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rodneyAs contractors, each of us have the capability of doing free marketing.  We are our own walking billboards.  Whether you’re at a sports game or holiday party, anytime someone asks, “What do you do?” of course you always respond with great pride and intention that this could be your new high dollar customer.  Right?   Your new acquaintance could just happen to be building his dream home and has always wanted a heated floor in his basement.  You mention that you have a hot water heated floor in your shop and that he’s welcome to come and look at it anytime.  This new customer ends up buying your premium package for his home for $55,000. True story by the way…and yes, it happened to me.   The cost of that lead?  Well, I went to a game.   Are they all that easy, no but some are.  Truly, more than you think.

Is there another possible lead out there that is just as easy to acquire and is simply waiting for you to notice them?  A customer that flies so far under the radar that you purposely do not do business with them, even though they called you.  Who am I talking about?  I am talking about the prospective customer that called you but for some reason did not buy.  Remember them?  You had a five-minute phone conversation with them and they said, “no thanks” to your observation or you gave them an in-person diagnosis and they rejected it without cause.  How do you know they bought from anyone?  Their need could still be unmet.  So, what are some overlooked reasons people don’t buy from you?  It’s not always about you…

MONEY – I received a quote from Sears years ago for siding on my home.  I didn’t buy!  Why?  Because I did not have the $16,000 they quoted me for the job.  I eventually bought from someone for $7,000.  Sears never called me back after the visit and I hate the cheap siding job I bought from someone else.

CIRCUMSTANCES – I quoted a new HVAC system to a customer that ended up not buying.  I assumed she bought from someone cheaper.  But, because of a job change she never bought from anyone.   This potential was still in the market and I wrote her off.

IT’S YOUR FAULT – I went four times to local motorcycle shops to buy an ATV.   Each time I asked if they had someplace I could try the machine out.  “Nope.”  They all thought I bought from their competitor.   This took place over the course of 3 months and not one of them called me, even though they knew I was a serious buyer.  I eventually got an email from a dealer 40 miles away.  I called and asked if they had a way for me to drive the machine before I bought it.   “Of course!” I was told, “You would not buy without driving, would you?” I bought two ATV’s at over $8,000 each.   I was the easiest prospect you could ever have.  But no one “heard” my question.   It was their fault I didn’t buy from them.

Most of the time we as contractors have no idea the reason why a potential customer doesn’t buy our product.  Truth is, we don’t always know if they bought at all, from anyone.  But, what we do know is that if they called you, then there was something about you, your company, your marketing, or your message that attracted them.  Whether they bought or not, they are still in the market for something.   And they cost less to attract back than any other prospect.  They already know you.  They will be impressed that you remembered them and still want their business.  If you messed up, you can apologize and make it right.

So how do you market to this low-hanging fruit?

  1. Include them in all marketing.
  2. Add them to the company’s newsletter list.  
  3. They should get at least 4 phone calls a year from your company.
  4. You should have a plan for winning them backMarketing/message plan, phone script when you call them, or a special offer “just for them” so they can try your services.

The saddest thing for our industry is that an awful lot of people are not satisfied with their current contracting company.  This is a bonus for you.  With some strategy, commonsense, and intention, you could win them over.  Never be afraid to ask them why they didn’t buy and never be afraid to go after them again.  They are waiting.


Rodney Koop – Founder, The New Flat Rate