Leveraging Your Client Base


June 29, 2011 | How much do you know about your clients? Their hobbies? The organizations they belong to? Their favorite sports or vacation spots?

Over the years I’ve observed that business owners learn very little about their clients/customers. Oh sure, they know a bit about what they do, their names and addresses, how to reach them by phone or email, maybe even their websites.

That information is simply the tip of the iceberg, however. Each of your clients is a potential advocate (someone who’s referred you more than once and/or says terrific things about you at the drop of a hat). Each of your clients can save you significant marketing dollars, by leading business your way. And I’m not just talking about referrals.

I’m talking about exposure.

Who can you meet through your clients, because you’ve learned the circles they move in?

Can you be their guest at a professional society (organizations for those in private practice) or trade meeting? Or a vendor at a fundraiser where they’re actively involved? How about a few rounds of golf at their country club? Tennis, anyone? Sporting events?

Business owners covet generating business from doctors, for example, because of their affluence. Knowing this, doctors have become less and less accessible. If your client trusts you, however, and introduces you to medical colleagues, who knows what might happen?

It’s not always what you know, but whom you know; and it’s quite likely that you know many important people. What are you doing about it?

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An Easy Way to Generate Referrals


June 20, 2011 | As a deck builder or supplier, you probably receive a fair amount of calls asking for the name of a good roofer, plumber or someone else in some aspect of construction.

You may take these calls in one of two ways:

  1. as pains in the neck or
  2. as opportunities for referrals

It depends upon whether your glass is half empty or half full.

First of all, these calls are compliments. You’re being recognized as a go-to person, whose advice is trustworthy. You can’t earn a better reputation than that. Next, once you refer an expert in the requested field, you have a chance to close the loop.

Close the loop? Sure. Let’s say you recommend roofer Charles Smith. Do you simply give his name and number; or do you do that with one more step, which is calling Charles Smith to say you just referred him? “Hey, Charlie, just got a call from a Ms. Jones, who wanted the name of a good roofer; and I gave her your name. If you don’t hear from her in a week, let me know; and I’ll give you her phone number.”

All you did was refer someone you believe in. By letting him (or her) know, however, or closing the loop, you communicated to Charlie that you’re actively referring him.

Which means, at the first opportunity, he’ll probably return the favor. Easy, huh? What did it cost you in money and time? Nothing and perhaps two minutes, right? But you just engaged in some of the best marketing there is, by putting out a marker that will be repaid. Perhaps over and over again.

Adrienne Zoble Associates, Inc.
Helping Business Owners and Executives Sell More In Less Time
Visit www.broadsonbusiness.com to learn how to market consistently, yet inexpensively.
(ph) 970-282-1150 (or toll-free at 1-866-282-1150)
(f) 970-282-1152

Associations and the Code

Article posted courtesy of www.deckmagazine.com.

November 30, 2010 | When I was a carpenter and a builder, I never joined an industry association. I didn’t see what was in it for me. That was taking the short view. I didn’t realize that associations lobby on industry-wide issues such as codes. In fact, I didn’t know how codes were written. If I had thought about it, I’d have guessed that some think tank of structural engineers sat around developing minimum standards based on a reasonable expectation of building performance.

Well, it turns out that’s not quite right. Code writing is a political process as much as a technical one. Code changes can be suggested by anyone, from individuals to corporations. My crazy Uncle Lou could suggest a code change. Properly submitted code proposals are vetted by a committee. The survivors are voted up or down at the International Code Council’s annual meetings. The only people who get to vote on whether changes make it into the IRC are governmental members of the ICC — mostly code officials.

The people most affected by the code — you — don’t get a vote. Anyone can comment on proposed changes before the final vote, but what deck builder has the time to keep abreast of proposed changes to the code and to write a letter or comment at the annual ICC meeting? I never did. Nor did I realize I could. Even so, considering the commenter could be Uncle Lou, the view of one individual probably shouldn’t carry a lot of weight. But associations? If I were a voting ICC member, I’d give more time and credence to associations than to the concerns of an individual.

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Purchaseable Labor Warranties

October 16, 2010 | If you want to get a heated debate started among deck builders, assemble 30 from any part of the country in a room, walk out in the center of the floor, ask them to state their opinions regarding alternative decking or real wood, and move out of the way quickly. You’re going to hear strongly held opinions split down the middle. I’ve observed blogs that followed this course. The proponents believe alternatives offer lower maintenance solutions than wood and avoid the problems that can be associated with it and buy into the concept. A lot of deck contractors simply prefer real wood for what they build. But many of the naysayers are made up of earlier generation builders who have experienced problems are newer ones that have heard too much about them. This group believes it’s too risky to bet their reputations on. Interestingly enough, they’re both right.

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