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Marketing Commercial And Defining Your Ideal Customer Profile
Marketing your Commercial business is completely different from marketing your Residential business (if you have one). More likely than not, your Commercial business is going to be generated via word-of-mouth, referrals, relationship-based marketing, or your ability to turn someone else’s misfortune (such as a demand call from someone unhappy with their current contractor) into a long-time customer through a top-notch experience.
Ultimately, when marketing your Commercial business, you’ll need to focus on the best way to plan, prepare, pick and perform, to acquire and retain customers sustainably.
Plan & Prepare
When do you want to target new customers?
Are you planning for a shoulder season? If yes, you will need to start marketing to these new customers about 3 to 6 months in advance. This can take the form of emails, commercials, billboards, Facebook ads, etc.
Where are these new customers?
Are they in your existing customer base? If yes, Awesome! You can start a targeted email or mailing campaign and link the webpage featuring your commercial services. Or send an email announcement introducing your new commercial department, like one ServiceTitan customer did:
“ When we added our electrical department, we sent an email blast announcing the addition. ServiceTitan has made this so much easier for us. We now use MarketingPro to send out an email after a customer receives service, thanking them for their business and reminding them of the other services we offer. If it’s an HVAC-R customer, the email would highlight our plumbing, drains and electrical services. This is the surest way to drum up new business from existing customers.”
Are they companies you already do business with (e.g. your office supplies vendor)?
If yes, this part should be easy. Keep doing business with them and ask what you can do to earn their business. This is the revenue circle. Revenue spent at your customers’ business comes back when they use your services, too.
If not, evaluate why you have not done business with them yet. If their company values align with yours, start the first revolution of the revenue circle. Make sure you bring pens, business cards or magnets which can be left behind. Remember to be the customer you would want them to be.
Are there geographical locations you would like to add?
Zip or Tax codes
Are new customers available through third-party facilitator groups? If yes, make sure you are aware of the group’s requirements BEFORE approaching them. Most large groups have the requirements listed on their website.
SMS, PVC, DirectSupply, and National Hot Water are just a few examples of facility groups some ServiceTitan contractors are able to service.
Pick your ICP (Ideal Customer Profile). Answering the questions above can guide you. Some questions ServiceTitan customers ask:
Are they a local business?
How much money do they bring in annually?
Are they a non-profit?
Is this customer a retail location or are they a strip mall?
What about restaurants?
Will you work with government entities or the local municipalities.?
Once you know what your commercial customer looks like, you can effectively market to them.
Think of ways to keep the revenue circle moving by becoming your customer’s customer. Encourage your team to do business with them. Think of businesses you already work with and purchase from, and start there. Ask them if they know any business who could benefit from your services. Spend money where you make money.
Perform every task like the contract and the continued business depends on it—from booking the call to collecting payment and everything in between. Not only will this keep their business but can secure their referrals.
Some businesses are willing to take a chance on a new contractor but the large majority would prefer to go with a referral from someone they trust. This is one of the reasons Commercial Marketing can be described as “taking care of a garden”—some seeds require little work to grow, while others require nurturing and constant care. You will run into the same experience with commercial customer relationships. How will these customers find you? Not in the way you may think.
Have someone from your team start making site visits. A commercial site visit can be as simple as going and having lunch at a location whose business you want to win.
Start doing business with the businesses you would like to serve in the future. Leave behind a pen, business card, brochure, etc. Say thank you for great service and ask to speak to the manager to let them know how much you appreciate the amazing service from their team.
Mail a letter or send an email to the business asking if you can be their backup HVAC, plumbing, drains or electrical company. Follow this letter up with a phone call to ensure they received the letter. This piece is very important, be friendly and if the answer is no, ask if you can follow up in six months. Then mark the date in your calendar six months later so you do not forget to follow up with the customer.
ServiceTitan makes following up on these potential customers more efficient. Whether you create a task with the due date six months in the future or schedule the estimates follow up for six months out, ServiceTitan allows you to track everything. No more trying to remember who to call on which day or depending on Outlook, smartphone reminders or other software to keep track of your follow ups.
The other perk is accountability. No more asking if your sales team, techs or follow up coordinator has completed their follow ups, it is all tracked and recorded in ServiceTitan. You will also be able to track their closing rate.
“ServiceTitan, especially with Marketing Pro, allows you to get really, really granular with your audience,” Gonzales said. “If I wanted only water heater customers with water heaters five years or older, and we've done their service in the past six months, in this specific zip code, I can get that granular with Marketing Pro, which is insane.”
“For commercial applications, the way that we can use it is to segment out commercial customers who may have only used us for plumbing. They might not realize that we have electrical, we have drains, we have HVAC, we have all these other services.
“We'll send out, especially to a new customer, we'll send up a, hey, don't forget, we can take care of everything. So that way we stay more top of mind.”