It’s 8:15 am.  Your experienced, professional, sales oriented, customer service focused, technically masterful sales team is still at the shop.  Ready to go…with nowhere to go.  Maybe that sales team consists of just lil’ ol’ you.  All dressed up and no where to go.

Phone ringingSigh.  Now what?

It’s up to you.  Put on your Marketing Hat, and CREATE some action.

I have ideas…most of these great ideas I got from YOU.  Thanks…and thanks for sharing!

Recently, on the TV show Dateline, there was a segment on an out-of-the-ordinary sailboat race.  Fortunately, this adventure is captured in its entirety on film because a camera crew was tagging along on the favored-to-win boat.  As the crew worked to increase their lead over the other boats, one of them spotted a ‘water spout’, a tornado over the open sea.  The rest of the crew turned to look at the phenomenon, and the waterspout turned…and headed straight for them.

They zigged and zagged to avoid the tornado, but to no avail.  The tornado stayed with them, like stink on a working dog.  The sailors pulled the sails and lowered the mast.  They filled the boat half full of water so that it wouldn’t get sucked up into sky by the force of the massive funnel cloud.  The tornado actually settled right on top of them.  In fact, the crew PULLED it right on top of them by the power of their focus.

Do you get this?  Do you understand that you are so powerful that your every thought, every action is a force of CREATION?  The nature of reality is that we are crafting it.

If there are no calls on the board at 8:15 am it is because you have neglected to create them.  Your focus has been elsewhere.

We are powerful beings.  Watch your words.  Words impact reality.  Forbid the use of these words at your shop:

  1. Dead.  (No one’s dying.  You just need a few more calls.)
  2. Estimate.  (Estimate means, “No one is buying.  Just go over there and give them a price for work that someone else will do.”  Instead, use the word Service Call or Sales Opportunity.
  3. Never and always.  Get the data and skip the generalizations.
  4. Economy.  What difference can you make by discussing the economy?  Do your part to help our economy and grow your own business.
  5. Discipline your thoughts.  Prioritize and take action on your To Dos and projects.  If you turn your focus on the tornado…on the “trouble”…it will gravitate towards you.  It must.  That’s how the universe works.  If you focus your words, your thoughts and your energy on making the phone ring, the phone will ring, by mandate of basic universal law.
  6. Focus on making FRIENDS.  Friends are PEOPLE YOU HAVE FUN WITH.
  7. Quit looking for the silver bullet and do something simple.  My critics.  Maybe the word basic is a problem?  It’s reality.  Simple things done are more effective than fancy things contemplated.  “Winners do not neglect to do the easy things that cause success.  The definition of ‘easy’ is ‘something I can do.’”  Jim Rohn

The following are more ideas for getting the phone to ring.  Keep this list in your Getting it Sold section of your Bare Bones Biz Plan Binder.  Add ideas to the list from your own experiences.  When faced with an empty callboard, pull this list out and DO SOMETHING that will make the phone ring.  Save, edit and expand this list!

  1. Call your own phone numbers.  Make sure they are working.
  2. Call other companies and see if they are so busy that they are turning away work.  If so, offer to help…and take the overflow.
  3. Go to a restaurant, hotel or office building and find a plumbing problem.  Offer to fix it.
  4. While driving to the restaurant…play ROCK music.  Something from high school (football? Volleyball?)  Something that energizes you.  Energy is contagious.
  5.  Open Guerilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson and Do whatever is on the page.
  6. Does the weather pose a publicity or public service opportunity?  Fax 10 Drought Survival Tips to the local radio station.  Email Heat Beaters tips for staying cool to the local newspaper.  Flood flyers…why not?!
  7. Call the radio station and offer to do a call in show.  “Bridge” a broad interest topic to something you can help folks with.  Topic ideas…
  8. 5 things to know BEFORE you start your business…or buy your home, get divorced, get married….  
  9. Do people love their pets (motorcycles, cars, collections) too much? 
  10. Bio-terrorism…what would happen if the water supply were damaged?  The Plumber’s perspective, the health pros perspective.  
  11. To drug test…or not to drug test.  Invasion of privacy or essential to business people everywhere.  
  12. Breaking Stereotypes.  No More Buttcrack Plumbers, Swinging Stewardesses or Good for Nothing Kids.  
  13.  Survey…Seat left up…or down?  Toilet paper…over, or under?
  14. Wear a costume.  Colonel Sanders started his chicken empire at the age of 65.  He donned a white suit, with a black string tie, and traded 11 secret herbs and spices for a nickel a batch.  60 years later, KFC has 12,000 stores and the Colonel is the BRAND.  Put a costume on…and press some flesh.
  15. Craft an Elevator Speech…a 10 second introduction of you and your company that’s so compelling that people listening respond, “Wow…that’s interesting.  Tell me more…”  Here’s what an Elevator Speech is not:  “I’m just a Plumber.”  A good Elevator Speech is:  “Have you ever taken time off to meet a service person, only to have him or her stand you up?  Don’t you hate that?  At Benjamin Franklin the Punctual Plumber, when we say we’ll be there, or we’ll give you a Benjamin Franklin…a $100 bill.”  At Bare Bones Biz…do you ever wake up in the middle of the night stressing about MONEY?  Making payroll?  Do you know WHY you aren’t making any money.  I can FIX that for you.  Craft your Speech and give it to 10 people a day.
  16. Make your business card MORE FUN.  Add something personal, clever.  Add a new title – Jeff Gitomer says Super Hero.  Mine says KNOW IT ALL.
  17.  Give out 10
  18. Make yourself a sale GRID.  Do something that adds value to the relationship with each contract.  Check off every box in the grid.

