Drumming up Business

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  • 07-15-2004, 01:48 PM
    nickis
    Drumming up Business
    It has been a few days since I did my first paid detail (and posted about it of course) and since then I have yet to receive any new customers. The past week I have really been concentrating on getting the word out about what I do but I have yet to receive any calls as a result of my advertising. I made up nice fliers with color photos and the tear off stubs with my phone number and website at the bottom and put them around town. I took some to some "car accessory" type shops and put some more on bulletin boards in an upscale section of town but my phone is staying quiet. I am confident in my skills and the rates I`m charging but it seems like no one around here is biting. I thought my effort was decent, I did 3 bulletin boards and 3 car shops, which took a few hours work and I thought would solicit at least a few calls, but I`ve gotten nothing. I need to know how to reach the yuppie population around here, but I`m not too keen on going door to door and I doubt they would be too receptive of that either. Word of mouth is definately the way to go but I need to get my foot in the door. Any advice?
  • 07-15-2004, 02:01 PM
    GraniteState
    give it some time I started the same way. It won`t happen overnight but If nothing happens in the next few weeks then try something different. Being a consumer as we all are flyers are something i see all the time and usually ignore. You have to be able to talk to some people if there are any local car washes around try talkiing to them to set up a detail day offer demonstrations, product advice, technique advice, etc. This is only a suggestion but the ultimat goal is to talk to people. Find a way to talk to people and your phone will get some calls. Another idea is to offer a couple freebies or signifigant discounts to some professionals, friends, family on the agreement they help spread the good word about your work.

    Good luck

    Jay
  • 07-15-2004, 02:06 PM
    JeffBruce
    Try going to local gold courses and put your card on the cars and maybe you could offer something to the golf course for doing cars there..
    jeff
  • 07-15-2004, 02:36 PM
    Focusedonsound
    Quote:

    Originally posted by GraniteState
    Another idea is to offer a couple freebies or signifigant discounts to some professionals, friends, family on the agreement they help spread the good word about your work.

    Good luck

    Jay

    I think this is the best way to drum up some business! When you meet people IE: friends of a freind and what not if they work in a big office complex offer to detail their car at a discount that you feel is more than fair. If they say sure...hand them a few cards and ask that they hand them out to co-workers!

    Photograph your work... and ask your clients for e-mail addresses if they ask why you can tell them and assure them they will receive NO SPAM from you!

    If you have a website ... Host all of the picutures on your website and only send them 1 photograph with a note saying If you would like to see more click here! Make sure that your logo/banner on your website is at the top of all of these pages ect. You never know who`s looking over someone`s shoulder at work!

    If your going to an office complex its important that you A. Have sign exposure so that people can see who you are and why your there.
    B. Be sure to be there while people are first showing up and during lunch hr. or even at quitting time for the complex!

    When your all done... Take 3 business cards and write 25% off 1st wash or something and leave it on the car that you just finnished! ...and offer 25% to the 2 cars on either side of your detail!
  • 07-15-2004, 02:59 PM
    Labster
    Quote:

    Originally posted by GraniteState
    give it some time I started the same way. It won`t happen overnight but If nothing happens in the next few weeks then try something different. Being a consumer as we all are flyers are something i see all the time and usually ignore. You have to be able to talk to some people if there are any local car washes around try talkiing to them to set up a detail day offer demonstrations, product advice, technique advice, etc. This is only a suggestion but the ultimat goal is to talk to people. Find a way to talk to people and your phone will get some calls. Another idea is to offer a couple freebies or signifigant discounts to some professionals, friends, family on the agreement they help spread the good word about your work.

    Good luck

    Jay

    I`ve been doing details at a discount to friends and they are more than happy to hand out cards to people that they work with/know. The day after I did my friends Saturn a guy that he works with remarked about what a significant change had occured in the car and wondered what had been done and who had done it. My friend promptly told him about my services and handed him a business card and he told him that he`d give me a call.

