I’ve personally never done door-to-door marketing for gutter cleaning, but I know people that have seen good results from it and below you will find a few pointers that will help you with door-to-door marketing.
- Choose neighborhoods where people who own their home live and not rental areas. You want the homeowners to be there because they are the ones that pay for the gutter cleaning jobs.
- Choose neighborhoods where it’s obvious that people actually care about their homes enough to pay for gutter cleaning.
- The wealthier the neighborhoods, the easier it will be to charge more in most cases.
- Choose neighborhoods that have a lot of trees around them.
- The best time to see door-to-door sales success is right when the leaves have completely fallen off the trees in the fall, or right before they are almost done falling. Many people will want to have their gutters cleaned because this is the time period when the gutters will be the most full of debris. Some won’t want you to clean the gutters if they still have trees around them that haven’t fully been cleared, but will gladly schedule with you to come back at a later time. Don’t limit yourself to just the peak season timing as you will see clogged gutters all the time as you’re driving.
- Get yourself branded apparel. A shirt and hat combo is usually a great start. It’s important to look professional because you are showing up cold at someone’s home and if you don’t look the part of a professional business, most people won’t be able to trust you to work on their home. The first impression is key.
- If you can afford to get one, it would also help to get a magnet for your vehicle that says your company name, phone number and website. This will help with the trust building as well, but is not required. Also a branded vehicle makes it easier for neighbors to know what you’re doing. This will have neighbors potentially calling you, or even walking across to speak to you about coming to their home after you’re done with their neighbor’s home.
- Know your pitch by heart and deliver it with confidence and a smile. Here is an example:
- “Hi! How are you?
- “Sorry to bother you, but I just cleaned one of your neighbor’s gutters and was heading home when I noticed that yours were full and figured I’d stop by and see if you were interested in having them cleaned as well in time for the winter?”
- If you live in a warmer climate that doesn’t have the New England type winters, then you can change that last part to say “as well to prevent any potential overflows?”
- They will either say “no”, or “how much do you charge?”
- If they say no, thank them for their time and give them a flyer that describes your services and the reasons why they should clean their gutters. Then move on to the next home. You will find a flyer you can use with this course.
- If they say yes, then before you give them a price for their home, run them through the same step by step process that you learned in the phone pitch.
- Notice how I mentioned that I was just coming from one of their neighbor’s home? This is called the Jones Effect. If your customer sees that their neighbors have bought your services, they will be more likely to purchase it as well. This is even more powerful if you actually know one of their neighbors by name and drop it in the intro. “I just cleaned your neighbor Bob’s gutters…”.
- Don’t be afraid of rejection and don’t take it personally. Most people will be nice, but you may get some angry people once in awhile who might lash out at you and tell you to leave.
- Door-to-door sales is a numbers game. The more doors you knock on, the more people you will talk to and the more people you talk to the more pitches you will get to give, and the more pitches you give the more sales you will make.
- It’s best to do door-to-door sales if you are ready to do the job on the spot if they agree to your offer.
Door hangers are gutter cleaning flyers with a hole cut out in them that allows you to hang them on door knobs. There are two ways you can use door hangers.
- If you are doing door-to-door marketing and no one answers a knock at the door, you can leave the door hanger. Also, if you have a difficult time doing door-to-door sales, then you can just walk throughout a neighborhood and leave door hangers on each door.
- I like to use door hangers after I complete a job. I will have a door hanger that explains the need for gutter cleaning and up top I have a line that says something like “We cleaned the gutters for your neighbor _____ at _____ . Ask him how we did and give us a call if you’d like a free quote!” I’d fill in the blanks with the name of the neighbor and the address of the neighbor. Then I would leave this door hanger on the doors of the nearest 5-10 neighbors. This is a great way to grow your business locally based on the Jones Effect and through recommendations of their neighbors that they trust.
I have a door hanger that you can use for your business in this course.
