Written by Chris Lambrinides
CHAPTER 11 - TRANSACTIONAL PAPERWORK
Paid Traffic Intro
The transactional paperwork you use for the back and forth with your customer is a great place to market your services continually. Use any transaction or interaction with a customer as an opportunity to do so. It sounds obnoxious to say, but it can be done in a very classy way. Here are a few pieces of transactional- type documents you should have in your business, as well as a few ways you can use these to continue your marketing efforts.
Don’t forget what we said about branding. These should deliver the same consistent message as do the other components of your business.
These things are awesome; get a thousand of them printed up. Anytime a potential customer calls for an estimate or enquires through e-mail or your website and does not schedule an appointment, fire them off one of these.
Five reasons to use Sparta Window Cleaning:
- Expertise—Over one million windows cleaned. We are the experts!
- Fully insured for your protection—Up to $1 million.
- Convenience—Appointments are available six days a week to fit the needs of your schedule.
- Speed—Fast, easy scheduling and job completion.
- Guaranteed—Streak-free windows guaranteed. If it’s wrong, we will make it right, or you don’t pay a dime.
You can deliver a few types of messages on prospective cards, but I prefer to send something like this:
For residential services, I have no interest in personal on-site estimates. I believe they should all be done over the phone whenever possible. (That’s a story for another book, though.) If you absolutely must do an in-person estimate (and you’re going to have to), you should have an estimate sheet of some sort.
You’ll see the same branding continues, and I use it as an upsell for the other services we perform.
A customer may have called just for a window cleaning estimate, but there’s no reason while we are there we can’t at least give them prices for the other services we provide. Some of the very best and biggest jobs we have scored over the years came from customers who started enquiring about other services.
You should view it as your duty and obligation to inform the customer of the other ways in which your company can assist them, especially if you went all the way out to their property for an in-person estimate.
You may have told the customer on the phone about the other services you offer when they originally booked their appointment, and they may not have heard you. Or they may be so thrilled with how good the windows looked that they are willing to give your company a try on some other services. Use your invoice to remind them once again of all the great ways your company can help them.
Your invoice should not only remind them of what else you can do but also give them a price for those services. Point out other ways in which you can help them. There is no easier time to sell them than when they are thrilled to death over the work you just performed.
It can be as simple as this:
Notice how I not only mentioned the other services we offered but also gave the prices for them? Start doing this now. There is no reason not to.
Brochures of Other Services
Brochures are handy. You don’t need one right away, but get some when you can afford them. Think of it as a step beyond a business card, a place where you can lay out all your services that you offer, as well as all the ways in which these services can assist the customer. You can also talk a tiny bit about yourself and your company, but make sure you do it in a way that it’s not about you. It’s about the customer.
You can handle the distribution of the brochures in the same way as business cards and flyers. You can leave them or pin them up in all the same types of places. You can also leave them behind after completion of a job or with a customer after an in-person estimate.
You can even use brochures as a complete replacement for business cards. Anytime someone asks you for a card, give them one of these instead. It’s way more impressive.
I used one like this for many years; it was a great marketing and sales tool.
These are my favorite! They can serve so many purposes and at the same time continue to deliver the same consistent marketing message.
On the surface, a follow-up card is intended to gather feedback about how the job went and was completed.
You should be doing a follow-up call as well. But in the follow-up card, a customer will tell you things that they wouldn’t want to say to your face or over the phone. This is particularly important if you have employees or multiple crews out there doing the work. You want to know how your people are performing and how satisfied your customers are at the same time.
Here is how you should use follow-up cards.
The day after you complete the job, you close out the customer’s job ticket and process their payment. The phone call you place might sound something like this:
“Hi, Miss Smith. I just wanted to drop you a quick line to thank you for the appointment yesterday and to confirm that everything on-site turned out great. Oh, it did? I’m so happy to hear that. If you happen to have any friends or neighbors who you think could take advantage of our service, we would really appreciate a recommendation. As a small family company, we get the majority of our business from word of mouth. Thanks so much, and have a great day.”
Even though Miss Smith told you everything on-site turned out great, you’re still going to want to send her a follow-up card in the mail.
It should cover these four topics:
- A thank you: Thank them again for choosing you.
- A brief survey: The customer will likely be more honest.
- Ask for a referral again.
- Encourage them to come back and schedule again for a discount.
Here is what ours looked like:
Mail it in an envelope. Inside are a thank you card and a survey card. The survey card is stamped so the customer can send it back to us with ease, and it also has a URL that directs back to our site if they prefer to do it online. You’ll notice we again ask for referrals and also offer the customer a 10% discount if they book another appointment within the next three months.This will end up costing you about a buck per customer, but I believe it to be massively worth it when you realize all the great things you can accomplish with it. You’re thanking the customer, you’re reminding them, you’re surveying them, you’re looking for referrals, you’re upselling them, and you’re doing quality control. You’re enforcing your brand in their mind.
Leave Behind—Review Our Services
This is a piece that we would occasionally leave behind or mail out with our survey cards. At certain times, we were aggressively pursuing online reviews, and these came in handy for prompting the customer to leave us one. It was great because we would list on the paper whatever network we were most interested in receiving a review for. We made it a cinch for them.
Years ago, I got a piece of junk mail from the Nielsen TV ratings company. They asked me to fill out a survey, and they included an actual dollar bill with the survey. When I got that, you better believe I filled out that survey for them. I’m not even sure why. I guess I felt an obligation to after taking their dollar.
When my review-our-service-card idea wasn’t getting much traction, I remembered my Nielsen experience and started sending out a buck with each one. All of a sudden, for every five surveys we sent out, one customer would leave us a review on the websites we were requesting. It broke down to a cost of about seven bucks per received review, after we accounted for printing, postage, preparation, and the dollar bills. I certainly believe those reviews to have been worth more than seven bucks apiece and a worthwhile marketing expense. If you try this, make sure you don’t ask for a good review; ask for just a review. You don’t want to imply that you are buying favorable reviews; rather, you want to imply that you are expressing gratitude for the customer’s time regardless of the type of review they leave. Obviously, of course, you will send this out only to those people who you know for sure are thrilled with your service.
Here is one of our old magnet designs. It’s antiquated today, but the magnets are still out there on people’s fridges:
People love magnets. We always left one behind and/or mailed one with a survey. Don’t cheap out. If it’s thick and will hold seven pieces of paper to the fridge, it’s more likely to stay around a lot longer. These things have been on our customers’ fridges for over a decade and sometimes transition through several owners.
These are just a few examples of the different types of transactional paperwork you will use that can further reinforce your marketing message. Regardless of what you use, be sure it has a consistent look and feel with the rest of your company. You might get the urge to transition some of this to a digital format, and that’s certainly OK. You can deliver a comparable message with your digital communications. Please keep in mind, though, that with people printing less and less these days, the companies that still do it really stand out.