After some rocky years following the housing crash, new home sales are looking good. In fact, sales of new homes jumped 5.2 percent in November, considerably higher than expected. And that average includes some tremendous regional growth. New home sales in the West and Midwest were up by 7.7 and a whopping 43.8 percent respectively during that period, according to U.S. Census data.
So, things are going well … That may be the case, but we don’t see successful contractors sitting back and counting their greenbacks in times like these. In fact, while the market is on an upswing is the perfect time to grow and strengthen your business. During those periods you have some cash flow that can be put toward increased marketing, and with more recent sales you have the attention and ear of more clients.
Growing your business is all about establishing new customer relationships and solidifying existing ones. Use this time to promote successful projects, increase your marketing reach, and nurture client relationships.
Here are some proven ways to build your business when times are good.
#1. Boost your online presence
While things are moving along smoothly, spend some extra time on enhancing your participation online. Of course your website should always be accurate and up to date, but is it informative? Consider adding a blog as a vehicle for sharing information that’s relevant to your customers’ interests. To ensure that your content is effective, research what your audience wants from posts and never use your blog to sell. Post information that tells people something, and it’s more likely to be shared widely.
This helps you to establish yourself as a reliable expert, someone who people can rely on for relevant and accurate information. It plants the seed of trust, which makes for strong and positive relationships with customers and industry partners.
Also online, read some influential blogs in your field, and participate in the comment area conversation. Again, it’s important to resist the temptation to make a sales pitch; just interact in a positive way, and look for opportunities to share useful information. Link to these blogs to help your readers learn more as well.
#2. Assess your progress toward goals
Success can’t happen without a roadmap, and while the market is hopping it’s a great time to check in on your progress. Hopefully your goals are quantifiable, meaning progress can be measured in some way. If not, take this time to set some specific parameters and objectives that you’ll be able to monitor over the months and years to come.
#3. Dive deeper into your marketing strategy
Take a look at your marketing strategy, and push your boundaries. One area that continues to be strong for marketing is email. It’s certainly one of the most cost-effective approaches. According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing has a return on investment of around 4300 percent. (Yeah. Two zeros.)
Of course this isn’t going to happen if you bombard people with generic “give me your money” messages. As with any online content, emails have to be targeted, personalized, and relevant. An effective marketing tool that doesn’t have to cost you a lot of time is a monthly email newsletter.
It helps to be able to keep up with what your contacts are up to, and there are plenty of tech tools to help with that. Rapportive, for example, allows you to get your contact’s LinkedIn profiles directly in your inbox.
#4. Set up an after-the-sale service program
Referrals are critical in the business, so spending some time on ways to extend your relationship with past customers can really pay off. Take a page from the Car Dealer’s handbook and provide great service after the sale. New homeowners are always in need of services: why not use your expertise to set them up with the best?
Beyond serving as a resource for referrals to excellent and trustworthy service providers, establishing a home maintenance service keeps you top-of-mind for years to come.
#5. Host an event at one of your communities/projects
Keep yourself relevant to your clients by inviting them to a gathering to showcase your latest and greatest work. Reach out to past clients. You never know which of them might be considering a move or have relatives or friends coming to the area who might be very interested in newly completed projects.
#6. Hire an assistant to make calls and follow-up on leads
One of the major ways that we lose business is by not following up on leads and inquiries. A study cited on HubSpot found that “71% of qualified leads are never followed up with. What’s more is, of the leads that are followed up on, they’re only touched an average of 1.3 times. This represents tremendous opportunity costs not only in revenue, but in the customer/prospect experience as well.”
Especially when business is good, you likely have leads coming in on a variety of channels. It can be difficult to keep up, let alone evaluate which leads are most promising. This might be a good time to hire someone with great people skills who can follow up on those leads, contacting them, answering questions, and providing further information. This assistant could help to categorize your leads for more effective marketing going forward, as well.
#7. Revamp record keeping
Help keep things running smoothly as your company grows by evaluating your system for keeping records. If you’re still using a lot of paper and spreadsheets, check into some digital solutions. Software and platforms for business have come a very long way in just the last few years. Consider these ideas for making record-keeping more accurate and less time-consuming than ever:
- Use cloud storage for 24/7 access anywhere
- Automate billing
- Integrate tasks with a CRM system
- Share and sign documents electronically
Don’t Let Your Business Run by Chance
Learn more about our after-the-sale home maintenance programs for contractors and builders. Connect with our Glasshouse team today and start realizing the benefits of long-term client relationship building.