    I say all that to say this, don`t lose heart if you don`t get any calls right away. Some people are just very picky about who touches their car and some just don`t care what shape their cars are in. You need to give these peope a good reason that you should be the one to work on it. Ever thought about putting a sign in your front lawn and just leaving your car parked by it when it`s looking its best? That`s an approach I`m going to try very soon.

    Good luck
  • 07-15-2004, 03:46 PM
    treestand
    I`m working on really making my flyer stand out. Most flyers I see are cheap copies, that they printed thousands of. It cost them hardly anything to print them, and they look like a cheap marketing offer. The person passing them out just wants to make money, and doesnt care too much about whatever they are selling. (I realize this isnt the case for everything, but it is for some stuff. We see tons of flyers, why should we trust yours?)

    You said you put color photos on yours. That puts you a head of the game already. I think that printing them on heavier than standard paper would help too. When you hand one to someone, I think they would be a bit more impressed. Its a quality flyer instead of a "lets pass out millions of these things" type of flyer.


    About putting a sign out side, be careful. I know when I got my business licence, I had to agree to not put any signs up next to my house. Although, this might be entirely different for where you live, so I dont know.

    anyways.. uh... rock on and have fun :band :dancin
  • 07-15-2004, 07:46 PM
    SouthernZ71
    What everyone else said is great info and I`ll emphasize using a high quaility flyer coupled with personal delivery helps out a lot (I choose 4.25"x5.5" size)!

    As for signs, I have magnets for the doors, vinyl letters for the rear glass and an "A" frame sign to set out while I`m working.
  • 07-15-2004, 11:39 PM
    Intel486
    Not to knock you, but you`ve put out 6 flyers on boards and haven`t gotten any calls and you`re surprised?

    I had a flyer hang in a beauty shop for 6 months before I got one job from it (it was a nice big one too). I handed out 300 flyers in one afternoon and got a single call from it. Advertising takes time and a lot of work!
  • 07-16-2004, 08:18 AM
    gentletouch
    Flyers are the most cost effective way to advertise. The only problem is that the turn around is low. Generally I have experienced 1-3 calls per thousand. If you are passing flyers out door-to-door, you may have to do the same area 2-3 times before the right person in the house receives the flyer. Like Z71 mentioned magnet signs and vinyl lettering is a good way to go too. That is basically a moving billboard. Also, just like Intel486 stated "Advertising takes time and a lot of work!"
  • 07-16-2004, 01:40 PM
    mirrorfinishman
    Talk to people.

    That`s an easy, low cost way to get a new customers. Just go out and talk to at least twenty-five people about your detailing services. You’re almost certain to get a least one new customer. Where do the people in your targeted market live? Where do they work? These are the areas where you will want to spend most of your time.

    During the start-up phase of your business, it’s a good idea to set aside at least one day a week to be devoted entirely to person-to-person direct sales. It’s important to make a good first impression. Always present yourself in a professional manner.

    Whenever you see either an expensive car or a well maintained car parked in a driveway, that’s an invitation to ring the door-bell and talk directly to the owner. Ring the bell, introduce yourself, and simply say; “I noticed your car and thought you would be interested in knowing about my professional detailing services….. Tell them about the detailing service you offer, hand them a business card and a flyer and thank them for their time. Keep it brief.

    Just talk to people. It`s simple, easy and it works.
  • 07-16-2004, 02:10 PM
    nickis
    I am willing to invest the time and effort into advertising, but I want to make sure I am not wasting my time. I know that 99% of average joes around here couldn`t care less about keeping their cars nice and no amount of ads in their face will convince them to, so I want to reach people that do care. I like the idea of advertising at golf courses, and I am also going to try to do some free or reduced price details for people I think might lead to referrals.

