Marketing and advertising can be costly for any contractor, but especially for those just starting out. Not only are the costs per lead potentially high, but there is a lot of uncertainty around whether the money spent is going to yield any actual results. One of the best marketing tools for your business is goodwill: building a strong referral network from the people you work with daily. But how do you choose where to spend your time and money to make sure it provides an effective ROI?
There is also the very real concern that your marketing and advertising work too well, and you end up getting too many leads or spread yourself too thin on the jobs you accept. Ironically, saying “no” to too many jobs or not following up with a lead can be just as harmful to your reputation as poor quality work (and if you need help with this problem, we can assist you)!
But there are other, less expensive, and more manageable ways to network and get solid leads – ones with direct results that you can more easily control.
Get Involved In Your Community
If you take a look around your community, it should be easy to find several small business organizations that are excellent for networking prospects. These include your local Chamber of Commerce, Business Networking International, the Young Entrepreneurs Council, the American Marketing Association, and the Rotary Club International, just to name a few. I’m not saying you should join every one of these organizations, but you should stop in, introduce yourself, and find out if the people you’d connect with are the right ones for your business.
Those are some of the obvious choices but consider some organizations that might not seem so obvious at first. One of these is the PTA. That’s right, the Parent Teachers Association. If you have school-age kids, joining the PTA kills two birds with one stone: it allows you to be more involved in your kids’ education while creating social situations where you personally meet fellow homeowners in your community.
There are also various volunteer opportunities within your community that can help you network with potential customers. Think about volunteering at your local public library, community arts center, hospital or medical center, school district office, animal shelter, or food bank. Wherever you think your time and effort will have the greatest impact on your business. And remember, this may be a long-term time commitment, but it’s a win-win-win: you help your community, you help your business, and you establish your reputation as a person who cares about their neighbors.
Leverage your network
As you can see, there is no shortage of professional networking groups and volunteer organizations you can join, and each boasts its own pros and cons. But your efforts can be even less formal than that, especially for the construction space that we all work in.
Real estate agents, local insurance agents, and property management companies can be great sources of leads because their clients are your clients. These relationships are often free; however, the “hidden cost” is something many people don’t think about. These business relationships you’re leveraging are exactly that – business. That means that these agents are calling you because they need your services – and they typically need them quickly. The trade-off with working with these professionals is the speed of execution. If you can’t get out that afternoon or first thing next morning to inspect that roof for them, they will likely move on and continue calling down their list of contractors.
It’s also important to remember that these relationships go both ways. If you get a great referral on a roof repair from a real estate agent, the expectation is that if one of your roofing clients is considering selling their home, you’ll refer them to the agent who referred you. But this is also a win-win situation: nothing will solidify your name and reputation with a referring agent quite like a juicy commission check that resulted from your referral.
These relationships are also viable and scalable: most property managers manage multiple properties, and all of them know other property managers. It’s very easy to grow your company with the help of these folks. It’s the same with real estate agents. They have their own networking groups, and if they think you’re solid and dependable, they’ll refer you to their fellow agents.
There are many ways to generate leads in the insurance restoration world – see our previous blogs on the subject. You just need to be willing to go make those connections and work those connections. Regular emails or phone calls to check-in, quick response times, quick billing times, and efficient processes are going to keep you at the top of insurance call lists!
You have a lot of options to market your company without paying for lead generation services. The ones you choose depend on the amount of time you have to network and where you think your focus will have the best results. If you’d like to learn more about how I network to create a 7-figure roofing business, just give me a call!