Ironically – and annoyingly – the best time to promote your business is when you’re too busy to do it.
This is one of the reasons ice-cream manufacturers advertise in the summer and drinks companies use most of their advertising budget just before Christmas.
Of course, it is easier for them as they have dedicated marketing departments, but it’s a whole lot more difficult if the people responsible for selling are also the ones who have to carry out installations and service calls.
We have had a good summer so far, which has been good for business, but cooler weather will be with us before we know it and people will start to forget how uncomfortably hot their offices, shops or homes were, and other financial priorities will override their desire for air conditioning.
No matter how busy we are, it is vitally important that we promote air conditioning products and services now; remind people how much more comfortable they could be and how the finances could stack up much better than they think.
Even if you haven’t got the resources to organise a leaflet drop or local advertising, a key step would be to ensure you follow up sales leads and enquiries – within an hour if possible. Recent research shows that you are seven times more likely to convert an enquiry to a sale if you follow up within an hour, than if you leave it longer.
The research also showed that the prospects of converting the lead into a sale started to fall away for every minute over an hour the lead was not followed up. You may not be the only company the potential customer has gone to. You may think that no one would neglect to follow up a sales lead, but the research revealed that, for SMEs, 40 to 50 per cent of all inbound sales leads are never followed up.
Even if you can’t install a system until the end of September or October, potential customers often think they can get away with not buying air conditioning until the beginning of the following summer. If the following summer is cooler, they may lose interest. Get back to them within an hour of their initial enquiry and hit them with the benefits of heating with air conditioning – and the government support available in some circumstances.
Get them to sign on the dotted line while they are still sweating.
I know this comes under the heading of something that would be nice to do in theory, but not enough time to do in practice.
But think how long a follow-up call takes – only up to five minutes usually, and they can be made on site while you’re waiting for a part, or for the sparkies to get power to you.
Yes, you will still need to do a site survey, but it will be worth it to have those jobs in the bank for the coming months.
Julian Brunnock is sales and marketing director of Clivet UK