Effective Client Acquisition Systems

Kenny Chapman
Contributing Writer
The Blue Collar Success Group

The concept of an effective client acquisition system is frequently discussed yet often misunderstood in the contracting world. Everybody says that they want or need more calls. We all wish that our phones were ringing off the hook, that we could do more, or that we had more clients in general. What we really need to do, however, is stop wishing and start developing an ongoing, productive client acquisition system. We need to begin to think more like marketers rather than plumbers.

A few weeks ago, I attended a seminar facilitated by a friend of mine in the insurance industry. He had a banner on the wall that read, “Successful agents don’t think like insurance agents, they think like marketers.” And I believe that to be 100{938cd9e8dae860e800efc538277d4f7684e6f6981618ba70d1c34357a53c2e1f} true for plumbing/heating/air conditioning/electrical business owners. We need to think like marketers, too. I fully believe that we are in the people business, and our product just happens to be plumbing, heating, air conditioning and electrical services.

We need to develop a culture that is driven by marketing. We don’t usually think about marketing as being a consistent, all-encompassing facet of our businesses. We also don’t realize that almost everything we do is linked to marketing in some way. All too often, we see marketing as simply placing an ad in the Yellow Pages or creating a new pay-per-click campaign, but that’s just one small piece of communicating the desired image of our companies.

Marketing exists everywhere from your company logo, to the appearance of your truck and how it is driven, to the phone script that you use in the call center. Even the methods you use to address a client’s concern are a function of marketing. We need to examine our overall strategy to ensure that consistent, positive marketing permeates throughout our business.

Client acquisition strategies are multifaceted. You’re certainly going to have a variety of ads that are focused on generating phone calls. You’ll also want to establish retention campaigns, which include options such as newsletters and e-zines, postcards, direct mail, and newspaper advertising. In some markets, radio advertising is effective, whereas in other markets, TV is a smarter choice. Whatever direction you choose for your retention campaigns, be sure to stay in front of your clients consistently to keep your company at the top of their minds.

If you utilize internet marketing, you might have a combination of search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising in place. Keep in mind that as conversion tools, they are only going to be as effective as your website is. You also can’t ignore the social media component of maintaining effective internet presence.

Client acquisition isn’t complete unless your process also includes tracking strategies. You’ve got to ask: Where does each phone call come from? Where does each click-through come from? What kind of language works for my clients? If you’re assessing an ad or a marketing piece, what type of wording creates action and which tactics don’t produce results? Remember, you don’t need the latest and greatest industry-specific computer program to begin tracking your advertising effectiveness. When we first started tracking at my company, we listed each advertising medium in a notebook and placed a checkmark by whichever one had led the client to us.

Client acquisition is an integral part of creating a successful company that serves your vision. Marketing platforms and message delivery may change with technology, but the key reasons that people buy are still the same. As I’m writing this report, personalized/relationship marketing is becoming the most effective strategy and many of my clients are becoming focused on this method. Regardless of what changes occur, the more you start thinking like a strategic marketer, the more you’ll experience consistent call count increases.

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