We have a guy named James who comes around to our house and offers to do odd jobs every now and then. Pretty young, guy big grin, looks like he has had an interesting life.
When he came round last week it struck me that in many ways he is a great role model for marketing. We first met James a year or so ago when he knocked on our door offering to
clean our gutters for $20.Now we did not know him from Adam at the time. But the gutters really did need doing, it is a tricky job getting up on ladders to do it yourself, and for only
$20 – what did we have to lose? So we said yes, he set off to clean them, and as it was a pretty sunny day, he chatted to us as he did it. When he had finished, as we were paying
him, he said: “You know, your decking could do with a bit of wood preserver on it.” He was right, it could. But it is a big job – we have a lot of decking surrounding the extension to the house we built a few years ago. So he quoted us a very reasonable price … (Not that we checked or got any competitive quotes – but it seemed cheap for the amount of work) and we agreed for him to do it. A couple of days later he was back to do the decking. He worked like a dog for two days – sanding the decking down and hand painting it all with the wood preserver. As we paid him, he said: ”You know, if you have got any other jobs need doing – painting, repairs, anything, just give me a call.” And as it happens, we had been thinking about getting the main room in the extension and the hallway painted. So guess what? James ended up doing that too. So from what started out as a $20 job to clean out our gutters, he ended up with a small 4 figure sum.
Not a bad bit of business development work really! What were James’s “secrets”? Well, firstly, he had a low cost, low-risk entry-level offer. When we first met him, we didn’t know if he could do a good job or whether we could trust him. But for $20 it wasn’t much of a risk. When he did a good job, and when he chatted to us as he did it, he built his credibility and his relationship with us. Next, he used his eyes, ears and common sense to spot something else we needed doing – the decking. By working flat out on it and charging a good value price, he built his credibility and relationship further. Having built his credibility, he’d earned the right to ask if there was anything else that he could help with.
And there was. Now here’s the thing. James is “just” an odd job man. But how many of us highly qualified professionals have that low cost, low-risk entry level offer where we can prove ourselves? Not many. How many of us professionals keep our heads up and our eyes and ears open to spot other areas we can help our clients in – rather than just knuckling down, doing the work and getting out? Not many. And how many of us have the confidence in our own capabilities to know that after having done good work, offering to help in other areas is not being pushy or salesy – it’s actually appreciated by our clients who need that help. Once again, not many. 2012 is probably going to be a tough year for many professional firms. But I suspect James is going to do OK. “if you’d like more ideas and tips on marketing from Ian Brodie,
you can grab a free copy of his Pain-Free Marketing Blueprint here: Best Regards, Ian Brodie