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  • #16
    Re: I have an appointment...no customer, no job.

    I've never advertized in the Y-pages...likely never will.
    A friend did and got squat.
    Bar none, best form of advertizing...word of mouth.
    The Y-pages aren't completely dead...not yet, but you have to spend thousands on at least a quarter page to see any results, and they have gotten to the point where they play price wars on that as well...pitting contractors against each other to get bigger and bigger ads at higher and higher prices, for fewer and fewer calls.

    Local papers work ok, the internet can generate some business...but the trick is knowing you will have to filter your prospects at first.
    As much as 90% of calls/inquiries are focussed on price alone, sometimes you have to bite the bullet and work on the cheap.
    As often as possible it's better to move along to to customers who know you can't just run out at 6pm for $50.
    I've made the mistake of doing that, all to get a call six months later for something else with the same expectations, or be referred to uncle Joe who opens the conversation with "My nephew says you work cheap..."
    As for the type of prospect I have gotten to date on my website, there are two possibilities for the reason I get price shoppers, outside my thoughts that internet as a whole attracts budget hunters.

    I need to spruce it up, you get what you attract and yes, my site is generic...like I said, when I have the time.

    I might increase my PPC bids, if I'm not on the first page I suspect the folks that get to page 2, 3 or 4 are the ones who've already inquired with pages 1 or 2 and not gotten the price they want.

    Not intentionally butting heads with you, but back to the point...I see absolutely nothing to do with a website being the reason that customer bailed and never called.
    She'd already had other bids and chose me to do the job, then found someone cheap after the fact.
    Thats a reflection of her character, not a website.

    Comment


    • #17
      Re: I have an appointment...no customer, no job.

      Here is my 2 cents on the webpages.

      I advertised on the Yellowpages.com...Worst mistake i ever made, and i assure you it wont happen again.

      Made a website with the help of some good friends.

      I get hits everyday. But mostly from people typing "keywords" in.

      I advertise in 3 different yellow page books.

      I get most of my jobs thru the book and Service Magic.

      I get to track what calls come from the yellow pages, what calls come from SM, and what, where and when people look at my webpage.

      I thought the same thing. INTERNET, INTERNET, INTERNET.

      I was wrong. Service magic is internet, but more of a company then advertising.

      Your going to loose jobs either way, weather you have a webpage or not. Specially now with how everything costs an arm and a leg.

      People are going to shop around, its the nature of people. Its not the webpage that lost the job for him, it was not being able to close the sale right there on the spot.

      A 1/3 deposit wouldnt have lost the job, maybe a better presentation of the work???

      I dont think him not having a website lost that job though.
      The History of Sanitary Sewers Good site on the history of sanitary sewers and cleaners

      www.thedrainsquad.net Our website

      Comment


      • #18
        Re: I have an appointment...no customer, no job.

        Having a website does not guarantee a JOB.

        What takes a job away is unlicensed people who do it for less and not up to code.

        And I know so many owners in rich areas like Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach , Palos Verdes that don't give a ### if you have a website but they do give a #### is how much money they will lose!!! And most of them are using cheaped unlicensed bidders..

        Yes webiste is a portal of you to the customer that doesn't know you or who has emergency and shops on line. They don't shop for the website but for the price. They shop for the best deal.So even if you have the most greatest website and customer calls you and think you are high priced they still won't go with you. They will keep shoping.

        If you are established and have been in the business for 20 years or so your refferals and reputation speak for itself.

        But if you are a baby company then you should have a website that will appreciate in couple of years but will not guarantee you customers for right now cause people that are looking for a plumber from internet want the best deal they can find and that is unlicensed person who does it for cheap beacause they don't pay for other fees that licensed people do. At least here on CA.
        Last edited by mrs. westcoast; 05-21-2008, 01:51 PM.

        Comment


        • #19
          Re: I have an appointment...no customer, no job.

          Hold Up !!! Wait - You've Got Me Wrong !

          I think everyone is missing my point, SEE most of you have been shown the wrong side of the net, for example the gentleman above stated

          Let me explain a bit


          The goal is to EXPAND your persona through the use of the internet , not let the internet decide your fate ( example yellow book review ads that allow comments , ripoffreport.com )

          Reputation Management is EVERYTHING!

