Maslen on Marketing

10 simple lessons my builder taught me about marketing

If you opened last month’s issue of Maslen on Marketing, you’ll know we have just said goodbye to our builders.

As well as building a stunning new office for us, they have been busy on our house, creating a family room, landscaping our front garden, and completing sundry other beautification projects we should have done years ago.

Lloyd, who’s the boss, doesn’t have a degree in business studies, or a marketing diploma, he doesn’t have a corporate website (though plenty of builders do) and does not, as far as I am aware, tweet.

He does, however, own a very well regarded, successful building firm and is never out of work.

Having spent part of every working day for the last eight weeks in his company, I think I know why. And I want to share my insights with you in the following list of examples of marketing good practice.

As I have both corporate and freelance subscribers to this newsletter, I have 15 suggestions that apply to one, the other, or both types of business.

The list

1 Advertise where your type of customer is going to see it

Lloyd likes to work for people who want high quality work and don’t mind paying for it. He has barely moved further than our road in the last year. All he does is leave two vans parked on the side of the road emblazoned with his company name. Plus a sign screwed to the fence of the house he’s working on.

2 Build goodwill

You could charge for every little thing, but Lloyd doesn’t. He also bought our children Easter eggs. And flowers to pacify the neighbours when the concrete breaking got a little noisy.

3 Don’t worry about price, concentrate on value

Lloyd is not the cheapest builder in town. But he doesn’t mind and nor do his customers. Instead, he concentrates on delighting his customers.

4 Deliver more than you promised

This guy is obsessed with detail. “Fix doorknob to office door”  is one thing. “Then spend ten minutes ensuring it clicks shut just so AND all three screws are aligned” is something else altogether.

5 Do outstanding work

You can’t be expensive if your work is crap. So Lloyd makes sure he and everyone in his crew do absolutely brilliant work; from wallpapering to building my workbench, it’s all top drawer.

6 Put mistakes right quickly and uncomplainingly

Hard to think of one here, but one lot of paint wasn’t the colour we’d specified. He offered to repaint the room immediately at his cost. (In the end we preferred it and stuck with it, which is another lesson in itself.)

7 Don’t ignore your existing customers as you rush off in search of new ones

Builders are notorious for winning a job then disappearing on day two to start quoting for another one. Lloyd looks after you from day one and doesn’t leave till the job’s finished. His vans and signs do the soliciting for him.

8 Stick to your deadlines

Obvious this one. Nobody likes waiting. “I’ll be there at 7.30 am on Monday morning,” turned out to mean exactly that. Good job we had decent jim-jams on.

9 Be friendly

How may times have you dealt with grumpy people? Despite family troubles and recalcitrant suppliers, Lloyd doesn’t bring any of that to the site. He’s unfailing friendly, which people like. Duh!

10 Make your clients’ lives easier

Is there anything you could do for your clients that, while not exactly your job, would take a monkey off their back? Lloyd fed and watered our guinea pigs for two days while we were away. Not much but it made a difference.

And I’m telling you this because

If you want to be successful, benchmarking is a good tool to use. But think laterally and look around you.

Whose way of working do you admire? Figure out what they do that delights you, model it, and then spread it through your own business.

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