Renewing contracts from last year isn’t enough. Get aggressive and hunt out new customers and events.
With the first months of winter behind us, and the days starting to get a little longer, you can almost pretend that the busy season is right around the corner. During these slower months, you need projects to help pass the time. The best project of all is to plan out your strategy for the coming season.
I know this may sound intense, but there are years where you need to be more aggressive with your sales techniques. Maybe there is a new company in your area or one of your competitors is bidding jobs significantly lower than you. All that means is that you have to work harder and smarter this season, and that requires some careful planning.
Without fail, always start with your biggest dollar amounts. Do you have a big music festival or a large municipality on your list? Cross them off first by contacting them and trying to get them to sign an agreement early in the season. You need those large dollar amounts guaranteed in order to justify even turning on your trucks each day.
Once the largest jobs are locked down, move down your list. For smaller special events, the best way to tackle them is by month. Decide how far out you need to be and then plan accordingly. For example, if an event is in April, you want to contact them in January and probably again in February to ensure you will get that work again this year. If you have time, a phone call is best because you may get the order on the first try. If you are short-staffed, start with emails and postcards, which are much faster, and then follow up with phone calls.
Unfortunately, renewing last year’s work just isn’t enough. Events get canceled, municipalities go out to bid and job sites are completed. So you will always need new work. Break up your service territory between your office staff and have them spend a couple hours each day online looking for new events and upcoming construction jobs.
Then start hammering the phones and sending out emails. Depending on start dates, etc., you will need to schedule follow-up calls and emails accordingly. If the job is far in the future, I generally wait two to three weeks. If the start date is much sooner, I just wait a couple days before I follow up again.
As you know, it takes a lot of money to run your business. Each year costs go up, so you need more and more work to cover those fees. Remember to work smarter instead of harder, and you will be able to guarantee yourself a profit this year.
About the author: Alexandra Townsend is co-owner of A Royal Flush, based in Philadelphia.