In today's world, that means being on the Internet. There are several ways to accomplish this with only a modest investment of time and almost no computer knowledge. Your website address should appear on all your fliers, ads and jobsite signs. With your website up and running, make sure prospective customers can easily find your e-mail and phone contact information. Include a cell phone number if your office phone is not always answered during normal business hours.
Once you have a website where people can learn more about your business, a logical next step is to help generate additional traffic to your site through the use of paid search listings on the Internet. Even if you're not a techie, in less than an hour you can begin to generate new visitors to your website by registering the "keywords" that people would likely use to search for a contractor. By far the largest search engine around is Google, and setting up an account for their "AdWords" is really quite simple. All you need is Internet access. Type in Google.com/ads, and in a few minutes you'll be attracting people from your market area looking for someone just like you … and everything to make that happen is in plain English!
A professional presentation
If your marketing efforts are working, you'll have plenty of opportunities to sell your services. But this is a whole new area for most people, so you need to learn what your potential clients know ... and then ask questions to truly understand what they're specifically looking for with this project to provide them with the information they need to make a well-informed decision.
A well-scripted presentation can go a long way to help the learning process. Ask yourself "If I were a customer, what would I want to see from the contractor(s) giving me an estimate?" Then make a list and begin to compile the materials you need.
Use a flip chart presentation that includes big photos of projects you've completed, certificates from training seminars you've attended and your other professional credentials, letters from satisfied customers and a description of the process you go through when working on their property.
Develop a presentation binder for every type of specialty you work with … and bring every binder with you when you meet for the first time. For example, if you do acid staining, concrete repair with stampable overlays, stamped concrete and so forth, create a presentation that covers everything you'd like to show – and say – about your abilities in each of these areas. All this helps set the stage for upstaging lower-cost and less-prepared competitors.
Your nearby office supply store has the presentation binders, but you'll need to fill them with compelling information, so utilize your suppliers for help. For example, small trifold brochures from manufacturers showing the different products you have access to can be a great way to help educate a client at a first meeting. Then when you have reached a point where you want to make a recommendation, you can provide more information dedicated to that product or system by using the manufacturer's professionally developed brochures, color charts and the like.
Local home shows
Most major markets and even many smaller towns have home décor and builders' shows designed to attract homeowners. This can be a great way for you to reach hundreds of potential customers who were previously unaware of the potential of concrete. Have inexpensive fliers prepared offering a limited-time "Show Special." If your response is good from the show, you may want to look into other similar events where lots of people can learn about you.
Connect with local professionals
You may be one of the featured specialty contractors providing work on one of the "Parade of Homes" usually sponsored by the local newspaper or home builders association. But an even better opportunity for long-term business is to get to know the local new home builders in your area and every real estate sales office in your market area. These folks are the first to know who is selling or buying a home or business … an ideal time to consider "sprucing up the joint!"
Thank your customers
Most contractors never have any contact with their customers after the job is finished. That's missing a big opportunity. Each month, take a few minutes to send a short handwritten note thanking every one of that month's customers for the opportunity to work for them.