Sales Oppertunities

  1. Contact the manager of your local supply house.  Ask her if she will make sure that your name is recommended to DIY’ers who show up at their counter, in over their heads.
  2. Trade out.  Trade Plumbing work for marketing, publicity, radio time, and promotional items…. as well as for other services that you may need.
  3. Work on an employee’s home Plumbing problem.  Then, canvas the area and offer to work on neighbors’ homes.  Yep, door to door.  Use a bullhorn.
  4. Park your truck in the Home Depot parking lot with a sign that says, “Do you REALLY want to do it, or do you want us to do it for you.”  If Home Depot kicks you out, you might create a publicity opportunity.
  5. Park a truck in high visibility places.
    1. Interstate entrances.  If it’s safe to do so! 
    2. Grocery stores. 
    3. Schools.
    4. Movie theatres.
    5. Parks.
    6. Sporting events.
  6. Find a parade.  Park the truck next to the parade route.  Hand out water from the back of the truck.
  7. Fax a “Not an Emergency” offer to 30 good customers.  Your schedule is flexible this week.  If the problem isn’t an emergency, you can give a discount and schedule it to fit when it fits.
  8. Write a controversial Letter to the Editor.
  9.  Post it on their internet version of this paper.
  10. Copy and paste it on 7 Blogs.
  11.  Leave a FUNNY voice message on one of your propect’s phone number.
  12.  Have your kid leave a message on the phone number…saying “My mom says that if you sign that agreement I may be able to go to college.”
  13.  Go to a Jeff Gitomer or Tom Hopkins program.
  14.  Listen to one of their cds in your car.
  15. Then, deliver the cd to one of your customers as a gift.
  16. Call your kid’s teacher.  Offer to go to your kid’s school and read a story.  Wear your service uniform, and arrive in the service truck.  Give out product samples!
  17. Put a sign in the window of a good friend’s place of business.  Make it a GREAT sign.
  18. Call your service agreement customers and see if they are ready for a checkup.
  19.  Change your front office greeting.  Make it FUN!!
  20.  Change your voice mail greeting.  “You’ve always wanted a Harley?  Your wife’s most flattering rendition airbrushed on the tank?  I am doing something just like that for a movie star client (can’t tell you who) and that’s why you’ll have to leave a message and get in line.” 
  21.  Learn a clean joke and tell it.  Jokes do work.  OR…repeat something you heard Letterman or Seinfeld say.  Just give them credit.
  22. Put a flag or banner with your logo and number on it on your house, car, family member or pet and wave it proudly.
  23. Call folks who said, “no” to the elective items on your list.   Ask them again.  No then or no never?  How long they are going to continue to lose money before they are ready for a yes?  Have fun.  Would you like that with a goat?  Would you like it with a boat?
  24.  Copy the next good sales-making customer service experience you have.
  25.   Deliver your brochure directly to the garbage can when you stop in.  It will make them laugh.  NOBODY buys from a brochure.  They buy from people they like.  Have fun with your customers.
  26. Mend a fence.  Call a less than satisfied customer and apologize.  Offer to help with any Plumbing problems to demonstrate how great you really are.
  27. Ask, ask, ask, ask, ask, ask, ask for business.  They may say, “Yes, I need your help.  Thanks for asking.”  And off you go…calls on the board, and business is booming.  It really is a matter of you making it happen.  It’s easy.  It’s something you can do.  It may be challenging and fear inducing and a bit stressful to get out there and ask for business, but it is something you can do.
  28. People buy with their HEARTS and emotions.  What is your kid’s close rate with YOU?  Spend some time analyzing how your kid sells YOU.
  29. Buy a company.  It’s easier than you think.  Call me if you need help.
  30. Buy a defunct phone number of one of your competitors.
  31.  Door hangers…catchy headline, good offer, bright paper.
  32. Host a Coffee Club – we call ours Cup O’Jo Club – at a local coffee shop.  We opened it to the public, there are no membership dues and we pay for the first 12 oz cup of regular coffee.  This is an informal gathering to discuss current events, meet people, showcase your business and just have fun.  We meet once a month – third Thursday of every month – from 730 to 900 am.
