How To Fill Your Order Book Under Lockdown
For small business owners and tradespeople, lockdown has seen much of the day-to-day work cancelled and replaced by only essential and urgent jobs at the most. If you are not currently able to work or run your business, then it can be a scary time.
While there is support out there to get you through this time, you can use this time to prepare your business for the future. In our last post, we looked at business improvements you can make while in lockdown. In this post, we look at the steps you can make to get your order book and diary filled so you can hit the ground running after lockdown.
It’s an excellent time to start looking for new clients. While people are stuck at home, all the jobs they need/want doing are going to be harder to ignore. As a result, there are a lot of potential clients that will be looking for ideas and tradespeople who can help that make valuable home improvements.
So, how can you make sure you capitalise on this?
Here are a few tips to help you get work lined up.
Follow Up On Old Enquiries
While you have some time on your hands, why not go back through your old enquiries? Any that fizzled out, or perhaps was not the right time for the client could be an excellent place to start. Now is an excellent opportunity to send an email to check-in. Ask if they got the work done (so you can cross the option off the list) or if they interested in getting it done after the lockdown ends.
If you don’t have a robust system to track and manage enquires, then this might be the time to look into one. Use this time to develop your customer relationship management system for a more organised future. A well-designed CRM system like Workforce, can help you with your data collection as well as tracking your follow-ups and progress. The benefits of these apps are that you are better able to retain clients. Given that every customer is precious right now, having a tool to ensure you don’t miss or forget an opportunity is vital.
Ask For Reviews
You can also use this time to ask some of your previous customers for review. If they are home with time on their hands, they may be more willing and able to complete a reference for you. Having a good track record online is vital. Since all research new clients will be doing is online, that’s where you need to be shining.
If you have a website or social media, then get the reviews up there. Anyone who uses Rated People, My Builder or other tradesperson comparison sites knows how much of a difference it makes to have reviews. If you’re not on one of these sites yet, then you can read all about them in this guide to picking the right one for you.
Do be a little selective in your choices of clients to ask. Try and pick the ones whom you think will have good and honest things to say. The best reviews are ones that are positive but not too effusive.
Run A Promotion
Now is an excellent time to run a promotion. People will be on the hunt for a bargain. There are loads of things you can do. Just pick one that will work for you. Ideas of promotions are;
- Referral schemes (friends and family recommendations and discounts)
- Discount if a client commits to a job now
- Gift cards, to buy now at a preferential rate – e.g. £20 gift card for £25 worth of work when used
- Run a competition – for example, ask for pictures of the work people need doing – the most deserving/funny/inspiring entry will get a discount.
Support Your Local Community
Everyone is on the lookout for good news stories. If there is any way you can offer your time or skills to support the local community, then go for it. Then, make sure you tell people about it. Do you have any PPE you can donate? Can you use your van to make shopping deliveries? Can you think of a way to support the NHS or other key workers?
Anything in this vein will be positively received and will help you to stick in the mind of people who hear about your good deed. Then, when normal life resumes, you’ll have people ready and willing to repay the favour by supporting your business.
Start/Improve Your Online Presence
Your online presence has never been more critical. This is a good chance to make sure your website is doing what it should. If you’ve never had an SEO professional look at your website, then now is a great opportunity. They can advise you on how to get the most out of your online presence.
If you aren’t on social media with your business, then now is the time. Depending on what you do, pick one social media platform and build a presence. Instagram is a solid choice for a lot a tradespeople. You can easily show off your handiwork, before and after shots, share tips or showcase videos.
Share Your Expertise
With everyone trapped at home, many folks will be turning their hands to DIY. This is an opportunity for you to connect with future clients. Why not share some tips of your trade for anyone trying to cope in your absence?
By providing guidance and support, you will be engaging with clients who will remember you and they will look to your services in the future. Anything you can do to add value to someone’s life right now is going to have a positive impact on your future business.
In recent weeks, there has been a rise in tradespeople offering virtual services. This has been to either offer quotes via video consultations or to help fix easy to solve problems around the home, without sending an expert to visit. Utilising video technology to connect with your clients can be a great way to book in future jobs and support clients during the current lockdown.
If you have any projects you want to get done at home, then why not document and share them? You can show people what you do and talk them through how you do it. This will show people the skills you have to offer and will be a way to showcase the quality of the work you do.
Now is an excellent time to network with other local tradespeople. You’re all in the same boat and can support each other. All you need to do is find a few people who you are happy to give referrals to. If they do the same for you, then you all win. Clients always appreciate tips for other tradespeople, and these tips can be good prospects.
To Sum Up
The real message here is, don’t disappear. Use this time to get yourself out there, be seen and heard. Don’t just sit back and wait for this to all blow over, instead be proactive and positive, so you can really hit the ground running when it is safe to return to work.
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