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A $4,800 marketing tactic that anyone can do (but very few really do it) turns into $749,000 in sales!

A $4,800 marketing tactic that anyone can do (but very few really do it) turns into $749,000 in sales!

February 01, 2009

And the winner of the Best Idea Contest is'

This month we wanted to find out who was succeeding despite the recession and why. So we held a contest. You're going to be shocked at what we discovered. Here, you'll see who won, how he did it and why it worked. Our grand prize winner received my $2,450 marketing system. We also had several great runner-ups, that we've incluced too. Here is the grand-prize winner as he told us his story.

 

What was the problem you were experiencing?

'Well I discovered that it had been a nice run serving my clients' renovation needs but I never had a good follow-up program,' said Peter Danas, construction manager at Kara Construction/The SPC Group Inc. in Ontario and our grand prize winner.

What did you do to turn it around?

It may not look like he's working, but at a customer appreciation dinner and cocktail reception Peter Danas generated $749,000 in sales.

'Although my clients were quite pleased with the results, I felt there was a need to associate with them on a different level outside the renovation atmosphere. As it was important to keep in touch with the clients, I sent them dinner invitations to the Keg Restaurant.

'I received 85 R.S.V.P.'s out of 145 invitations confirming that they were coming. My invitation approach was a customer appreciation dinner with the unveiling of our new services and our Referral Rewards Program for any new referrals.

'The objective in my invitation was also to bring any new friends in for cocktails if they were planning to do renovations in the future. They would have the opportunity to meet our entire team and to actually meet our clients on a one-on-one basis and discuss with them how their experience was and what they had to say about our company.'

What were the results to the idea you implemented?

'Well, I had negotiated a fixed price with the restaurant and all in all the evening cost me $3,600.00. Wow what a response! All my clients were so grateful and touched that no contractor had ever done anything like this. To my surprise out of the 45 couples who had done business with us, 19 of them were in need of our services again.

'We ended up signing $285,000.00 worth of work with the same customers. But that does not end here. I got stuck buying cocktails for another 32 friends that joined us for cocktails and let me tell you the Keg staff was great in accommodating the extra 32 friends. Well, we had to add in another $700.00 for cocktails making my grand total with tips $4,800.00 all in for this evening.

'To my surprise, out of the 32 friends that came in for cocktails 26 of them signed a total of $464,000.00 worth of work. I could not believe the results. I spent $4,800.00 I
became close with my old clients and met new ones and I ended up signing $749,000.00 in work.'

What lessons did you learn or what advice do you have for others?

'Well let me tell you I learned how important it is to stay in good contact with all your clients. Sometimes you don't realize what an important tool you have and it's always there for you to use. You must make time for clients to offer your services meaning, not only making time when you need to quote their projects, but take it upon yourself to give back to the people who make you who you are and to the people that become your loyal soldiers even when they don't realize it.

'With the rewards program offered I was now receiving free marketing exposure. All and all, it cost me 10 hours of my time and $4,800.00 just to end up singing $749,000.00. I strongly advise anyone out there it pays to invest in your clients. Be creative be sincere and remember a loyal and happy customer is always worth more than any contract you can ever sign.'

Try this idea ...

A referral program like none other

Peter Danas understands the value of referrals at Kara Construction/The SPC Group Inc. in Ontario. As much as 45% of his business comes just from past customers telling others about his company. How he does it is just as impressive.

After every job, Danas drives out to a customer's home and presents them with a bottle of wine and a flower bouquet to celebrate their new living room or addition where he tells them about his Referral Rewards Program.

For every job they refer, they get up to 3% of the value of the new project to use for their own renovation or 2% of the value of the new project in gift certificates to use at any store they want including Home Depot and Costco.

For a $100,000 project for example, the customer who made the referral, gets $3,000 worth of renovation work to their own home or $2,000 worth of gift certificates from anywhere they want.

'In the end, it truly pays off,' he says. 'I've had to do it 3, 4 or 5 times for clients.' The key, he says, is to make sure you always meet or exceed your customers' expectations by finishing jobs on-time and within budget. 'Your reputation is what makes or breaks a referral program like this.'