More than one person who has called for support today has said their phone is dead this week. Now I know it’s no consolation but it’s not just carpet cleaners, it’s locksmiths, oven cleaners and even a florist friend of mine said she has hardly had a call this week. That means it’s possibly down to things outside your control. That just means you have to take more control of what you can affect and, to steal a phrase from Nike, Just Do It!
It doesn’t have to be anything expensive but if you use the quiet spell as an positive opportunity to do some of those things you keep promising to do.
Follow up on some of those commercial clients you’d like to work for, offer a free demo while you’re quiet (don’t tell them though obviously)
Door knock your BEST area personally. Drop off a sample spotter. Have copies of testimonials from people you already work for in the area. If you have them saved in the client record of your database you should be able to filter them out even down to street level and print out a copy. Take a softly softly approach and you’ll be surprised how effective this can be. Don’t look desperate for the work now. Give the impression you’ve been working locally and politely ask that if they ever need carpet cleaning in future they ask their neighbours if they use you. Then walk away, you’re not trying to sell them now, you’re tying to just show people who you are and how professional and friendly you are.
Email and offer to your short notice list, you have been keeping a short notice list haven’t you? Don’t know what a ‘Short Notice List’ is? See my recent post here, it’s at the bottom.
Look into how to join those associations you’ve been meaning to join. The NCCA or TACCA. It might not generate any work immediately, but it’s a badge of honour you can add to your paperwork and adverts and a sign you’re committed to those hight standards. Plus they have forums you can share ideas on, and they’re usually free of the ‘nutters’ and ‘doom mongers’ on some other ‘open’ forums.
Teach yourself about Google Ad’s with Google’s own help files. Some people aren’t going to like this, but hey, why pay an agency a fixed monthly fee to manage a five or six very broad expensive keywords? You could do it yourself, and have HUNDREDS of very targeted keywords, spending less to generate more work. You can have the ad’s running today, and you’re in control. Turn ’em off when you’re too busy, back on as it starts to quieten down. One tip I would give you though is in the early stages make sure you turn off the Display Network ads (don’t worry, you’ll see where that is as you create ad’s). Oooh, I almost forgot. As I got into doing our own Google Ad campaigns for our carpet cleaning business’ I decided to do Google’s ‘agency’ training course, to get access to all the tutorials the agencies use. As i’m now qualified Google give me £50 vouchers to pass on to people to encourage them to get started using Google Ad’s. There’s no catch, or kickback to me, they are genuinely from Google for me to pass on to NEW advertisers. If you already have an account but you’ve never really used it (I probably shouldn’t say this) you could always forget about that one and start a new Google account fresh, then you could use one of the vouchers 😉 . Google are also really good at spotting those who are trying, so don’t be surprised if you get an email from one of their people asking if they can help you. Verify they are Google first of course but those guys are very patient and will have you going in no time. If you’d like a voucher just drop me an email to email@example.com and put Voucher please in the subject line. I’ll email a voucher back to you as soon as possible.
Phew! That is all I have to say about that.
In a service business you’re actually selling time, when a day is gone, it’s gone! Every gap in the diary costs money and unlike a product you never get the chance to sell it again. So if you can fill these gaps cheaply you’ll improve your PVA turnover (Per Van Average). Below are two real scenarios that happen and how, by using Database Marketing Software, you can use email to fill empty slots in the diary.
Today is Tuesday, you had a full days work booked in for Thursday (three jobs). The middle job calls you and cancels or moves to a different day, OUCH! Now you have a two or three hour gap in the middle of the day. You try calling the first and last appointments to move one of them but neither of them can move. If you have technicians this is even worse as you’re paying them for that ‘wasted time’ between those appointments. I know that you could leaflet the area, which works and is better than sitting in the van, but it’s far better if you have an easy, CHEAP way to fill that gap.
If you’ve got your database set up right (and in GetBookedUp it’s automatically set up right) you should be able to filter your clients and pull up a list of clients with email addresses in either of the areas you’re already working in, AND any areas in between those two jobs. You can also pull up your “Short Notice Offer List”, you do have a short notice offer list don’t you? If not see the end of this article, I’ll explain all. Back to filling your diary… You now need to write a compelling email to send to that list. In GetBookedUp there is a built in text editor to create emails, and you can save the first one you write as a template to use in future, so next time this happens, and it will, you can just open the email template, change the date and send, easy.
Onto the email… It should have a great offer in the subject, we find ‘Free Protector’ or ‘20% off AND a FREE Spot Remover’ both work well. It should also say ‘but you need to act now…’. Then explain in the email what has happened… “Hi Mrs Ashford, we’ve just had someone in TOWN move an appointment for this Thursday. That leaves us with a gap between 11:00am and 2:30pm and as it’s already Tuesday it’s unlikely we’ll fill that appointment, which is why I’m emailing. If you have anything you’ve been meaning to get cleaned, but just not got around to organising it yet, if you act quickly and can fill that appointment you can have a 20% discount AND a free can of Spot Remover. We’d be able to clean two or three carpets, or your suite, you choose, and we’ll knock off 20% off. Last time I made this offer it was snapped up quickly, so please call us straight away and the FREE can of Spot Remover is yours. It’s that simple.
It’s Tuesday afternoon, you have a large commercial contract job booked in for three guys on Friday. The Facilities Manager calls and says “Hi Allan, it’s Tom here. You’re scheduled to be here on Friday but the decorators will not be completed until Tuesday afternoon, they’re running late. Can you reschedule for Wednesday please?” Your heart sinks as now you’re left with three guys empty on Friday.
