Do you know a hundred ways to save commercial customers, building managers, and facilities groups money on their electrical costs? Yet they must “talk it over” for every idea you present in a sales meeting?
This is a common problem for million dollar plus electrical contractors who often do no more than slinging estimates when it comes to marketing. Maybe you’ve been there.
Responding to RFP and RFQ, sharing your very best solutions for reducing costs with very few bites. Very often this kind of work is too much too late if you really want to grow your business.
Someone else walks off with your project. They even install half of what you know will help the customers. And they still get the job that should have been yours.
In some cases, you find out months later that there was a direct hire contract for energy saving solutions that you offer. The project went to one of your competitors without an RFP or RFQ. A big commercial job with some outside company.
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As hard as it is to accept for some owners of electrical contracting businesses, that prospect may not even know you exist. They threw away all those brochures you sent. They don’t answer your calls.
Your very best commercial customer isn’t going to attend meetings of the Association of General for General Contractors. They aren’t going to read Electrical Contractor Magazine. Each energy saving idea is foreign to them until it shows up in their world in a hearable way.
The facilities manager at a big hospital who just awarded the $800,000 rewire and generator upgrade reads hospital trade publications. Those decision makers wrote that project for someone else because they really don’t know who you are.
Worse, that job only needs to be done once every 5 to 10 years. If you are in a rural market, then you may only have one such job in the lifetime of your business, or even a 100-mile radius. In a city, you may not get a second chance because the other guy now has the experience.
It is a hard grind to get a million-plus in kitchen ground faults. When “no job is too small” then all jobs are small. You can get the stability and security you need for a growing business inch by inch, just understand it is a lot of inches.
If you are going to level up to a ten-million dollar plus business, then you’ll need to know how to get this commercial work coming to you. Good news, I’ll get you started. Commercial business done right is big money.
One solution that puts you in front of decision makers in a meaningful way is a prospect newsletter. A prospect newsletter is not the only way, just a way you can start in some form with this simple report.
Your trade magazine or local coverage will not reach a lot of your customers. That’s why something mailed directly to them can make such a difference. The right format prospect newsletter gets read, passed around, and creates positive association.
Not stalking decision makers on social media, spamming them with email, or running pay per click hoping these busy people are searching specifically for you. Instead, a fun and interesting newsletter that introduces energy saving ideas for a specific audience – your potential customer.
You probably have a lot of questions (and excuses) like:
- “I’m not a writer, how do I put together a newsletter?”
- “What would I talk about? Hard enough to put stuff on social.”
- “What is a prospect newsletter? Why send it by mail?”
- “How do I make busy people read something I send?”
It starts with understanding how your prospects get answers so they can develop that original RFP/RFQ. Your commercial decision maker makes a request based on their knowledge. And they have choice, a private or public announcement.
When I was doing computer consulting, I simply got all my customers trade journals and newsletters. I interviewed customers about their challenges and concerns. Then I sent a simple letter summarizing what I found in the context of what I offered.
Today it is even easier, but you can start a prospect newsletter with a simple friendly letter introducing a cost saving tool in a hearable way. Not some pitch. More of an invitation.
You need to understand that the worst sin is being boring. Of course, if you send the same old “me too” crap they will ignore you. The idea to get started here is the easiest for you. It’s moderately effective, yet more effective when all about the decision maker.
It is a syndication strategy to use a reprint and case study to go direct to buyers about your value. You are saving them time. So, start your prospect newsletter with an article reprint and cover letter.
The cover letter simply introduces the concept with a few tips on how to get started. You aren’t trying to solve their problem, just introduce them to a credible solution they may have missed. Then close your letter with a soft offer for your “energy saving inventory” service.
If you don’t know what that is, simply say anything that lets them schedule an appointment to tell you all about their situation. Depending on where you are at with the marketing shared in COMMERCIAL ELECTRICAL PROFITS, you may even offer a special report.
DO NOT offer a “free estimate.” Folks want a lot of free stuff, but they only ask for free estimates when shopping. You don’t want shoppers, you want buyers.
This creates a tremendous amount of social proof of your value. The result is your phone ringing off the hook. But don’t stop there. Remember, I promised a “no excuses” first step. Start here.
It becomes a prospect newsletter when you include commentary, fun activities, community calendar, and other elements. Just being their personal clipping service doesn’t mean they will read a whole article.
You need something that takes them to a quiet place free of distractions where they focus on your message.
This perhaps is the most powerful thing about a prospect newsletter done the right way:
When I was using this method to sell millions in fleet fuel, I drove out an hour to visit a client. It was nearly Al Gore’s “Iced Tea” defense, I had to go and go now. So, I asked to use the bathroom before my meeting.
Upon finishing, guess what I found in the bathroom?
There were three most recent copies of my prospect newsletter. And for a business that only had one bathroom for all the office staff, I’m sure this boosted readership more than anything you can send on-line.
After a lot of coffee there is one thing decision makers cramped up in an office do. It’s spending a lot of time in the bathroom.
That’s the kind of prospect newsletter you want. It was fun, interesting, and worth keeping around. Yet it also had a community calendar, customer profile, and a service highlight for what I was selling.
My prospect newsletter right next to Paper Age and Paper & Pulp Magazine (the meeting was with International Paper in Franklin VA.) Where do you think they got the money saving ideas they wanted to discuss in a meeting full of decision makers?
Don’t delay, they didn’t have four different peoples prospect newsletters, they only had mine. And I didn’t see any of my letters, article clippings, or glad handing at trade events.
Get started by listing 12 energy efficiency or cost savings tips. It doesn’t matter if you write your prospect newsletter yourself or utilize a service. You’ll be on the way to helping prospects choose to buy from you.
With a stack of index cards start reading your prospective clients trade journals. Write new ideas on each card. Focus on excerpting stories about those who did what you can do and benefited from each idea.
The more you know about how they get new ideas, the better you can get in front of them in a hearable way. Let those editorial teams who already knows your prospects prime you with ideas for content. Many of my clients do this over the weekend at a hunting cabin, or on the plane in-route to a vacation destination.
Write your cover letter with sincerity and purpose. Help a friend get the answers they need to make great buying decisions when it comes to energy savings. This also works for other topics, yet energy savings is a strong top of mind concept.
A prospect newsletter is just one idea, I’m always interested in hearing about ways you are cultivating relationships with decision makers. When you’re ready for someone to look over what you’ve done, or you still have questions, then simply contact my offices.
Group calls are available to address questions. Understanding the value of a prospect newsletter can transform your business. You’ll get more repeat customers.
You’ll more easily reach hard to access decision makers. And, you’ll be top of mind for big job because you gave them the idea. Imagine what that means to your bottom line?
Justin Hitt is the Publisher of COMMERCIAL ELECTRICAL PROFITS. He helps commercial electrical contractors create and keep profitable customers while transforming business relationships into profits guaranteed.