          Check this out:

          Originally posted by Drain Medic View Post
          Here is my 2 cents on the webpages.

          I advertised on the Yellowpages.com...Worst mistake i ever made, and i assure you it wont happen again.
          RULE #1 ON THE NET:

          If you need to PAY for anything to get started its 100% a waste!

          This includes directory listings, yellow book ads etc

          Originally posted by Drain Medic View Post

          I get hits everyday. But mostly from people typing "keywords" in.

          Service magic is internet, but more of a company then advertising.
          Right and I think that is what everyone thinks I am talking about here,

          What I am talking about here is bring your CLIENTS locally to your website,

          NOT pay some company to market you, THERE is a HUGE difference ,

          But when a customer is looking for your skill level and reputation ( and they are ) ANYTHING that you present to them can be used to your advantage to "close the deal" as you refer to below.

          Example:

          Customer: How do I know that you install a boiler and do a clean and professional job?

          YOU OR COMPANY: Well , I am glad you asked, We have been taking pictures of all our work for the last __ years and we have an online photo gallery with pictures and video ( wal-mart $99.00 6.0 mpx camera with sound and video ), I am sure you have a computer right?

          Customer: Yes, I do have a computer , Do you have a website I could go to?

          You Or Your Company: Yes, Actually we do, Its ABCPLUMB.COM/Photos, when you visit there you can see all of our most recent jobs and so much more, feel free to look around at our license and insurance info ( on another section, THIS CLOSES JOBS )

          NOW THERE COULD BE TWO RESPONSES:

          Response #1 from customer:

          Ok, I am actually in front of a computer now, ( Lots of people call from work on there bosses time, and with computers so available ), let me go to that website now and see the pictures ,

          Followed by: Oh wow , You do really nice work, You said you were licensed right?

          Followed by you: Yes, Just go to ABCPLUMB.COM/license AND you can see our license and insurance info.


          Response #2:

          Ok, I am going to look at the website when I get a second and I will call you back.

          Followed by You: Ok sure , Can I just ask your email address so I can add you to our free monthly newsletter, From time to time we offer specials and some free how to guides, even if you decide not to use us after seeing our website and joining our newsletter , please feel free to keep us in mind if you even shall decide to switch companies.





          Originally posted by Drain Medic View Post

          People are going to shop around, its the nature of people. Its not the webpage that lost the job for him, it was not being able to close the sale right there on the spot.
          See my above and I will add this:

          Now many people are willing to work through what is called "the dip".

          The dip is something that separates the leaders from the followers, the losers from the winners, the over worked vs the under worked, and ,most of all the "dip" is a good thing, because if it was easy , now one could be Remarkable. we would all be the same,

          A webpage or website gives you that extra BAM effect, How?

          • Check out our company right now online working live ( web can on job )
          • Look at customer video testimonials ( offer customers a discount for video testimony , Come ON don't be shy , you'll be amazed how many people want to be famous )
          • Strut YOUR stuff, photo galleries, videos , how to guides,
          • Warn them of unlicensed plumbers in the area ( start your own "Plumber fraud alerts )
          Just remember just because 10 years ago a bunch of crappy markets took everyones money then decided to leave the net , doesn't mean the web isn't a bad place, sure a website is only as good as you make it,

          Comment


          • #20
            Re: I have an appointment...no customer, no job.

            Originally posted by Drain Medic View Post
            ....Your going to loose jobs either way, weather you have a webpage or not. Specially now with how everything costs an arm and a leg.

            People are going to shop around, its the nature of people. Its not the webpage that lost the job for him, it was not being able to close the sale right there on the spot.

            A 1/3 deposit wouldnt have lost the job, maybe a better presentation of the work???

            I dont think him not having a website lost that job though.
            My mistake was not driving out the night she called to secure a deposit. We verbally agreed on a start date the following week and she was going to have the first payment on hand.

            I do that all the time, she was the worst I've had...price-wise.