Direct mail is one of the oldest forms of marketing. It’s very simple. You mail a flyer, postcard or any sort of paper advertisement to homeowners directly. What you will need for a successful direct mail campaign is a good list of addresses and a good promotional flyer or post card. Most services for sending out direct mail will help you with both the designing of the promotional material and the contact list. In this course you will find a good example of promotional postcards/flyers that you can use for your direct mail campaign. You will see that it has a good call to action with a time sensitive discount. These are two important aspects of any good promotional flyer/postcard.
Two good options to use for direct mailing:
Again, I’ve never felt the need to do cold calling myself, but I do know of some people that have found success with cold calling. You have to either have the ability or learn how to deal with rejection because you will face a lot of that cold calling. Just like door-to-door marketing, with cold calling you need a good pitch and you have to hit a high number of calls to see results.
You will have two different types of target markets for a cold call. The consumer, which is the home owner and businesses. Most of the people that I know who have tried cold calling have targeted businesses. The types of businesses that you can target are businesses that deal with a large amount of properties, manage a large property or large amounts of small properties. Here are some examples:
- Realtors/Real Estate Companies
- Property Management Companies
- Housing Communities
- Apartment Complexes
If I were to start doing cold calling, I would only target businesses because one sale could mean 10+ sales at once, or a large sale.
You could also target gutter installation companies in your area an come up with a partnership deal. Many gutter installation companies get a lot of gutter cleaning calls but they don’t want to deal with this type of work and concentrate only on installation. You could throw them a 10-15% of every job they send your way when someone calls them.
The other option is to target consumers. This is the homeowners.
Before you can start cold calling, you need to have a list of people or companies to call. Here are some places to start:
- Online Map Listings like Google Maps, Bing Places, Yahoo Listings (for businesses) – Go to google.com/maps and type in a business type and a location. For example: “property management atlanta ga”. Then go down the list and start calling.
- You can purchase a list of business types or specific types of consumers through services like infousa.com and infofree.com. InfoUSA.com has been around the longest and is known for their quality of lists. InfoFree.com is a cheaper alternative that will still provide great results. If you want just business lists, then SalesFlower.com is another option that is cheaper than the two. These services are great because you can narrow down your target market to a very specific category. For examples, if you were looking for consumers that lived in the Atlanta, Georgia area, who had homes valued at 200K+ and the household income was over $200k per year, you could put that list together.
- Get your local YellowBook and go down the list of homeowners or businesses.
Before you start calling, you also want to know your pitch if the person picks up and your pitch if the call goes to voicemail. Here are two examples. One for consumers and one for businesses.
Consumer Pitch When Call is Picked Up
You: “Hello, John?”
You: “Hey John, this is Dave calling from gutter cleaning because we’re doing our annual fall gutter cleaning for Oak, Maple, and Ridge St. next week and wanted to see if you wanted to get your gutters cleaned this year before the winter hits?
John: “Actually, Yah, how much do you charge?”
You: Great! We actually are offering lower than normal pricing because we are already going to be in your neighborhood. Let me run you through a few questions and I’ll be able to give you a quote right over the phone if you have a minute?
John: Sure, go ahead.
….go into the same questions/pitch that we already went over.
“Hey John, this is David calling from gutter cleaning. I’m calling because we are doing our annual fall gutter cleaning for Oak, Maple and Ridge St. next week and wanted to see if you wanted to get your gutters cleaned this year before the winter hits? Because we will already be in the area, we offer discounts to all the neighbors. If you’re interested in getting a quote, give me a call, or text me at xxx.xxx.xxxx. Once again, that’s XXX.XXX.XXXX. Thanks and have a great night!”
As you can see in the pitches I mentioned the person by name, because the lists should provide that information and it instantly makes it more personal and less like a random call. Then, I mention 3 street names. One of these streets will be the street the person we are calling lives on, and the other 2 will be parallel or perpendicular streets to the person’s street. The person we are calling will be aware of his nearby streets. This makes it seem like we already do gutter cleaning next to him and on his street which makes it seem like his neighbors already work with us. This creates a certain level of trust. Then I add urgency by letting him know that we have discounted prices for the upcoming week because we are already cleaning his neighbor’s homes.
