Prospects turn into leads and leads turn into sales, which means that without prospects, it’s hard for your business to grow. For prospecting to be effective, it should be done on a regular basis (ideally daily!), and it can require a bit of research. Equally as important as prospecting every day is making sure that you’re targeting people who are already likely to use your services. This way you’ll be getting the most bang for your buck, so to speak, and maximizing your time.
However, how do you build a list with those constraints? You not only have to prospect all the time, but you also have to vet people, too?
It can seem overwhelming at first. With this in mind, we’ve brainstormed nine ways you can get started finding prospects that will be the most likely to buy.
Encouraging referrals is a good way to elicit customers that meet your standards, because clients that are referred from existing customers tend to be good overall fits for your business. When you receive a referral, be sure to thank your referral source and follow up with the referral as soon as you can.
1. After completing a job, send the customer a thank you card to let them know that you appreciate their business. To add referral potential, include a refer-a-friend deal. Something along the lines of, “If you loved the cleaning we provided you, share it! If you and a friend schedule a service within the next three months, both of you will receive 20% off our regular prices.”
2. If you use the FillMySchedule program, ask about Bottomless Business Cards. We’ll print up to three business-card-size inserts (per card) for you, for only $.28 per FMS card. Include your refer-a-friend deal on each insert, so your customers can hand out your information (and a great discount!) to three of their friends or neighbors.
3. If you get leads from a service like HomeAdvisor or Angie’s List, take the email addresses you receive (as long as they are genuine), along with names, and create a new account in ServiceMonster for each lead, marking their account type as prospect. In the future you can use the DIY Marketing tools in ServiceMonster to pull the list of all your prospects and market to them specifically.
4. Team up with a local real estate agent, contractor, or another individual or company in your town that sells something that would complement your services. If you partner with a high-volume realtor, for example, they could potentially send you a large number of their own clients who recently bought or sold homes that need cleaning.
Neighbors pay attention when the house down the street has some work done, so use this to your advantage!
5. Target the neighbors around a job you recently completed by mailing out a postcard to those households. On the postcard, include something like, “We just did work at your neighbor’s house,” include your customers’ address or their last name for reference, and encourage the recipient to ask their neighbor how you did.
6. Be sure to always carry your business cards on you. After completing a job, leave your cards on the doorstep of the surrounding houses.
Community Involvement (Online and Offline)
Name recognition is an essential part of marketing your business – people have to hear about you before they can consider hiring you!
7. Get involved in your local community by sponsoring events, participating in local groups and activities, posting your business card on local bulletin boards, and doing anything else you can think of that gets your business in front of people in a positive way.
8. Stay active on social media. Building momentum on social media can be a slow process, but if you post relevant content regularly, you can expect your follower count to grow. Social media provides the perfect platform for interacting and developing rapport between you and potential prospects, and it’s another way for them to contact you for more information or to schedule a cleaning! Be careful not to spread yourself too thin, though – especially if you’re just starting out on social media. Choose one or two platforms where your customers seem to hang out the most (Facebook and Twitter, for instance), and post on a consistent basis. Offer sales and/or contests occasionally to give people more of an incentive to schedule a cleaning.
It’s much cheaper to retain current customers than to go out and find new ones.
9. Focus on keeping the ones you’ve got! ServiceMonster’s FillMySchedule program helps you do just that, by encouraging repeat business through the use of high-quality direct mail cards. The program starts off with a thank you card, mailed to the customer after you finish a job for them. Then, every three months after that, FillMySchedule follows up with a specially-crafted message to remind them how long it’s been since their last cleaning, that you’re available to help, and that you offer other services that might interest them.
If you’re interested in growing your business, it’s important to get in the routine of prospecting on a regular basis. Try one, two, or a combination of these suggestions, and be sure to mix it up every now and then to ensure you’re covering all your bases. The more active you are at prospecting, the more memorable your business will be for a greater number of people, and the higher-quality the leads you bring in will be. Now get out there and start building your prospect list!
Photo Credit: Edith Soto