            I'm not about to start driving out to secure payments on jobs under $1K...it just doesn't happen very often, people generally stand by their word and sign on the start date.

            One possibilty is recording a verbal agreement over the phone, but that might seem drastic to the every day customer, and it just doesn't happen often enough to warrant it...yet.

            This was an unusual exception and a lesson for me...get off my azz and get a signature on larger jobs, specify a scheduling fee.
            We'd go out of business if every customer were this way...imagine having to secure a signature for every job that comes along prior to start.

            Comment


            • #21
              Re: I have an appointment...no customer, no job.

              Skool, I see you as an invaluable asset here, let me say that to be clear.

              However, I stand by what I said about becoming overdependant on technology.
              An example is referring a customer to a website, instead of handing them a list of references and fielding their questions/concerns in person.
              Explain to them how the new boiler will save money on their bill, tell them how dependable the name boiler is that you'd like to install, walk them through efficiency ratings and think with them on how much they may save.
              I frequently send E-mails to customers with MFG links, whom might be inundated with too much detail to remember, so they can review.
              On occasion I'll even have a customer E-mail me pics so I can determine the make, model or brand name of an existing product...thats where the internet is very useful.
              It's a way to get my foot in the door, yes...but once I've been there in person I just don't see referring them back to my website to "sell" them any further...thats my job.

              As for selling, a large percentage of our type of work isn't so much selling as it is being available.
              If I have to sell a water heater to someone who's basement is flooded and has no hot water, there's a problem.
              That problem is either I haven't been assumptive enough in my conversation with the customer, or they're staring at a webpage full of my competitors assuming they'll all be as available as I am.
              The selling on those jobs is usually how soon you can get there and whether I can get there at a time where they won't have to miss work.

              Comment


              • #22
                Re: I have an appointment...no customer, no job.

                Originally posted by DuckButter View Post
                Skool, I see you as an invaluable asset here, let me say that to be clear.



                Thanks and I feel the same towards you , ( Oh yea we had that mushy thread already )


                Originally posted by DuckButter View Post

                However, I stand by what I said about becoming overdependant on technology.



                Actually , what you may NOT know about me or even believe is that I hate technology and actually treat it like a dirty whore...

                Let me be clear for a second on were I stand on tech:

                Technology destroys the world:

                Here is just few examples ( I want to stay on topic here )

                • We buy video game systems so we can "play" tennis , when we can just go outside and play tennis.
                • We make friends on "myspace" and ignore our neighbors

                So Thats just a few example off the top of my head, BUT I totally agree with you, I rather live in a log cabin with my family , live of the land, teach a skill to journeymen for gold and then go to the marketplace once a week to get my supplies , BUT in the REAL world Companies Like Benjamin Franklin plumbing and using there website to destroy the little guys day and night THEY are some of the reasons why little guys are loosing work, ( another topic )






                Originally posted by DuckButter View Post



                An example is referring a customer to a website, instead of handing them a list of references and fielding their questions/concerns in person.
                Explain to them how the new boiler will save money on their bill, tell them how dependable the name boiler is that you'd like to install, walk them through efficiency ratings and think with them on how much they may save.
                Your 100% right if you can be in every place at once and want to never sleep. In person is the best for sure, But I know for me, when I am interested in something, sometimes I look at the website ( bestbuy ) and 'dream", "plan" etc about an upcoming gift or even addition to my home.

                See if you look at a website as "just a price list" "or some random" stuff then sure, forget the website, drive door to door with a moen rep, delta rep etc floowed by a semi truck with a rolling showroom

                But how many times have you heard :

                " I want to get a new bathroom ""someday"" "

                WELL - whats wrong with setting up future work?

                Give them a "Place to dream" as well as just look at prices, see MOST people see plumbing as "boring" and in fact I just saw this add in P&M magazine using that very tag line "Bored of being a plumber"

                Well, I really don't find my health boring, In fact when I touch something nasty , I run to the faucet,

                What about if more women started flooding the workplace?