  33. Attend Chamber functions…and have a snappy Elevator Speech handy.
  34. Exhibit at tradeshows.
  35. Go to tradeshows and have plenty of business cards handy.
  36. Send emails.
  37. Send a note, make a call to newly registered business owners.  Find the list in the local Business Journal or check into it at City Hall.
  38. Send a direct mailer to a target market list…found in your phone book.
  39. Consider a Yellow Page display ad.  Ask others in your market with whom you don’t compete for experiences.  This is a pricey exercise…learn from others what works.
  40. Go door to door.  Find a nice mall or business park…hire someone (maybe your kid) and have them distribute fliers or coupons for you.
  41. Check into billboards.  Again…learn from others before you jump in.
  42.  Send a Thank You bouquet or cookie basket to the local fire station, school, police station.
  43. Hand out instant tattoos to kids with your logo and number.  A parade is a good place to do this.
  44. Sponsor a golf hole at a local tournament.  Offer $1 million for a hole in one.  You can buy insurance for this for an affordable price.
  45. Write a column for the local paper, business journal.
  46. Create cards for all your employees.  Jeffrey Gitomers employees all have Super Hero titles… Order Fulfillment Man!
  47. Buy concert tickets, choir tickets for the High School productions and hand them out to customers, nursing homes and senior groups.
  48. Every time an employee gets a compliment from a customer, deliver a nice note and a gift certificate for a local restaurant.
  49. Have an Octoberfest Brat Fry and invite the neighborhood.
  50. Park a backhoe in the yard, with the bucket up…holding a clever sign or character…maybe YOU?
  51. Send personalized Thank You cards, Birthday cards, Happy “Business Owners Appreciation Day” cards.
  52. Honor money clients have lost with your competitors.  Make good on someone else’s promise.
  53. Give out free HOW TO fliers to clients.  How to exercise, ease pain, arrange your desk ergonomically, talk to your doctor, etc.  Whatever your area of expertise is.
  54. After you provide service to your customer, give them a report card…so that they can see the value and be more proactive in the process.
  55. Seek out folks who NEED you and send them a personal note.  “I was driving by and noticed the wear and tear on the Southeast corner of the roof.  Did you get ‘tagged’ by that tornado last week?  That was something!  I can fix that for you before it becomes a bigger problem (leaky roofs create lots of other problems.)  Would it be convenient for you if I stopped by on Tuesday evening?  I’ll call to make sure.”
  56. Job signs on current jobs.
  57. TESTIMONIALS.  If you do only ONE thing…make sure you get testimonials from your happy, delighted, love-you customers!  Make them into newsletters, emails, pictures on your website, voice messages, postcards.
  58. More testimonials!
  59. MORE!
  60. Customize water bottles and hand them out at community events.
  61. Co sponsor the water bottles with a Youth Organization.
  62. Just go out and run your mouth to anyone who will stand still long enough!

“No mariner ever distinguished himself on calm seas.”

OK…back to the sailing race from the Dateline story.  Certainly, being run over by a tornado is a good enough reason to throw in the towel.  The Dateline reporter asked the captain if he ever thought of giving up the race.

“NO,” he replied vehemently.  “It was never a question as to whether we would continue to race.  If we could, we would.  The sail sustained some damage.  No big deal.  We all assumed that we would continue…and that we would win.”

So, the tornado was deviation from the plan.  They dusted themselves off, and set sail.  They came in a close second, an astonishing achievement when you consider that their competitors didn’t get run over by a tornado.  They were the only boat to have to pull their sail and mast down.  They came in 25 yards behind the winner, and they are working now to take the trophy back next year.

A “no calls” day is unacceptable.  When it happens, make a change.  It’s like falling down…and getting up again.  It’s like getting distracted, getting blown off course, and responding with a new focus.  It’s up to you to turn the tide.  And you are vastly capable of it.