    Like treestand, I`m trying to make my fliers pretty high quality. Generally the tear-off stub type posters are pretty shoddy, but I really liked the idea of people being able to take my contact information with them easily. I made mine on heavy card stock, cut the "stubs" uniformly with an x-acto knife, and scored them at the top so they will tear off cleanly. I kept the information on the poster itself pretty sparse and used a professionally printed digital photo with a slogan in the middle to catch some eyes. Since full rates and explanations are too lengthy to put on everything, I made myself a website and am distributing the address as a way to get more information. Hopefully these will stand out a bit more than the standard photocopied type.
  • 07-16-2004, 02:28 PM
    central
    Best method ive ever used was print out some brochures (showing different packages and price ranges) (do a search on this bbs).

    Park in a local hospital parking lot. Look for a Female doctor (woman make the best customers because they love to talk <<word-n-mouth>>)

    1. Anyways, look for one with a high-end car that is dirty (dirty = no time to wash themselves - Clean = They have a detailer already).

    2. Approach her and tell her you are from -=insert your business name here mobile detailing=- (sell yourself/business) and are giving away a FREE full DETAIL a value of $150.00- $200.00 (whatever your full detail is)

    3. DO a damn good job, work up a sweat, watch all the doctors, nurses, employees approach you.. pass out brochures. Be prepared to be interrupted so many times, the 6-7 hour job will go 9-10 hours.

    4. When the job is done, Client will tell atleast 2 friends. :)


    Sidenotes: be sure you talk to the head nurse/doctor and tell them what it is you are doing (hint hint: if that person is female, that may be your car)

    If you`re not using a qew type product, you better.

    Sitting in Parking lot waiting for perfect car/perspective client will NOT happen in one day. Takes several days to find it. Don`t rush and get something you`ll regret.


    Mind you, you can do this at all/one/several hospitals, all/one/several golf courses. Me myself? Did it at one hospital and i have more then enough for me to handle :)

    hope this helps

    EDIT edit:!! Forgot to mention, on the brochures and NOT in small print: (word how you like) That for any cancellations there will be a $XX.XX fee incurred. This deters them from changing the time/date of detail.

    And likewise, if you have an appointment time, keep it!
  • 07-19-2004, 04:59 PM
    nickis
    I tried something new today, not sure if it will work or not but I will fill you guys in a few days from now. Basically I printed out my regular flier but instead of just mass delivering them in my own neighborhood like I did the first time I tried, I went to some upscale neighborhoods nearby and tried specializing each one. I drove through the neighborhood once, wrote down the names and colors of cars, and tried to see anything about their condition if I could from the road, then parked somewhere and scribbled out a little message on each flier in red felt tip pen. I tried to write personalized messages pertaining to each car, although I couldn`t see some of them too well from the road, so those just came out, "Your red Xterra would clean up really nicely, give me a call if you`re interested!". Either way, I`m hoping that a real handwritten message in red will at least make people look at the advertisement instead of just tossing it. I think mentioning a person`s exact model car and color gets their attention, I want to give the impression that I checked out their car and didn`t just blindly stuff fliers in every doorway. Hopefully some of the more personal messages will make people really consider my services.

    I am still trying to use fliers and other written materials to promote myself because I think I have a knack for writing (I`m going to school for Journalism next year, I`d better) and because I`m only 18. Someone my age just doesn`t have much credibility when approaching a 50 year old man about his $40,000 BMW. Through word of mouth of course, it doesn`t matter, but to the complete stranger I think I`m at a disadvantage. We`ll see.
  • 07-21-2004, 07:15 AM
    nickis
    My update:

    I only got around to handing out 18 fliers as a test for this type of advertising but last night (24 hours after distribution) I got a call from someone who got one and tommorow morning I will be doing his Suburban. He told me if that works out I get his Audi this weekend! Of course this could just be a fluke, but even if the success rate for this advertising is 5%, thats pretty good for distributing fliers to total strangers. I just wanted to let everyone know that I at least got one customer out of it. That`s just what I need right now, because I was right on the verge of giving up on this, after investing so much time in promoting other ways and getting no calls for weeks. I guess persistance really does pay off.
  • 07-21-2004, 11:04 PM
    EZ Boy
    If you can make a budget, letter box drops do well for detailing. Have certain coupons available for different months or something. Even if you jump on your bike and do a drop to every second street, people know other people.