August 10, 2009

Do you market like a chimney repairer?

Who ya gonna call?
--- Ray Parker, Ghostbusters

Small chunks of brick fell from both our chimneys.

Let's say this isn't your idea of a Do-It-Yourself project. How do you find someone you trust to
  1. diagnose the real problem accurately
  2. solve the problem properly
  3. charge a reasonable price
  4. stand behind the work
We asked neighbours but knew how referrals lead you astray from our leaky basement this spring. We asked tradespeople we knew for referrals. We looked at ads.

Here's what we experienced, in no particular order:
  • no consensus (e.g., repair or rebuild?)
  • useless information (e.g., need for scaffolding, how to colour match the mortar)
  • no handouts
  • no company websites
  • no real email addresses (e.g., generic hotmail and gmail)
  • few with photos of previous jobs
  • few who went on the roof to inspect and photograph the damage: does your doctor prescribe with diagnosing first?
  • no written client testimonials
  • poor followup (eager to quote, but slow to return phone calls)
  • no request for our email address for ongoing marketing (e.g., an eNewsletter)
  • no clear differentiation (why you? in 25 words or less)
  • no certifications: can anyone repair chimneys?
  • not available when needed (except the lousy ones ... they were available the next day)
  • no mention of the home renovation tax credit to offset part of the cost
  • no offers post-repair service (e.g., annual reinspection or preventative maintenance)
Stand Out
We felt unsettled during the process. Since we couldn't gauge the quality of the recommendations or work, we focused on what we could see. And extrapolated. Even now, we hope we made the right decision. Your prospects may feel similarly uncomfortable. Maybe your current clients do too.

How different are you from
  • the chimney repairers
  • your competitors?
How easy to stand out by doing more. Just a little is enough.


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