                Times are about to change for the plumbing industry , Its now, Its here, Everyone can make a difference, ( ooops too much passion )



                So point being, the website has to be REMARKABLE , no excuses,

                AND YES, EVERYONE can be REMARKABLE, but many CHOOSE not to be!
                Originally posted by DuckButter View Post
                I frequently send E-mails to customers with MFG links, whom might be inundated with too much detail to remember, so they can review.
                On occasion I'll even have a customer E-mail me pics so I can determine the make, model or brand name of an existing product...thats where the internet is very useful.
                It's a way to get my foot in the door, yes...but once I've been there in person I just don't see referring them back to my website to "sell" them any further...thats my job.




                Yea, thats old school traditional , no dice

                In todays world you need to "create the virtual dream"

                Originally posted by DuckButter View Post
                As for selling, a large percentage of our type of work isn't so much selling as it is being available.
                If I have to sell a water heater to someone who's basement is flooded and has no hot water, there's a problem.
                That problem is either I haven't been assumptive enough in my conversation with the customer, or they're staring at a webpage full of my competitors assuming they'll all be as available as I am.
                The selling on those jobs is usually how soon you can get there and whether I can get there at a time where they won't have to miss work.
                Its not all about selling its VERY much about Branding yourself for the future.....

                Comment


                • #23
                  Re: I have an appointment...no customer, no job.

                  Originally posted by PlumbingSkool View Post
                  " I want to get a new bathroom ""someday"" "

                  WELL - whats wrong with setting up future work?
                  You can also suggest things that they may not even think about themselves. Everyone thinks their bathroom could be better (or that it is already great). Stuff like an outdoor hot water hose bib. A local company sent a mailer to me with that suggested, and if they weren't the most expensive company I might have actually used them for it. Things like that, which aren't "boring", but let you do things like fill your kiddie pool with warm water even in the spring/early summer. Or if you are washing your car in the fall, it won't be so darn miserable a task.

                  You can also use it to differentiate yourself from the other plumbers. If you wear booties mention it, people like to know that you will respect their house. Everyone will have generic stuff like "I've been plumbing for X years, and I am a professional." Unless you give them specfics as to why you are better than every other licensed plumber, your website will probably not help differentiate you from the other plumbers. If I don't have a reference from a friend, the only things I can judge you by are what you tell me makes you special; and price.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Re: I have an appointment...no customer, no job.

                    Originally posted by mrs. westcoast View Post
                    Having a website does not guarantee a JOB.

                    What takes a job away is unlicensed people who do it for less and not up to code.

                    And I know so many owners in rich areas like Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach , Palos Verdes that don't give a ### if you have a website but they do give a #### is how much money they will lose!!! And most of them are using cheaped unlicensed bidders..
                    I would never use an unlicensed plumber. If I wanted someone without a license, why wouldn't I pick myself. That doesnt' mean that I won't price shop among licensed plumbers though. Lots of people do the same thing with doctors (i.e. making sure they are in-network or at least accept insurance, and settle for less if the doctor we like isn't in it).

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Re: I have an appointment...no customer, no job.

                      Originally posted by PlumbingSkool View Post
                      Technology destroys the world:

                      Here is just few examples ( I want to stay on topic here )

                      • We buy video game systems so we can "play" tennis , when we can just go outside and play tennis.
                      • We make friends on "myspace" and ignore our neighbors
                      I guess you're saying I may want to reconsider my aspirations for becoming a golf pro/special forces commando in the real world....

                      You may think I tend to debate for the sake thereof, but...well...I do
                      (semi kidding there...but I'd go nuts if we all just flat out agreed all the time)

                      I did have a humorous thought on your point about Myspace and social networking online...(I do agree about M-space, it's cheesy with all the ads featuring semi-clad females)
                      There is a group of individuals I know of that all met online...they talk on the phone, hang out, go out to dinner, bicker, you name it, they do it in real life.
                      This group that I know of is planning a gathering ion a few weeks...I had to bail for personal reasons and will effectively have to eat my heart out as I listen in on all the antics...there's always next year.

                      I suspect you may know this group.

                      I and at least one other member of this forum met our wives online...took me forever to ask mine out on a simple date, online and then over the phone I made very sure I'd gotten to know her...we just married in August.
                      I'll give you my thorough opinion on the outcome in say, 20 years or so.

