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Advertising VS. Word of Mouth

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  • #46
    Re: Advertising VS. Word of Mouth

    Okay, I've been reading the forum now for a while and it seems to be well worth the time. Everyone here seems very willing to help. I know that a fellow plumber in my area and I talk often about things and we see things differently on advertising.
    Does anyone have experience in changing their ad layout and the response that it generated, or not? I do not have the advertising budget to "go big" so I am thinking of simply keeping the same size and changing the layout. Any thoughts???
    Keep it Green

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    • #47
      Re: Advertising VS. Word of Mouth

      Rooty, I don't know anything about ad layouts but I do know if a diligent rooter guy called me about referrals I would send him somewhat steady work. I don't have a sewer machine and I prefer not to get into kitchen drains even. I have enough of the work I like without those headaches. I refer my work now to the local rooterman and will only allow a certain two of their techs to do my work.
      They bill me and give me 10% off labor (though I didn't ask for that deal). I either forward the bill or rebill my customer. The customer feels I went the extra mile by arranging for the work to be done and getting the best tech they have (that's worth something!). I do followup calls to make sure the techs are doing right.

      So, my point is, if you can get a few one man shops like myself referring calls to you, you may be able to build a clientel or at least make it through slow times.
      Last edited by SlimTim; 03-20-2008, 11:06 AM.
      "Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied." Mark Twain

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      • #48
        Re: Advertising VS. Word of Mouth

        Originally posted by SlimTim View Post
        If one is not in this only for the sake of the work, but rather for the many relationships you develop through your work, then it kind of happens naturally.
        Of all the points in your post that I COMPLETELY agree with, this one truly sticks out.
        I've been laughed at for saying I make alot of friends with customers.
        I mentioned it briefly on another post above, I don't feel compelled to put on a game face & overdo the professionalism.
        I have customers that will hang with me in the basement & "vent" about women (sorry ladies, guys do it too).
        One customer calls me when he's down (I suspect), because we always wind up chuckling as we chat...he wants me to go water skiing at his lake property this summer, I told him if he some much as smirks at me the wrong way while I flop around...I'll swim back to shore.

        Point is, I have an advantage over larger shops that'll send young kids out on service calls, I make a concerted effort to just be myself.
        I have many customers that ask how my wife is, or I ask how the new job has been going, I see kids that have grown an inch in the last year and comment.
        These folks aren't the ones that look for the cheapest price, these are the ones that want to know for a fact that when you tell them something needs to be done, it really needs to be done & your not looking to add work for a profit alone.

        I just stopped in to do a little paperwork, now off to another job.
        This job is a customer that I've had from the start, I swear this is NOT an exaggeration...I told him I had no idea what it might cost because I couldn't diagnose the trouble on the phone...his reply: "I'd rather not take time off work...you mind if I just leave a blank check on the counter?"
        Relationships & trust are probably the single most important factor in growing a business...any business.

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        • #49
          Re: Advertising VS. Word of Mouth

          A dozen dittos to that Duckbutter. I'll go one further, I have a customer that sends me checks about every 3 to 6 months for $250 or $500 just to make sure I'll be available when he calls.

          I never invoice him. After a job is done he'll immediately send a check, usually for more than what i would have charged.

          I read somewhere once that people won't remember you for what you said or even what you did. They'll remember you for how you made them feel. (I guess the good work and pithy talk are just icing on the cake.)
          "Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied." Mark Twain

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          • #50
            Re: Advertising VS. Word of Mouth

            Originally posted by SlimTim View Post
            A dozen dittos to that Duckbutter. I'll go one further, I have a customer that sends me checks about every 3 to 6 months for $250 or $500 just to make sure I'll be available when he calls.
            Reminds me of another good topic: TIPS

            I'm odd...don't like tips..barring late night calls or extenuated circumstances.
            I'll usually insist that they not tip, it makes me uncomfortable, especially when it's not a difficult task.
            If they insist after the first refusal, then it's all fair, and I'm not up to looking like an idiot arguing about it.
            I have one customer that just does it no matter what, I got him good last time...
            Intentionally underpriced the work, then showed him after he paid me..

            I did it more for the humor...we had a good laugh as I told him "The boss doesn't like me taking tips."

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            • #51
              Re: Advertising VS. Word of Mouth

              Looks great. wonderful content.

              ____________________
              GAYATHRI

              Social Media Marketing

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              • #52
                Re: Advertising VS. Word of Mouth

                Originally posted by DuckButter View Post
                Of all the points in your post that I COMPLETELY agree with, this one truly sticks out.
                I've been laughed at for saying I make alot of friends with customers.
                I mentioned it briefly on another post above, I don't feel compelled to put on a game face & overdo the professionalism.
                I have customers that will hang with me in the basement & "vent" about women (sorry ladies, guys do it too).
                One customer calls me when he's down (I suspect), because we always wind up chuckling as we chat...he wants me to go water skiing at his lake property this summer, I told him if he some much as smirks at me the wrong way while I flop around...I'll swim back to shore.

