these can be accompanied by short, testimonials, in quotation marks, even better – example:
“The patio looks fantastic, Darren did a great job, left everything clean and tidy, finished on budget on time”
Contact details – Phone number which will be answered, email etc.
All the above should be visible without scrolling, so when looking at your company logo/brand avoid this taking up too much of your selling space on the page. Of course, you are proud of your logo, but remember, it’s your skill you are selling
Tip Number 2 – Set up a Business Email Address
This will probably require a separate email address, which brings us on to another point, the appearance of your email address. Take for instance Daz69@hotmail.com or Darren@propaving.com. The second email portrays a more professional image. Customers like to deal with companies, there is an implied protection which gives comfort. It’s not to say you won’t get business using an obviously personal address but remember, we are talking about incremental improvements, the little 1% s that make the 25% + difference when actioned together.
Tip number 3 – Be responsive
“…please leave a message…”
How many times do you hear that? The old saying “The early bird gets the worm’” or “first up, best dressed” is very true when it comes to winning work. At the moment you may be busy, however complacency is dangerous. Better to have forward bookings than an empty diary. If you impress a customer with the quality of your work, there is a good chance they will wait for you to become available, giving the luxury of a full diary. The added benefit is that you can charge a premium and avoid any discussion about discount. If answering the phone is difficult whilst you are working, record or have recorded, a professional voicemail message or use a telephone answering service for a more personal touch.
Once you have got the enquiry it’s time to swing into action. The next tips are focused on what you do once you have made contact with your customer and are thinking about winning the work. Impressions are still important and a continuing theme. It goes without saying, book the meeting or arrange the call and then turn up/call on time. Some people are not bothered if you are a bit late, but some will never deal with you if you are. Afterall if you can’t get to a meeting on time, how do you expect them to believe you will finish the job on schedule? Don’t take the risk, be on time!
Tip Number 4 – Look sharp and organised- Invest in some quality Branded Workwear
Look sharp, get some branded workwear, polo shirts work well. If the budget allows, get one for every workday. In the long run they will last longer and save the mid-week wash panic. You can wear a clean one for when you are going out to quote for work, so people don’t worry about lumps of plaster falling off your shirt onto the Persian rug. Take it to another level and get branded clip boards/notepads and business cards if you can stretch to it. Van/ Car branding also helps to cement that professional image. Again, all about the giving the right impression. You can save time by having a pre-printed form to take details of a quote. Another option is a virtual meeting, using facetime or zoom and getting the customer to walk you around the job. If you are doing this, a script is strongly recommended to make sure you come across as organised, make sure you “pitch” your business properly and don’t miss any vital details.
Another thing to consider with the remote approach is taking a deposit on the spot if the price is agreeable. To avoid buyer’s remorse, or the chance of someone undercutting you a card payment, such as the Veetoo Card Reader, facility is invaluable. If you get agreement from the customer take a deposit at once, 20 – 25% of the job cost is common. So, this is Tip number 6.
Tip number 5 – Make it easy for the Customer to Pay
Text BoxGetting a card payment machine puts you in control. You are not waiting for a customer to contact their bank or send you a cheque (do people still do that?) Modern card payment facilities are brilliant, they give a number of options to collect payment; a portable card reader, a QR code or a payment link that can be sent via text or email. This also enables a customer to pay on a credit card and spread the cost of a job. According to research done in 2018, people are likely to pay more for things when paying by card. In some cases, 83% more! We are not suggesting over charging, but avoiding discount, which directly reduces your profitability. Taking a card payment is a good thing to do. These days rates are low, it costs about £1.69 to collect £100 direct into your account with the Veetoo Card reader, if you think about this in the context of your day rate and time you save chasing payment, its peanuts.
Tip number 6 – References, Referrals and repeat Business
References and their power are nothing new, make sure you get one in every case. If a customer isn’t referenceable, ask them why and fix it. If there has been a problem on a job, and you handle it well it actually increases your chances of a good refence. People appreciate it when you stick to it to make things right. Bear in mind though, there are some people you just can’t please. In these cases, a 3rd party mediator may help resolve an issue. It is important, satisfied people generally only tell 2 to 3 people of their experience whereas a dissatisfied customer well tells 7 to 10.
If the customer is happy, ask if they know anyone else that might like to use your service, and ask for an introduction. If they give you a name, thank them and remember to ask, “Anyone else spring to mind?” you will be surprised how often this yields a few more names. It won’t always work, but when it does, its free introductions and the leads should be warm to you. This is another good time to have a decent, professional looking business card that you can leave with your customers.
When things have gone well, think about repeat business, what else could you do for the customer? One thing that id very often missed is Maintenance of the work done. For example, boilers need servicing every year, if you are a plumber, suggest you could do this. Electricians, routine safety checks, artificial lawns are low maintenance, not no maintenance, offer to do a biannual clean up. Maintenance visits can be booked around other jobs and are great ways of squeezing extra income out of your working hours.
Asking for extra work at the point of completion may not be the right time, so you will need to get permission to stay in touch. If you just say, “I’ll stay in touch from time to time if that’s ok?” few people will refuse. Assuming they are agreeable, ask for an email address, and say you will send them a mail that evening to check you have entered it correctly. This will help ensure your future Communications don’t end up in the spam folder.
Keep track of your customer contacts using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. There are loads of these and they are free to use for smaller users – Zoho, HubSpot and Sugar are examples. When you have one set up, you can use the system like a virtual assistant, reminding you when to contact people, tracking quotes and sales.
Bonus Tip Number 7 – Buddy up
Text BoxThis is a great way to get more business, and probably not new to most readers. Find complimentary trades people and build a relationship with them. This works well. A landscaper with a trusted brickie, or paving expert, plumber and electrician. General builders usually need all trades. The key to this is to make the relationship two way and strive to make the first move. Working gin this way has led to the formation of many a successful partnership, so if you want to move your busines to the next level, this is a great place to start.
This approach really works, if you make small improvements across a range of aspects of your business you really will reap the rewards. These are genuine big business approaches that can easily be used by trades people like you to turn your skill into a genuine business that will grow and flourish. Working as a sole trade is great, if that’s your aim these tips will make you more efficient and maximise your income. If you aim is to build something bigger, it will help with that too.
Good luck and remember, the Veetoo Trade team are her to help, so get in touch. We set the business up to bring fresh ideas and support to our members to help them make more money, with strategy, admin services (accounting/bookkeeping/Marketing services and a high-quality directory and make more of the money they make via our growing number of partnerships and discounts via our Perks service.