How you can use marketing to increase sales
by Scott Kay
February 19, 2018

To understand how to better market your services, you should first take a step back and challenge your perspective. While you sell your services, you should also consider the receiving end. Many dismiss this perspective, claiming that positivity and preparedness from customer satisfaction teams quell these concerns. Though these teams may intercept some problems, they are not enough. Relying too heavily on a customer satisfaction team is like preparing to fail—it’s a backup plan for when things go off the rails, so you know you can recover later. Going beyond what works best for you and understanding what works best for your customers is what proves transformative for true growth, no matter the company.

When you gauge customer service performance based on achieving satisfaction, you may be in trouble. Optimal satisfaction should be your target, and that means thinking beyond straight-line customer satisfaction and, instead, creating a more ideal customer experience. Many people hear the words “customer service” and think of consumer-packaged goods and retail experiences, but at the end of the day, each one of us is a consumer.

When one of your customers can have shoes overnighted from and then call them with a question, only to find out that the company will do anything to please them, that influences expectations all around. So, when that commercial property owner accepts bids on a job and some bidders are late, don’t answer their phones, or are difficult to schedule meetings with, you can imagine a customer’s quickly emerging frustration.

When customer experience is ignored for too long, a trend of disruption surfaces. And there isn’t just a threat of disruption in the market—it’s already happening. Disruption is driven by less than ideal customer experiences. When other aspects of your life become easier to resolve, you are less likely to stay settled in a system that no longer delivers on your needs.

Customers undergo this pattern in all facets of buying—from ordering a pizza without being put on hold to car shopping online without bickering and bartering, real estate becoming more digitally advanced and completing every bit of holiday shopping without setting foot in a crowded mall. Online wish lists, registries and automated grocery delivery continue to set a new precedence and level of convenience that are shortly followed by a new set of higher expectations.

So, why should a property owner work with one commercial services provider over another? Suddenly it’s not just about the product, service or even the price. If all else is equal, knowing you will have to “manage” one company less than another can become the deciding factor.

3 Disruptive Sales Opportunities

This is not bad news for your sales team. If you are the construction sales leader or business owner, you likely have several main concerns. Consider the following three ways this disruptive shift in the sales universe turns new expectations into opportunity for you.

  1. Reduction in cycle time —At its best, the traditional business model drives leads from manufacturers to contractors from customers making an inquiry on a website with little information about their true level of interest or position in the sales cycle. A lead could be someone in early exploration who wants to get on mailing lists, or someone who knows exactly what they want but needs installation services and bids. Chances are, they are seeking multiple quotes to compare in a bid process, so an email or callback is necessary to get their contact info and set up a time to visit and measure, plus a return to your office and another appointment set up for the bid presentation. You might be worn out just thinking about all the steps involved.

    Instead, consider providing an option to request samples online and the ability to accurately measure your project needs, product visualization and pricing all before a potential client needs to speak with you—unless, of course, they request an in-person consultation. Think of all the time and coordination you save, allowing you to focus on details of in-progress jobs or those closer to being awarded.

  2. Reduction in cost —The above savings in time equates to a cost savings. You won’t need to invest time into a lead until you understand it is qualified by the actions they take online to invest their own time—an indication of their level of seriousness and placement in the sales funnel. And, quite frankly, many people would prefer to not interact with a person as long as the information they seek is readily available. This doesn’t mean wiping out the need for salespeople altogether, but rather better targeting their efforts for greater impact on your bottom line. Think of the savings in having your lead salesperson reach out via phone to two leads who are making final decisions versus five leads that you discover are just considering a project for the following year, exploring ideas for a commercial build or looking for samples.
  3. Represent your own business —Another ongoing problem is hiring a salesperson you can trust to represent your business the same way you would as an owner. As the process becomes more digital with the property owner in the driver’s seat, the marketing materials can be developed once using the specific language and tone you desire as a business leader. The level of interaction needed from a salesperson to close the sale reduces, as does the opportunity to overpromise or embellish details to earn a commission. If these benefits seem worthwhile to you, you may find yourself asking how to get there. The following tips will help.
  • Meet with customers on their terms —Getting time on business calendars to sit down around the conference table is getting more and more difficult. With more pressure to manage more projects in less time, respond to business needs, payroll, HR and more, many business leaders are in the game of defending what little time—if any—they have left. Instead of shoehorning a meeting at traditional times, offer to fit into their schedules. Give them the visibility to