Standing out as a residential flooring contractor these days isn’t easy. Homeowners can be jaded, demanding, and have a lot of options to choose from – including the option to try and do the job themselves. But standing out is essential. Especially if you want to start landing more quality jobs and grow your business.
So how do you stand out from the crowd? Better yet, how do you stand out so much that clients are lining up to work with you? If that sounds too good to be true, then you probably haven’t heard of a unique sales position (USP). A USP is a tangible, value-driven advantage you offer over the competition. When used correctly, a strong USP can mean the difference between a thriving business, and a struggling one.
If you want to create a highly successful hardwood flooring business without struggling to attract high-end jobs, a USP is a must. It allows you to attract more qualified leads easier and close jobs (regardless of your rates) simpler and faster.
Now, to be clear, a USP isn’t a slogan. We’re not just slapping a cute message on the side of our truck to warm people’s hearts. Instead, we’re communicating an advantage (or perceived advantage) you offer over everyone else – by highlighting something different about you.
There are many ways to strengthen your USP. But generally, there are three areas of focus initially that will set you apart from the rest:
Target a Specific Type of Prospect
Know who you’re selling to. Otherwise, you’ll struggle to attract the clients you truly want. First, we need to do some research on who we want to attract. Here’s a simple three-step strategy to help you get a better understanding of your customer:
Go on review websites like BBB, Houzz, and Trusted Pros. Study the one-star and five-star reviews for other companies in your industry. Make sure they’re working with the type of clients you would like to work with, so there’s an alignment of positioning.
Study the review feedback. Take note of five to 10 reviews that were very positive and what the customers liked. Then do the same for the negative reviews, but for what they didn’t like.
Look for patterns. By this point, you should begin to see recurring things clients liked and didn’t like about working with the company. Write all these points down. This is the basis for your customer research.
Now you have a pretty good understanding of the person you are marketing to.
Become a Specialist
Most contractors offer a lot of different services. They think that by doing this, they’ll attract more clients. I call it the shotgun approach. Basically, you’re just throwing stuff out there and hoping something will stick. This is the wrong way to do things for several reasons. Many times, having a large variety of services only adds more headaches, project delays, and slows down your overall company growth. Plus, it makes your marketing message generic and weak. Remember, when you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.
So, niche down your services. Focus on one core service you provide and dominate that sector. Pick a service that is most profitable, and has opportunity for you to gain market share. Over time, you can expand outward, but initially, you must become a specialist to build a stronger USP.
Create an Irresistible Offer
Most contractors put little to no thought into their offers or promotions. They either don’t have one, or the ones they do use aren’t effective. That’s because, basically, all they do is look at what everyone else is offering…and they do the same.
Discounting your services to get new business is a mistake. It trains your customers to only buy from you when you’re having a sale, devalues your services, and reduces your bottom line. Instead, make an offer completely irresistible and in-line with your prospects’ desires. Keep in mind who you would like to attract and what type of offers attract them.
Use the research you did from the review websites to identify an area of frustration your ideal customer might have.
Most people want good value, not just the cheapest price. This means your offers should communicate they are receiving more in use-value than they are paying in cash-value.
Here’s an example of an offer that would attract someone looking for better value, instead of just a good price: “For a limited time, we’re offering a free lifetime warranty on all our workmanship!”
While the offers you make will differ based on the type of prospect you’re speaking to, the principles for making amazing offers will always be the same. Additionally, here are three more specific tips on how you can make your offers more powerful and increase response rates, no matter who you are targeting:
Use the word FREE. The word “free” will always get people’s attention. It’s one of the most powerful words you can use in advertising. Just remember to make it clear there are no obligations, and you actually deliver on your promises (e.g., if you offer a “free lifetime warranty”). No one likes the old bait-and-switch.
Make your offer relevant. Don’t give away tickets to a sports game or music concert. Not everyone will care about that. The only thing you know for sure is your prospects have some level of interest in your service. So, make the offer related to what you sell, or at least complementary in some way. No random stuff!
Make a guarantee. Guarantees are a great tool to use in your irresistible offer because they reduce risk and increase certainty for the prospect. Especially if you’re willing to put your money where your mouth is. Put all the risk on you and take as much as you can off the prospect.
While these might seem like small changes initially, over time this will have dramatic results on your business success. Take these tested and proven marketing principals and make them your own!
Matt Thibeau is CEO of Savant Marketing Agency and author of Digital Marketing Secrets for Contractors. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 613.619.5319.
For additional marketing insights, visit contractormarketingbook.com to download a free copy of “Digital Marketing Secrets for Contractors.”
Hear more from Matt Thibeau on the NWFA Real Answers podcast. Listen to the episode “Digital Marketing Secrets for Contractors” by visiting hardwoodfloorsmag.com/nwfa-real-answers-podcast.