Editor’s Note: Due to the unprecedented situation we are finding ourselves in with COVID-19, Ruth King is suspending the Rules of Wealth and writing about actions that can help you survive these times and prepare for the future. This is Part 2 of How to Salvage 2020 Profitability. Once this pandemic is over, she will resume the rules of wealth series.
Granted, this is supposed to be a financial column, however, there are three simple marketing activities you should do to increase your revenues so you cover the losses from the past few months.
Proposals, Quotes and Tickler Files
One of my clients did this at the end of March, when he let his dispatcher go due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He found $80,000 in work. Yes, $80,000 of work that people wanted done immediately. That saved many technicians from being laid off.
Even if a proposal is a year-old, contact that customer. There may have been many cooling proposals that you presented last year where the customer did nothing. Some have bought and are probably more likely to talk about why than they would have been a year ago. Learn from their thoughts. Others have done nothing and you’ve the first one to contact her again. Be prepared to answer the question, “Is the price still good?”
From a service perspective, how many quotes did customers ask for? How many times did someone follow up? Many times, your customers forgot about them because no one has followed up in a few months.
Again, from a service perspective, a conversation may have occurred at the end of last year’s cooling season. A technician suggested a repair and the customer said, “I’ll take care of that next spring.” Hopefully you kept all of those recommendations in a tickler file. It’s time to call the customer. It’s work for the technicians.
Reactivate Inactive Customers
How many customers are in your database that have not done business with your company in 19 months to five years? Contact them and give them a reason to do business with your company again. They have bought from your company in the past. So, there is some trust and familiarity.
Send postcards or have your CSRs call customers.
The postcard/theme of the telephone call might be titled, “Did We Make a Mistake?” or “We Want You Back.” One of my commercial clients sent 100 postcards with the “Did We Make a Mistake?” theme and a guy stepping on a banana peel picture. The company got a $10,000 maintenance agreement as a result of those postcards.
Your promotion might be a $25 off coupon on a repair (good through a specific date), a repair vs. replacement question postcard or a special price on a replacement through a specific date.
Don’t be surprised if you hear, “I thought you went out of business” when someone calls to schedule.
Have a Contest
Contests can be a lot of fun. Company-wide contests rather than department specific contests bring the whole company together with a purpose. Have a revenue contest. Before you announce it, determine the decrease in revenues for the past two to three months. That should be the basis for the contest.
For example, if you lost $250,000 in revenues during the pandemic shutdown and your normal budget for May through August is $1,500,000, the company needs to generate $1,750,000 for May through August.
How can that happen? What can the company do to achieve this new revenue goal?
Let everyone come up with ideas. Put the needed revenues on a chart where everyone can see them. Break the total into weekly goals. Weekly reporting keeps everyone enthused and excited about meeting the goals.
It could be as easy as increasing maintenance enrollments, increasing closing rates on sales or increased referrals. You do not have to decrease your prices. That should be made clear during the contest announcement. You should also announce that everyone who recommends a sale that closes gets a monetary incentive for doing it.
Assuming the company meets the new budget, you will take everyone out for a steak dinner (or other dinner at a great restaurant in your area). This assumes the restaurants will be open! And, you need to invite spouses and significant others as well as pay for the babysitters where necessary. This should be a fun evening for everyone without having to worry about paying for a babysitter.
Next month: Financial activities to salvage 2020 profitability.