                      There is good and bad in everything.
                      The internet's forte is an ability to expose ourselves to a plethora of information at an instant.
                      It's weakness is the anonymity (as you stated to a degree above), getting an Email off the form on my site from a fella thats looking into boiler prices via Email, without leaving a phone number or address to go look at the job...then blowing me off when I ask if I can call him.

                      Then there's the DIY/HGTV fad...whole sites online dedicated to enlightening anyone who asks how to do what we worked so hard to learn how to do via blood, sweat & tears.
                      (My state is a bit stringent on unlicensed plumbing...technically you shouldn't be doing your own flapper...yeah, thats rough)
                      I'm not trying to be covetous, but at some point it has to be considered that landlords, unlicensed handmen, or hacks that want to charge customers to do what they shouldn't be doing can easily hop online and label themselves "plumber".
                      I get my share of those too...the folks that have invested hundreds, even thousands, in stock & hours of their time, or paid a self announced "plumber" a cheap rate, that expect you to come in and "make a few minor adjustments' for short cash.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Re: I have an appointment...no customer, no job.

                        Originally posted by cpw View Post
                        Lots of people do the same thing with doctors (i.e. making sure they are in-network or at least accept insurance, and settle for less if the doctor we like isn't in it).
                        Kinda Like we let our employer decide our type of health care....

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Re: I have an appointment...no customer, no job.

                          Originally posted by PlumbingSkool View Post
                          Hold Up !!! Wait - You've Got Me Wrong !

                          I think everyone is missing my point, SEE most of you have been shown the wrong side of the net, for example the gentleman above stated

                          Let me explain a bit

                          The goal is to EXPAND your persona through the use of the internet , not let the internet decide your fate ( example yellow book review ads that allow comments , ripoffreport.com )

                          Reputation Management is EVERYTHING!

                          Check this out:



                          RULE #1 ON THE NET:

                          If you need to PAY for anything to get started its 100% a waste!

                          This includes directory listings, yellow book ads etc



                          Right and I think that is what everyone thinks I am talking about here,

                          What I am talking about here is bring your CLIENTS locally to your website,

                          NOT pay some company to market you, THERE is a HUGE difference ,

                          But when a customer is looking for your skill level and reputation ( and they are ) ANYTHING that you present to them can be used to your advantage to "close the deal" as you refer to below.

                          Example:

                          Customer: How do I know that you install a boiler and do a clean and professional job?

                          YOU OR COMPANY: Well , I am glad you asked, We have been taking pictures of all our work for the last __ years and we have an online photo gallery with pictures and video ( wal-mart $99.00 6.0 mpx camera with sound and video ), I am sure you have a computer right?

                          Customer: Yes, I do have a computer , Do you have a website I could go to?

                          You Or Your Company: Yes, Actually we do, Its ABCPLUMB.COM/Photos, when you visit there you can see all of our most recent jobs and so much more, feel free to look around at our license and insurance info ( on another section, THIS CLOSES JOBS )

                          NOW THERE COULD BE TWO RESPONSES:

                          Response #1 from customer:

                          Ok, I am actually in front of a computer now, ( Lots of people call from work on there bosses time, and with computers so available ), let me go to that website now and see the pictures ,

                          Followed by: Oh wow , You do really nice work, You said you were licensed right?

                          Followed by you: Yes, Just go to ABCPLUMB.COM/license AND you can see our license and insurance info.


                          Response #2:

                          Ok, I am going to look at the website when I get a second and I will call you back.

                          Followed by You: Ok sure , Can I just ask your email address so I can add you to our free monthly newsletter, From time to time we offer specials and some free how to guides, even if you decide not to use us after seeing our website and joining our newsletter , please feel free to keep us in mind if you even shall decide to switch companies.







                          See my above and I will add this:

                          Now many people are willing to work through what is called "the dip".

                          The dip is something that separates the leaders from the followers, the losers from the winners, the over worked vs the under worked, and ,most of all the "dip" is a good thing, because if it was easy , now one could be Remarkable. we would all be the same,

                          A webpage or website gives you that extra BAM effect, How?

