Maintenance programs can lock in customers and revenue.
By Carole Mahoney
Congratulations, you have successfully completed a project for a customer, handed out the invoice, and put the equipment away.
Now it’s time to find the next new customer and do it all over again, right?
But what if the customer has problems? What if their pressure goes down suddenly, or the water comes out in sputters?
What if the water is cloudy or smells bad?
Will they call you?
What if it doesn’t have to end when you hand over the invoice and drive away?
An Energy Saver
The time and energy it costs to get a new customer is much more than what it takes to maintain a current one. Let’s do some math.
Let’s say you average $10,000 for a well to be drilled in your area. If you want your company to make $360,000 a year, that means you need to drill 36 wells a year, or three a month. Depending on everything from beginning to end, let’s estimate it takes one week to sell; sign all of the paperwork; prepare for, drill, and break down the equipment for the next job.
That leaves you with just one week to start all over again and find the next three jobs if you want to reach your income goals.
At that rate, it can start to feel like you’re a hamster on a wheel, constantly running around but staying in the same place.
But what if you offer a program for well maintenance that you charge $250 a year? Now you are starting to build a business that has a recurring income stream. If all your new customers sign up for annual maintenance, that’s an additional $9000 a year without ever having to gas up a truck. That number goes up exponentially as current customers keep their maintenance contracts and as new customers sign up for it.
That extra income could fund things like new equipment, more staff, a comfortable retirement, or a college fund.
And it offers additional value to your customers. As a well owner myself, my worst nightmare is losing my water. I can’t call into town—heck, I live 30 minutes away from the nearest grocery store! The peace of mind knowing my water is okay and that my well isn’t going dry is worth $250 a year.
Maybe you offer services like:
- Quarterly water tests for quality and pressure
- Emergency phone support for questions
- Discounts on emergency service checks
- Discounts on parts and repairs
- Extended warranties.
Creating programs, processes, or services that keep you top of mind with customers does more than generate recurring income. It also helps you get new customers.
Focusing in on Referrals
It still baffles me that when entrepreneurs and salespeople tell me the few referrals they get almost always close and do so faster, yet they aren’t proactively using that in their prospecting strategy.
Bottom line, referrals are still the best way for you to grow your business. If you’re proactive about it, it can be a game changer.
Now, I’ve been doing internet marketing and sales for more than a decade and guess what? This year, more than 85% of Unbound Growth clients came from referral.
What You Can Do Now
First, have a regular cadence in frequency that you’re staying in touch with your network. If you’re that person who nobody ever really hears from until you want something, nobody’s going to really want to hear from you.
If you have a maintenance program like described above, you have a reason to stay in touch with your customers. You’re also going above and beyond, which delights homeowners. If you do what your competitors won’t, you’ll be the one they turn to when someone they know says, “I think I need a well.”
Second, what happens during and after the referral is made is just as important as actually getting the referral. When you get a referral from someone, the person who’s referring you is putting their trust and reputation on the line for you. So, treat that referral like royalty. Otherwise, you may find yourself burning all your bridges and scrambling to find that next job.
Last, after your referral is made, keep the person who referred you in the loop. Let them know what happened one way or the other. Thank them, not just in words but in actions. Send a thank you card, or a thank you gift that’s personalized or handwritten. Gratitude is something
that’s rare these days and goes a long way.
The sales and the service aren’t over once the drilling is done. In fact, it has just begun.
People trust you with their water; without it they can’t live in their home. That means you have an opportunity to build a long-term relationship and trust, which can grow your income and reputation.
Carole Mahoney, as the founder of Unbound Growth, has coached Harvard Business School Entrepreneurial MBA students on sales and been featured as a top sales coach by Ambition and Sales Hacker. You can contact her directly at www.unboundgrowth.com.