This pitch is best right before the leaves finish falling, or a good deal into the process. Some people will want to schedule after the leaves completely fall.
Business Pitch When Call is Picked Up
You: “Hi, is this the number for Derry Apartments?”
You: “Oh, great. My name’s Jack and I’m calling from gutter cleaning. We do gutter cleaning for apartment complexes in Derry and was wondering if you needed a quote for gutter cleaning this fall?”
Business: “No, we actually already have a company that we use.”
You: “Oh, ok no problem! If you think there’s room for improved service, or if you just want to see if you’re overpaying, we would love to submit a free quote if you’re open to it.”
Business: “Yah, sure. That would be fine.”
You: “Ok, great! What would be the best email to send it too?”
“Hi, this is David calling from Gutter Cleaning. I just wanted to talk to someone at Derry Apartments to see if you were looking for gutter cleaning services for your apartment complex this Fall or if you were already taken care of? We would love to submit a free quote if are in need of gutter cleaning, and if you already have a company in mind, we would still love to submit a free quote if you feel like you could get improved service or if you want to compare pricing and see if you are overpaying. Would love to hear from you. You can call or text us at XXX.XXX.XXXX once again, that’s XXX.XXX.XXXX. Thank you and have a great day!”
These pitches are no where near perfect. You can use them to get started, but you should begin to improve it and test different variations to see what works best for you.
This is a very inexpensive and effective method to get new local business. Have about 50 18” x 24” text only lawn signs created using a website like https://www.signsonthecheap.com. Simple text only lawn signs printed at your local print shop will be much more expensive than having them printed online. Place these signs in strategic high vehicle traffic areas in your city/town and surrounding areas that you would be willing to work in. You’d be surprised how much business can come from simple lawn signs. The best results I got was from a lawn signs that I placed at the entrance of a rotary where cars get backed up during rush hour. I would recommend placing around 10-20 lawn signs and then once a week do a driveby of each lawn sign to see if they are still there. If they have been removed, place another one in the general area, but in a different area to see if it lasts longer in the new area.
A lawn sign only needs two text pieces because you want the text to be as large as possible and as simple as possible since people are driving by and can’t read lots of text that is smaller. All you need is the word “Gutter Cleaning” and your phone number. Below is a pictures of a shipment that one of my clients got recently. They come with the metal spikes as well and if you use the website that I recommended above, it will come out to about $350 with expedited shipping which is paid off in the first few jobs but then keeps giving more business. You can get them for around $200 with slower shipping and if you shop around. I like to avoid putting the area code and just the 7 digits of the phone number. People will automatically assume that the area code is their local area code and the phone number will be much larger which is very important.
Apparel and Vehicle Branding
I mentioned it in the door-to-door marketing section, but you should get branded clothing and vehicle branding as soon as you can. Just by driving around you can get business and by walking around in public you can get new business. It’s an inexpensive way to get new random business that you otherwise wouldn’t have. Also, when you pull up to a neighborhood, you will find that neighbors will notice. They are curious. Settle their curiously by making it obvious who you are and what you are doing there. This will boost business. A shirt or sweater and a hat is a great place to start. If you don’t want to permanently brand your vehicle, just get a simple but large vehicle magnet. Your local print shop can help you with this or if you want a cheaper price, look online for vehicle magnets. You can get away with around $75 for two magnets 2’ x 2’.
Getting reviews is extremely important for your business, especially for your online presence. We will go over the many places to get online reviews later on in this section, but for now, understand that reviews play a large role in your business. Many people have told me that they chose my company because we had good reviews online. We are living in a review based economy. When I go out to eat with my girlfriend in a new area, or even when we are looking to go to a new place in the local area, she will sit on Yelp and other review sites/apps until she finds something that is appealing for her. This same mentality now exists for every type of business. If people don’t have someone in their life that can recommend a business for them, then they will go out and search online. Reviews can make or break your business online so it is important to concentrate on getting many good ones. Also, no business is perfect. Eventually you are bound to get a bad review. It happens, and many times it won’t be your fault, but a customer from hell. Most of the time a review left online is written in stone. You won’t be able to remove it, so the only way to battle it is with 10 times more good reviews.