                          • Check out our company right now online working live ( web can on job )
                          • Look at customer video testimonials ( offer customers a discount for video testimony , Come ON don't be shy , you'll be amazed how many people want to be famous )
                          • Strut YOUR stuff, photo galleries, videos , how to guides,
                          • Warn them of unlicensed plumbers in the area ( start your own "Plumber fraud alerts )
                          Just remember just because 10 years ago a bunch of crappy markets took everyones money then decided to leave the net , doesn't mean the web isn't a bad place, sure a website is only as good as you make it,

                          Skool, right on.

                          But now your sending them to the computer, and they might check it out if they remember.

                          My flat rate book is also an evidence manuel.

                          You will see job pictures printed on paper in there, you will see my certs.
                          You will see detailed pictures of plumbing and sewer, you will see my insurance, etc. etc.

                          I would rather show that to them right on the spot then ask them to go to the computer.

                          I agree with what your saying, and the internet is going to be the future no doubt about.

                          I want a million people to go to my website, but to close a deal, i would rather do it face to face and on paper.
                          The History of Sanitary Sewers Good site on the history of sanitary sewers and cleaners

                          www.thedrainsquad.net Our website

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Re: I have an appointment...no customer, no job.

                            Originally posted by PlumbingSkool View Post
                            Let me ask you this...

                            How many people do you think are "searching" phone books ?

                            NOT many at all,

                            And for the "meta tags . organic search etc " , Sure , thats all good BUT everything you just mentioned IS for the bots, spiders, and machines.

                            What does the website offer for customers?

                            Lets take progressive car insurance for an example.

                            NOW, We all no "car insurance" is a HUGE market, BUT Progressive is a leader...

                            WHY - ?

                            Well its NOT from "traditional" methods ,

                            In fact "Traditional" marketing is DEAD as a door nail and 100% true.

                            20 years ago "MARKETING" was about WHAT the customer WANTED ,

                            In Today's world "Consumerism" is all about what WE NEED, not want any more,

                            People NEED:

                            • Choice
                            • Reputation Guarantee
                            • Piece of Mind
                            Please tell me how a "phone book" or WHAT phone book will allow your present customers and future customers to see all your Awesome work with the click of a mouse?

                            I think NOT , In fact the phone book is a waste ( Google local crushed this )
                            How many customers even know what awesome work is? Some do, Most dont. The best form of advertising is word of mouth, bottom line, the same way if I eat at a restaurant and tell my friends about it they will want to try it to. How many times have you gone to a restaurant simply because they had a high powered website? I can tell you I havent

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Re: I have an appointment...no customer, no job.

                              Originally posted by Drain Medic View Post
                              Skool, right on.

                              But now your sending them to the computer, and they might check it out if they remember.

                              My flat rate book is also an evidence manuel.

                              You will see job pictures printed on paper in there, you will see my certs.
                              You will see detailed pictures of plumbing and sewer, you will see my insurance, etc. etc.

                              I would rather show that to them right on the spot then ask them to go to the computer.

                              I agree with what your saying, and the internet is going to be the future no doubt about.

                              I want a million people to go to my website, but to close a deal, i would rather do it face to face and on paper.

                              Good Points , and YES face to face is the #1 deal closer, your 100% correct there for sure !

                              Originally posted by Masterplumb View Post
                              How many customers even know what awesome work is? Some do, Most dont. The best form of advertising is word of mouth, bottom line, the same way if I eat at a restaurant and tell my friends about it they will want to try it to. How many times have you gone to a restaurant simply because they had a high powered website? I can tell you I havent
                              How many people know what the word remarkable means?

                              Ask yourself that ......

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Re: I have an appointment...no customer, no job.

                                Plumbingskool, you sound a bit fanatical.

                                I don't agree with your ideas as presented. Yes, I have a website. Yes, I have yellowpages and some other marketing tools.
                                I get far more calls from the yellowpages than the internet at this point. I think there are more than one way to successfully market and the internet is simply ONE of many marketing tools available.
                                Water Heater Reviews & Water Heater Information

                                Comment

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