When business is slowing, it's hard to invest time and money into ideas to boost business. But, it's important to try new ways to keep your business out in front of customers and prospects. Even if your business is not slowing, consider using some of these strategies to help keep the ball rolling longer. Here are just a few ideas:
- Have a booth at a local home show. There are so few rental businesses that would invest their time and effort in participating in one of these shows. One of the things you want to do is to differentiate your rental business from your competitors.
- Hold a "grand re-opening" or "anniversary celebration." Have some exciting outdoor activity to grab attention. Sponsor a "radio remote," where a radio station broadcasts live from your business, including interviews with your rental team members as well as customers. Give guests something to eat and drink. Invite local dignitaries to the festivities. Be sure to have drawings for door prizes.
- Start a grass-roots campaign to let your public know that your business is still around and better than ever. Just like in a political campaign, play to your strengths.
- Create excitement. The fact is that the equipment rental business is a very interesting business. Toot your own horn. Try press releases.
- Invite members of your civic organizations or Chamber of Commerce to an open house at your rental center. Some of these organizations focus on a single company every meeting, discussing who they are, what they do, and what products and services they bring to the community.
- Have a contractor or commercial customer open house or "demo day" at your rental center. Make your contractor and commercial customers feel welcome at your company. Sometimes you can ask construction equipment vendors to exhibit their products and perform demonstrations. They can also be the providers of door prizes.
- Have a "how-to" day. The words "seminar" or "workshop" may be too stuffy. You will have the equipment and expertise to make the customers' projects so much easier and so much better. Teach them how to do it.
- Invest in a couple of unique promotional giveaways.
- "Spruce up" your showroom, and the exterior of the business. Do a remodel. Get your employees involved and energized.
- Sponsor a school event. Don't just give free use of your rental equipment. Be really involved in the event. Typically, it doesn't cost much to sponsor a school event. Many local schools are desperate for involvement by local businesses. Budgets for these activities are becoming almost non-existent. Having school events is good for the community and has the side benefit of helping to keep your services and your company in front of the public.
- Plan now. Most of the above reminders take time to plan and implement so start the planning process. This is a great time of year to begin.
Remember that even when business has been slow or beginning to slow, it's important to invest time and money into non-traditional ways to get people into your rental center. Also remember to differentiate your business from your competition by doing things to pump up your business that your competition is not likely to do.
Dick Detmer is a nationally recognized consultant, lecturer and writer and has 35 years of experience in the equipment rental industry. For consulting, on-site employee training or to order rental training books, visit www.detmerconsulting.com. Dick can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (309) 781-3451.