You want to get real, honest reviews. In my opinion, fake reviews are easy to spot, but maybe that’s just me. Also, most review systems are getting very smart and can detect fake reviews based on where, how and when they are being left. Using fake reviews can put your whole online presence at risk because you could be removed from websites that bring in good business. Also, I once marketed a business that put up fake reviews and the Better Business Bureau gave them a F rating and put an alert on their business profile to warn potential customers from using their services. If your business is online, then when people search for it, eventually the BBB profile for your business will pop up on the front page of the search engines whether or not you made one for your business name. Most people find that getting reviews is a pain and difficult. I have found that it is the opposite, all you have to do is just ask, and if you feel like you are inconveniencing them, then give them an incentive.
When I go out and do the jobs, after the job is complete and I can see the customer is super happy, I will tell him the following before they pay me:
“We actually offer a $5 discount for your time if you take the time to leave us an honest review online. Is that something you’d be willing to do?”
I’ve never had someone say no to me, and instantly I tell them to drop the price by $5 before they write the check. This makes them super happy and almost all of the people will then later leave an online review because they feel obligated since they said they would and you gave them $5 off. The best time to ask is before they pay because saving $5 now is a lot better than gaining $5 later IF they leave a review. $5 is a small amount for most people so they won’t even bother if you offer them $5 later for a review. Many times people will even deny the $5 and will promise to leave a review anyway.
Once the job is done, they pay, and they promise to leave a review, I tell them that I will send a review link to their email with the receipt. As you will learn later on, I prefer to send email receipts because I get their email on file which allows me to market to them next year, and they have my company information on file. Most people will lose the gutter cleaning business card you leave them with, but they will always have access to their email. I have had a lot of repeat business from people that no longer had my business card, but they found me by searching their email for “gutter cleaning” to find my company.
When you email them the receipt, thank them for their business and to agreeing to leave a review. Then paste the link in their for them to easily click on to leave a review. If the review leaving process isn’t common sense, then quickly describe the process. If they have a Gmail email address, then always leave a link for them to leave a review for your Google Places/Maps listing, which we will go over later. If they don’t have a Gmail account then leave them a link to leave a review on Facebook, Yelp or any other online presence that you have which we will also go over later.
In this description of getting reviews, I slightly went into some new age online marketing tactics but understand that reviews are an old tactic that will still be requested offline as well in the form of references. Sometimes someone you are selling to over the phone that doesn’t know you will ask for references in his/her area. What they are asking is for specific people/jobs that you have worked with that can vouch for you. I normally send them a name, street name, type of job and the kind words the person said about my services. This is usually enough. If they want to get in touch with the person to verify, then you can only give out a phone number or email if the customer agrees to be used as a reference. I would find a relative or good friend that wouldn’t mind a call or email once in a long while asking about your services for this.
This is a must for any business. It blows my mind how many people don’t have business cards to give out when they are so incredibly cheap. I just purchased 1000 business cards from Staples for $10. What!?
Business cards for gutter cleaning don’t have to be incredible. Keep it simple. Just put your name or logo on their, your phone number, your email, and a list of your services. If you have an address and/or fax number, put it on there. I don’t have a fax number because I rarely have to use it. On the rare occasion that I have to fax something, I will use an online faxing service like smartfax.com.
Give out 2-3 business cards after the end of every job. Thank them for their business and let them know that the extra business cards are for recommending your business to friends/family if they were happy with the service.
Like I already mentioned, you don’t need anything special. You aren’t a marketing company but a simple gutter cleaning business. Create something super simple and basic with the online business card designer that most places offer. If you decide you want something more fancy, I have a few options attached with this course that you can customize for yourself.