Wolseley PRO Pipeline Blog
Here’s a common scenario that just about every contractor faces on a regular basis: You’ve been run off your feet over the past few weeks. Initially, you were excited that you had all this work, but you quickly realized that you had over-committed and then faced the herculean task of getting everything completed. After countless long days and late nights of juggling manpower, supplies and cash flow, you finally get caught up and look forward to a bit of a break. Then it hits you, you have no other work on the books!
So much for taking that hoped for breather. Now you must scramble to find any kind of work just to keep the team busy. For sure, you can get them to clean up the shop, but you really can’t afford too many of those days. Alternatively, sending them home can create its own problems and leaves them wondering about their future, especially if this is a regular occurrence. The pressure is back on!
Discipline and patience
How do you get off this merry go round, this feast to famine existence? Well, it’s easier than you think. All it requires a little bit of discipline and patience on your part. Within a few months you’ll begin to see the results of this tactic. The beauty of the initiative is that you won’t need any special training and it’ll be as easy as having a cup of coffee, because that’s what I’m suggesting: a coffee a week.
Low-tech sales strategy
With so much noise and clutter by self-professed gurus who rant about creating sales funnels or tribes, the coffee a week initiative is pretty low-tech. It’s easy to initiate and delivers consistent results. We can tech-the-heck out of all sorts of things, but sales is still about relationships. The easiest way to create a relationship is to be one-on-one with someone. And one of the easiest ways to get one-on-one with someone is over a coffee.
So why does “a coffee a week” work?
We have a mistaken notion that if we reach out to a prospect, especially someone we know, that we may be bothering them. Chances are you’re not! We also think that they know what we do and that they’ll call us if there’s some work. Honestly, that’s only the case for very a small percentage of those prospects. Contrary to what you think, they’re probably not thinking about you at all. What we fail to realize, is that it’s not the customers job to remember us, but it’s our responsibility to make sure they don’t forget us. You do that by being visible to them on occasion. And one easy way to do that is inviting them to coffee.
Where to begin? The forever list.
The first step in the initiative is very simple, but you must do it. Start by making a list of every business person you know, and I mean everyone, not just your friends. It doesn’t matter how well you know them. This list should easily top 100 names. For many of you that number will be closer to 200. Whatever number you initially come up with, you are going to continually add to it. It’s a forever list.
Need some help to start? How many real estate sales people do you know? How many lawyers, accountants, property owners, mortgage brokers, bankers, electricians, plumbers, HVAC owners, carpenters, roofers, restoration companies, insurance agents and brokers. These examples should be enough to prime your pump and get you thinking on who to add. Get your staff and significant other to join in. You’ll be amazed at how many people you actually know or can reach. Caution: Do not try to qualify them or justify if they should be on the list, or worse yet, whether you should call them. If you know them or know of them, put them on the list.
Pick up the phone
The next step is easy. Pick up the phone and invite them for a coffee. If you do no more than have one coffee a week with someone from your list, you will have met with over 50 prospects that have the ability to refer business to you.
During those get to togethers, your job is to remind them of what you do, how you can help them and, that you want their business.
I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have done this and also personally witnessed contractors walk away from a coffee with either a job or a request for quote. This works!
Let’s use home buying as an example.
How many house closings are taking place every day? How many need some repairs prior to the property being listed or after the inspection? The professions involved in these transactions, namely lawyers and real estate agents, need fast, dependable contractors to rectify problems quickly to not impede deal or the closing date. Someone is going to get the work, why not you?
Being in business is not a passive undertaking. You are required to be actively engaged in business development and sometimes that means getting out of your comfort zone. But for this to deliver long-term results, you must make it a habit. You must to make it a priority every single week.
This strategy is a low stress, easy to initiate exercise that anybody can do. Who’s on your list?
Greg Weatherdon is a small business expert and author of Get More LIFE Out of Your Business. He also produces The Small Business Minute Podcast that available on all major platforms including iTunes, Google Play and Spotify. Visit www.gregweatherdon.com for more information.