We all know how much easier it is to land work from a current client than it is with a new client. Recognizing an opportunity is one thing – taking advantage of it is completely another.
As a pavement maintenance contractor, you have four potential tactics for increasing sales from a current client. Each of the tactics is proven. Several contractors have used one or more of these methods to dramatically increase their sales.
- Sell additional services
- Increase your client market share
- Increase your client's budget
- Get referrals to new clients
Before we delve into the how-to of each method, let's take a moment to review what we know about your clients. Most of your clients are property managers of one stripe or another. They are responsible for keeping buildings or apartments rented. They are responsible for keeping their tenants or tenants' customers happy. Rent generates their company's income. Their parking lot doesn't generate income. Their parking lot shouldn't take up a lot of their attention nor their time. If it does, it's become a headache.
Your job as a pavement maintenance contractor is to minimize that headache. Until you are removing all of your client's parking lot headaches, you have room for expanding sales from that client. Now let's look at four ways to do that.
Tactic 1: Sell additional services
You should seriously consider becoming a one-stop-shop for your clients' parking lot needs. It simplifies his day. He only has to make one phone call to solve lot problems be they snow removal, potholes, trash removal, or whatever. You can do this by subcontracting the services you choose not to self-perform. If you are a sweeper, offer to provide pavement repair, marking, sprinkler repair, exterior painting, landscaping, etc.
This approach is often thought of as a General Contractor approach to pavement maintenance. Regardless of what you call it, this approach produces many attractive benefits. You close the door on your competitors. When your client is hiring separate sweepers, pavement repair, pavement marking, landscaping, etc., your client is forming relationships with several companies who could become your competition. If you can offer one-stop-shopping for your client, so can they.
How do you know what services your clients might be eager to have you to take off their hands and how much they might be willing to pay for that simplicity? Ask them "in a perfect world, how attractive would be having a single contact and a single invoice for all of your parking lot and grounds keeping needs?"
If you offer work, quality subcontractors will line up at your door to perform it. If you land enough of this work, you will be in position to negotiate attractive deals with your subcontractors. The good subcontractors will take care of your clients.
Tactic 2: Increase your client market share
Do you get all of your client's work or is the budget spread out over multiple contractors? If you are having to share the budget, try to get it all.
Arrange for a meeting, sit down, and ask your client why you are only getting part of the available work. Ask the client for honest feedback regarding your company's performance and perceived capabilities, and your competition's performance and perceived capabilities. Ask your client what his or her biggest pain is with the current arrangement.
Your objective is to uncover weak points in your client's relationship with your competition. If the relationship could be better, your client will openly express displeasure. Politely inquire as to the value of solving the problem in that relationship. "Why do you continue to hire them?" When the conversation is controlled properly, you client will let you know exactly how to earn more business from him.
Tactic 3: Increase your client's budget
How many of your clients understand how to maximize the service life of their parking lot? How many are spending enough money to maximize the service life of their parking lot? Few clients understand the long term damage created by cracks and potholes.