Who is responsible for marketing in your company? Many companies operate with the understanding that the marketing department has the sole responsibility for making the phone ring and keeping the pipeline full of new jobs. If you have a particularly effective marketing staff then you can achieve some level of success with this strategy but it is my strong feeling that you are making your success more difficult that necessary. Strong growth and business success is a collaborative effort that is fueled from the top and achieved through a strong company culture.
Achieving a higher level of success in your business might be easy to achieve with a small change to your company culture. High performing companies have a culture that is tied to sales, growth and achievement. Company culture has been defined as, just the way we do things around here. Too many restoration companies spend their time focusing on the job that was received yesterday or even last week. Focusing on the last job, or even the current work in production and in the cue leads to a production-based culture. This is not all bad as it helps assure that the jobs are completed timely and in a quality manner but it leads to a situation where the company is often experiencing peaks and valleys in revenue and is unnecessarily burdening the marketing staff to continue to provide new leads in order to fill the pipeline with new work. When a company takes the approach that everyone is responsible in some way for marketing and sales you end up leveraging your resources and exponentially increasing the amount of contacts that can be made. Below I will discuss the roles and opportunities where every person can contribute in some way to the growth and success of the company.
· Project Managers and or estimators. This group of people has the most impact with clients and potential clients. Marketing staff can prospect to agents, adjusters, property managers and other work sources but after the phone rings the project manager has much more effective communication with the work source. Take this opportunity to communicate regarding the job and keep them informed of progress (as much as they desire – some do not want much communication.) During this time you can build a relationship based on trust and mutual interest and you can prove your competence and ability to solve their problems. People will work with people they like, so provide a great product and also work to manage and maintain a relationship during this process. If you meet or exceed their expectation and also have a relationship then they may go out of their way to get you on the next job. As project managers you can use many occasions through the job to turn a job into a client that offers a revenue stream rather than one job. You can also play a role in prospecting by occasionally visiting prospects sometimes accompanying the marketing staff and sometimes on your own. Use these times to become familiar with the potential referring individuals, understand their needs and also build your credibility. If you are busy with jobs then you will not have the same time to prospect but you also have more opportunity to communicate with agents and adjusters about work in progress – just remember to ask for the next job when you are on the phone.
Owner and general managers. The executives in a restoration company have the ability and credibility to get through doors that others in the company cannot. You should explore these opportunities and spend time every week talking with key accounts. These include claims managers, large insurance agents, large property owners, government contacts and event large management companies. You can work through your marketing staff to set up lunches and key meetings. As your company grows then you should take on a larger marketing role as you are developing staff that can take care of day-to-day problems. The meetings you have can be particularly effective and can also set the example for the rest of the staff. If you understand the importance of collaborative marketing then you have no credibility if you are not participating. Your efforts will set the bar for the rest of your team.
Department managers, leads and superintendents. Managers in a company frequently have interacting with adjusters and site managers. Take the occasion of daily meetings to build credibility for your company and your services. During your meetings with your clients, make sure that you build a relationship and clearly communicate about what you are doing and ask the customer about their concerns – this will help deliver cheerleader customers. If you receive compliments form the customer then let them know that telling this to their agent or adjuster is very important and also you would love for them to either write a letter of recommendation or offer a review online.
Frontline staff. Your job is to work to fulfill the commitments made by the owner, marketing department, project managers and even the leads or superintendents. If we do not perform as expected then it is difficult to get future referrals. In many ways you are the most important part of any relationship. You can work to solicit letters of recommendations and online reviews. These go a long way to support the marketing activities of the res of the staff. Being able to deliver satisfied customers and letters builds a lot of credibility and makes it easier to get the next job.
Office and admin staff. You are fundamental in client relations. The first contact with our company is often through the phone. First impressions are lasting impressions. Make sure that the communication is positive, empathetic and professional. You often communicate verbally and in writing with claims offices, management companies and businesses. If you can develop a personal relationship then that supports all the other marketing efforts in the company. Take time to make sure we are delivering what was expected; understand their needs and their systems so we can make their job easier. When this occurs then we can create synergies within our company and also with our clients. If they all enjoy working with our company then they will go out of their way to make sure that we are on the job – or at least that they job is smoother and we are able to get paid quickly.
General ideas - You own houses and or cars and have a personal insurance agent. Make sure your agent knows where you work and ask if they would refer work to your company. If you rent then you likely have a management company for the property you are in. Talk to the management company and ask them to call if they are ever in need for restoration services. Make sure your friends and family know where you work and what you do. Let them know that they should call the office if they every have a need for restoration services. If you frequent businesses in town, you can often let them know about your business – and let them know they should keep you in mind if they ever experience damage to their home or business. Use social media to share with your connections about where you work and the work that we do. If you are on a multi-family damage then let the other tenants know how to contact our company and become a first class representative of our company. If you see a business or home that is in need of our service then stop in and see if we can be of assistance. There are many ways in which you can influence the direction and future of the company.
One surprising difference between successful companies and ones that struggle to break through and achieve higher levels of success is based on company culture. Take the occasion to celebrate achievement. Involve your staff in company victories. When you can harness the power and influence of your staff then you can create synergies that propel your company to the next level.