You do excellent work that your clients love. Even better, you do it on time and on budget. You should be a shining star in your field. So why aren’t you able to book business in advance more often?
For many home improvement companies, jobs come in last minute, sometimes with considerable downtime between projects. While you might be able to recoup a few days off with a big job, having work on the books a month or two in advance is likely your goal.
Figuring out how to book business in advance without extended downtime can be done. Keep reading to learn more about how to get those advance bookings so you’re never without a next job.
Network Like a Pro
If you’ve heard it once you’ve heard it a million times: networking is essential for small businesses that want to grow. You’ve heard it so many times because it’s actually effective if you go about it the right way. Here are a few tips to help you start networking:
• Join business associations in your field. Business associations can help you become a leader and known entity in your community, making you a trusted resource for customers.
• Go to small business mixers in your area. Small business mixers allow you to interact with other companies that you can partner with. Don’t forget that many small businesses can provide you with referrals if they don’t do the same work as you. You can also give them referrals, helping you build a mutually beneficial relationship.
• Attend trade events. Many trade events help businesses and customers mingle and meet. Consider a booth or spot at a trade event where you can potentially meet clients or other companies that do related work and can provide referrals in your area.
Follow Up with Potential Clients
Every company in the home improvement business has provided a quote only to find a potential customer dragging their feet. These potential jobs can slip into the background and get lost for good if you’re not diligent.
The fact is that potential clients who didn’t end up working with you are still potential clients. Yes, there’s a chance they got a cheaper quote or decided to work with another company. There’s also a chance they never did the work at all.
Reach out to these clients! Follow up the week prior to meeting with a client or providing a quote. As time passes, consider checking in with them around the one-month mark as well. Sometimes clients need time to process the work being done or get their finances in order.
If a client doesn’t commit to work at the one month mark, consider waiting another month to contact them. They may still be a viable client for you, but if you reach out too often, you run the risk of irritating them and losing their business if they’re not ready to proceed.
Using a less invasive form of communication like e-mail can also help you keep in touch with potential clients without a direct phone call.
Reach Out to Past Clients More Often
Past clients that have hired you are an invaluable resource for getting new work. First, there’s a chance that they might need your services again, particularly after the one year mark. These clients are also an excellent source for referrals if they’re happy with the services you provided.
One of the best way to stay in touch with past clients is to send out a newsletter or semi-regular e-mail. These e-mails can include information about your company, but value-added e-mails are even better. For example, if you’re a roofing contractor, providing tips on caring for your roof in the winter via an e-mail in October is a great way to stay in touch with clients without it feeling too sales-focused.
If you are running promotions or discount offers, these can also be included in your newsletter-style e-mails. By keeping in touch with past clients, you’ll be more likely to book business in advance via referrals and repeat customers.
Make the Most of the Internet
The internet is your greatest resource to book business in advance without spending a lot of money. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of it:
• Create a website and keep it up to date. Your website is often a customer’s first impression of your brand. Keep it current and include plenty of photos of recent jobs if possible. Make it easy for customers to contact you.
• Use social media sites like Facebook. Facebook groups are a great way to reach new customers and talk with other business owners that work in related fields. When using social media, look to answer questions and help customers instead of making a sales pitch every time you post.
• Take advantage of Google business services. Google My Business is a great way to get positive reviews from clients that potential customers can see. Ask your clients to leave these reviews. Google Ad Services are also an excellent way to market your brand to potential local customers without breaking the bank.
Learning how to book more business in advance can provide your company with security and a full calendar to carry you through the year. Advanced bookings also help you better schedule your work. If you rely on job-based employees or sub-contractors, you’ll be able to ensure you’ve got your best people on the right jobs.
With the tips above, you can book business in advance and have a banner year. Soon you’ll be scheduling projects months in advance and the days of worrying about where your next job is going to come from will be behind you.