                Point is, I have an advantage over larger shops that'll send young kids out on service calls, I make a concerted effort to just be myself.
                I have many customers that ask how my wife is, or I ask how the new job has been going, I see kids that have grown an inch in the last year and comment.
                These folks aren't the ones that look for the cheapest price, these are the ones that want to know for a fact that when you tell them something needs to be done, it really needs to be done & your not looking to add work for a profit alone.

                I just stopped in to do a little paperwork, now off to another job.
                This job is a customer that I've had from the start, I swear this is NOT an exaggeration...I told him I had no idea what it might cost because I couldn't diagnose the trouble on the phone...his reply: "I'd rather not take time off work...you mind if I just leave a blank check on the counter?"
                Relationships & trust are probably the single most important factor in growing a business...any business.
                Just reading through this thread and I gotta say, this is a damn good post. Take heed. Honesty is the best policy. Not being a phony bologna, plastic banana makes you more believable and human which is something we all can relate to. Of course, being overly honest can also have a negative effect too. But generally speaking, a no gimmick approach will assuredly result in repeat business. It certainly has worked for me.
                When I first joined here, someone asked me "how do you know you're that good?" Well, customers leaving a blank check is commonplace for me also. Entrusting me with the keys to their home under the mat without anyone being there also takes a huge amount of faith on the customers part.

                On a separate note, I find that working for another plumbers' customers has its downside and only helps to strengthen the relationship for someone that may or may not call me a month from now. I'm currently working on changing that situation with the help of threads like this one.
                Thanks

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                • #53
                  Re: What is the consensus?

                  Originally posted by PCPlumber
                  It appears that almost every post, with members who relies solely on referrals, has some fairly scary slow periods. Different forms of advertising demand different profits. New construction plumbers don't advertise at all and they have the lowest percentage of profit.

                  Plumbers who run their businesses on referral only may be getting these referrals because they are charging low prices. One member, I met with seems to have some fairly high-end and loyal customers who pay fairly well. This is not the same for all members. I don't want to insult any other member and say they are less professional nor do they have less integrity. So, don't take this the wrong way. Many plumbers cannot portray this same image. This leaves many plumbers with the need to get referrals by charging lower prices. Low prices = lower net profit.

                  There will always be the exceptional customers who don't care about price. To net a good profit this would have to be the norm.

                  Be honest. Are you meeting the expectations you had, before you started your business, by depending on only referrals?

                  Jack

                  Jack is not Burt. That is not my style.
                  Asking a question pertaining to expectations right now is not realistic Jack.Most of these overnight service plumbing wonders have sprung up in the last few years because of the excess monies people have and flat rates ability to communicate our neccessity to access it.

                  Now that the money is dried up I love it.I'm letting the newbies see my glee.I had to listen to them boasting all these years when I knew they didn't know their arse from a hole in the ground.

                  Don't see too many bustin' down the doors to get "into" the trade these days.


                  P.S.
                  Scumbags are out here in the dirt too

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                  • #54
                    Re: Advertising VS. Word of Mouth

                    For a small guy like me word of mouth is more than adequate. It gives me enough incoming work that I am able to pick and choose what jobs I want, and pass the others on to someone else. If it is something I don't want to do, or am not properly qualified to do I just simply pass it on. I probably have enough work to keep one or two employees busy if I wanted to. However, any bigger and I would need to increase my advertising to gain a larger market share.
                    Distractions are everywhere, don't lose sight of your dream.

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                    • #55
                      Re: Advertising VS. Word of Mouth

                      Originally posted by DuckButter View Post
                      What has proven to work is ALWAYS answer the phone, I've answered my cell phone at Thanksgiving while at the in-laws, I've answered the phone at 11pm, at little league games, while taking a shower, & during sex.
                      (yes, I'm kidding about the last two)
                      Bottom line, when you're reliable, people remember you.
                      I have jumped out of the bathtub on many ocassions to answer our phone after hours. Cell phone sits on tub with paper & pen right next to it. Of course you feel silly dripping wet with shampoo in your hair. But, damn, that call is money.

                      Never during sex! But I have looked at number on phone when interrupted.

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                      • #56
                        Re: Advertising VS. Word of Mouth

                        Word of mouth is still great, but to really get the ball rolling I think you need traditional advertising methods first and then word of mouth kicks in after some people try out your product or service and get talking to friends and family. It's good to have a mixture of both, but I'll take traditional advertising if I had to pick.
                        Schumacher Homes

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