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Connecting With Customers Every Chance You Get

Originally published: 06.01.10 by Terry Tanker

Owners of service companies often wonder, "Am I getting a return on the money I invest in marketing?"

Some kinds of marketing have built-in metrics, such as mailed coupons or Web banner ads. One type of marketing/advertising doesn’t need a metric to prove its merit: it’s your fleet.

You have to have vehicles on the road; there’s no “good” reason to ignore their value as important pieces of your marketing strategy. The sheer exposure they receive is extraordinary. Consider how many hours your fleet vehicles spend in your market traveling on roads and highways, parked in driveways, busy downtown streets, and crowded parking lots. The ability to connect with customers with a customized message makes using fleet design as a marketing tool a must-do activity within your organization. When customers see one of your fleet vehicles, it is as if they are looking into the heart of your business. This is no exaggeration.

Think about this: A beat up, dirty truck with most of the lettering gone pulls into the driveway of your neighbor, who has already told you his AC unit is broken. Is this a business you are going to invite into your home the next time you need the same service?

We work in an extremely competitive business environment, and anything that can give your firm an advantage and help boost visibility, image, and brand will ultimately grow your business.

The winners of this year’s Tops in

Trucks contest are examples of HVACR contractors who are excelling at marketing via their vehicles. But they aren’t the only ones. We had more entries this year than any other for our annual contest, and this year’s entrants were of top quality. This is one of the reasons we’ve expanded our coverage on Tops in Trucks in the magazine and have posted exclusive online photos and articles at www.hvacrbusiness.com/topsintrucks.

Once you make that connection with knockout fleet designs, the next challenge is either to convert a prospect into a customer or provide additional products and services to existing customers. Yes, we’re talking about sales, and we plan to talk about sales a lot more in coming months.

In our August issue we will introduce Geoffrey James, a sales coach and prolific writer. James has drawn on his prior experience selling multi-milliondollar computer systems to produce numerous books and articles on sales. He will contribute a column to HVACR Business each quarter that will challenge you to improve your sales team’s performance. Using James’ advice, and the tricks and tips you’ll learn from this year’s Tops in Trucks report, your business will be well on its way to selling more to the customers you have and welcoming new customers on a regular basis. 

Terry has over 23 years of experience in the advertising and publishing industries. He began his career with a business-to-business advertising agency. Prior to forming Hutchinson Tanker Ltd. and HVACR Business in January 2006, he spent 20 years with large national publishing and media firm where he was the publisher of several titles in the mechanical systems marketplace. 

In addition to his experience in advertising and publishing, Terry has worked closely with numerous industry-related associations over the years including AHRI, AMCA, and ABMA. He has also served on the Board of Directors for the American Boiler Manufactures Association (ABMA) and as chairman, for both the Associates Committee and the Marketing Communications Committee of ABMA.


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