Yesterday I was one of five finalists for the NM PowerCircle Small Business Marketer of the Year award.
My application was a binder full of my daily emails. I explained the rationale behind my marketing plan and discussed how I use the stories from my life to keep people engaged and make a sale.
But while I can say that it gives me a steady stream of work and I am probably going to make more money this year than I did last year… I couldn’t say this activity led to these sales.
Not like the winner.
Joseph Santangelo is the owner of Sunshine Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning. This year he executed a brilliant plan that helped him find qualified leads, follow up with them and sell a dozen air conditioning units for $10-15,000 each.
He had a clear plan that resulted in sales.
But before I go into the funnel that he made, I want to talk about how he set his company apart from him competitors. As he explained in his presentation, when plumbers want to find an idea for how to promote themselves, they look around and see what other plumbers are doing. So what happens is they all end up copying each others terrible ideas, offering discounts, and creating a downward spiral race to the bottom.
Instead of comparing himself to other plumbers, he found ways to set himself apart from his competitors.
When they offer discounts, he did something different. He offered “the boldest guarantee”… and made sure that his guarantee was prominently displayed on all of his materials.
The guarantee takes different forms, depending on what people buy. But when people buy a heating and cooling system he had a “not a penny” guarantee that says that they won’t have to pay a penny on maintaining that system for 10 years. 10 years! His company will fix any problems that may arise.
Doesn’t that make you feel good about buying an air conditioner?
Another thing that he implemented this year was set up a “friends and family” membership. People pay a small monthly fee to be in this program. When they are in the program they get priority treatment, free maintenance on their systems and lots of other benefits. These are the people who are truly Sunshine customers, because when people pay to be in this program, they won’t go shopping around to the other companies when they need help. They will call him.
Finally, here is how he used direct response tactics to sell some expensive heating and cooling systems.
He started out by going where his potential customers were. He had a booth at a home and garden show. The people who attended this show were actively shopping for things for their homes.
Getting an easy yes
He made sure that his booth attracted attention. He had his big banner with the “boldest guarantee” promise. He had two air conditioners sitting in front of the booth. And he had lots of colorful balloons.
Whenever a family with children walked by he said, “Can I give your child a balloon?” Most normal adults say yes to that. Once they get the balloons they usually ask him what he does which gives him an easy, non pushy way to start the conversation.
His systems are very expensive. You can’t just walk up to a stranger and sell something like that cold. Rather than attempt to make the sale right away, he had an offer that was easy to say yes to.
He put together a free report, a consumers guide. When people started to look at his booth he asked them if they wanted to get the guide. 50 people said that they wanted the guide.
Most people make the mistake of just handing out the free information. But if he did that then he would be handing out his expensive books and he’d never hear from those people again.
Instead of handing them out, he told people that he would send the information. So they should give him their information (name, address, phone number and email address). He would mail them the book.
He followed up by mailing the books to all 50 leads. But he didn’t stop there. He had a system planned out with 12 different contacts over the next few months. He had phone calls, postcards, newsletters and other pieces of information.
Then, in June … just when the weather starts to get hot in Albuquerque, he sent a sales letter for the heating and cooling systems.
He sold 10.
Congratulations to Joseph! He did a great job creating a system that works.
I’ll be writing about the other presenters in the next few days.
P.S. I create a lot of the elements that went into his system. I write reports, booklets, newsletters, postcards and sales letters. If you need a system that will help you sell a big ticket item, give me a call at 505-515-7001.