As with Scenario number one, turn to email marketing. This time open up the email to a larger audience, as the jobs don’t need to be geographically based. You obviously need more jobs, so hit a bigger list of people, simple. Again the email needs a great subject line “FREE Protector, but you need to act now…”. Then again explain in the email why you’re making the offer. Tell them you’ve had a job move. When people understand the reason you’re giving them the offer it becomes compelling, they believe the offer. I often include the sentence “Everyone wins, I keep our technicians busy and valued clients like you save with this extra special discount.”
The last time I sent this same offer in our business was Tuesday this week, because of exactly scenario two. I selected 386 clients in the area and emailed them at about 4:20pm. By 4:35 we had one reply by email booking three carpets in, by 7;30pm we’d had EIGHT people in touch to book work in. Six of those just booking in for work we’d done before, the other two wanted EXTRA work doing so we booked to pop in and do a quote. As I write this post, on Wednesday morning, we’ve had NINE calls or emails, and I’m sure we’ll get some more today. The email took minutes to create and send, and has generated enough work to fill three vans for Friday, RESULT!
Any GetBookedUp users who want a copy of the last email template I sent, ready for you to just change your details in, just drop us an email an firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Short Notice Email”
It’s a list of clients who have told you they would be interested in short notice offers. Here’s how you build that list…
As part of your satisfaction questionnaire we recommend you add the phrase “If you’d like to know about amazing last minute, short notice offers please add your email here ___________________________ ”
In your database setup a marketing group “Short Notice Offers” and tick this group when clients fill in their details on the questionnaire.
You now have a list of people who will be responsive to your emails, and as you have their permission to email they won’t be upset by you contacting them.
Just call me on 01405 813665
I keep getting asked about these so thought I’d share the link to their new website here. We use these in our carpet cleaning business and for a small one off investment of £25 per van you can have a steady drip feeding of extra jobs. They’re waterproof too! Take a look here:-
Our friends at Rocket Powered have produced a free ‘report’ on how you can market you business effectively for just £50! Take a look at their blog post here…
Some of the users I’ve spoken to this week have said their phone is a little quiet this week. They report last week was crazy, but this it’s gone quiet.
I suggested doing another mailing from GetBookedUP to their best clients, filtering however they determine ‘best’ is. So, look for those you’ve worked for several times, with an average annual spend over £X, or a total spend over £Y but find a list of clients to mail to and send them a gentle reminder that you’re almost booked up and reserving the remaining appointments for existing clients. The reason you’re saving them is because it always happens… existing clients call last minute wanting carpet cleaning so that’s why you’re writing to them now, to remind them before it’s too late. You can also offer a discount for January, “after the parties are over” but only if they book before Christmas, so you can plan your diary better.
Make the phone ring, be proactive, once the time’s gone, it’s gone.
If you want any help or support getting the mailing out of GetBookedUp just call.
Why not send it from Docmail? It’s a service we use in our carpet cleaning business. You can send a letter for less than the cost of the stamp, and that includes the printing, folding and stuffing. OR you can send a postcard for 29p, printed and posted. They also do Greeting Cards, with no minimum order either. No hassle, no fuss. Check them out here…
So many people have asked me about something I mentioned at a marketing seminar last year that I thought I’d share it again here.
It’s not original to me, i think I heard it from Howard Partridge when he was in the UK many years ago. I immediately loved it and have done it regularly since. So what’s the big idea? DOUGHNUT FRIDAY!
For £1.20 per visit you can get an easy introduction into carpet and upholstery retailers with this cheeky idea. I’ve even used it in hairdressers and estate agents too, with incredible effect. Here’s how it works…
Pick our the retailers who already recommend you but ALSO those who you’d like to start recommending you. Get some boxes of Doughnuts from the Supermarket, don’t go overboard, this is supposed to just be a quick drop in and thank you so don’t go splashing the cash on expensive ones. I use Sainsbury’s as theirs are boxed in 5’s which means I can take a box of Jam and a box of sugar ring into the same place. WARNING! If you’re going to do lots of these then call the Bakery Manager on the Wednesday and warn him you will be coming in Friday morning opening and clearing the shelf of stock, then they’ll have as many EXTRA for you ready to collect from the bakery, and leave his shelf stock intact 🙂
Okay, next step, with a box of each type in hand walk into the retailer and ask to speak to the manager. When the manager arrives just say “Hi I’m Allan from ABC Cleaners and I’m not sure who it was but someone here recommended us to someone who called us to book a carpet clean recently. She couldn’t remember who it was but mentioned this shop. I just wanted to drop these in to say Thanks, it’s appreciated, enjoy them with a cuppa.” Then pause, they will almost certainly say something. If they say nothing just say “Many thanks” then turn and head for the door. They will ALWAYS then say something, and usually start asking staff who are around who recommended us. It is uncanny someone always says they know about us and it might have been them. This is a very soft way into the retailer and works on two fronts. Firstly the law of reciprocity, you’ve taken time to go in with a gift, they will feel obliged to return that, and will do so by ‘repeating’ the behaviour that generated the gift, ie REFER YOU! I GUARANTEE if you do this in a sincere way they will ALWAYS ask if you have any cards you can leave them, RESULT! You have not had to ask for them to refer you, they will ask you for cards to refer you further, it’s genius. Secondly, the “Feed ’em!” principle. It’s a basic instinct that is met with the token gesture of food as a gift. Feeding people appears to motivate them, just like the Pizza at staff meetings!
This works even where they have not recommended you, trust me. You will find that the staff start saying they know about you and it was possibly them. It also works in Estate Agents and Letting Agents. Hairdressers are another GREAT place to try this in. I’ll tell you more about how you can ‘use’ hairdressers even more efficiently in another post soon.
So, what are you waiting for, call Sainsbury Bakery Manager, get your order in and get out there building bridges and putting smiles on retailers faces.
Here’s the link to Sainsburys Doughnuts too…