The revenues generated through referrals from each of your profit groups and not necessarily just the insurance industry, are directly related to your Marketing and Sales activity levels. It’s really that simple! The more active the marketing and sales the more robust the referrals and in turn your revenues.
In my own service company anytime I have slacked off for whatever the reason, our sales through referrals decreased. Most often the decrease took three to four months to even notice, then like hitting a brick wall the steady flow of referrals slowed to an alarming trickle. Conversely, every time that we were aggressively marketing our business the numbers began to climb. My problem was that once the numbers would climb to new and higher levels I became complacent and sure enough did the unthinkable, I decreased our activity level.
I will be sharing useful information on this very subject this Friday the 30th of November at Jon Don in St. Petersburg Florida. I still have seats available. To register, simply call Ivan at 573-291-0234
The key in my opinion to increasing sales is to find that sweet spot that works just right for the growth that you feel most comfortable with. Once it’s working never slow down or stop! Building momentum is tough enough the first time, it’s even harder the second time around.
In the old days we would use the shotgun method of marketing sending each one the adjusters the same message. The problem was that while they were getting the message they certainly weren’t responding.
I knew in my heart that we were just as good, if not better than our competitors. We knew that we were committed to this business and in serving our customers. We knew that if we were just given an opportunity we would serve with the highest level of honesty and integrity.
So here we were, a service company with the burning desire to be the very best at what we do, all the while committed to improving the way that restoration services are delivered. The number one major problem was that mysteriously adjusters weren’t beating a path to our door. A second major problem we were having was that many adjusters would refer our service a time or two then suddenly they would almost mysteriously disappear off the face of the earth.
I learned that the reason they weren’t responding to our message was because we weren’t stimulating their buying triggers. In other words our marketing and sales efforts failed to differentiate us from the rest of the pack. We gave them no real reason to give us a shot.
We began the process setting out to differentiate our company from the rest of the pack with creative marketing and sales programs. In our sales pieces we boasted of why we were different and worthy of consideration. We promised each adjuster that we met, that we would always provide a service that was specially tailored for them. It worked; we actually began to build momentum with a steady flow of referrals coming in. Things were going great and I felt so very proud. Then just as fast as the calls were coming in, the calls started tapering off rather abruptly.
By this time I’m beginning to feel like the crazy uncle that nobody wants anything to do with. At first, I simply thought to myself that perhaps claims must just be down. Then I rationalized the drop in referrals by telling myself that major ups then downs are perfectly normal for a restoration business. I even went as far as think that maybe one of my competitors had set out to sabotage my efforts.
Well I wanted answers and I wanted them right now! I got my answers alright, but I must tell you that getting the answers involved some serious soul searching which at times was embarrassing and humiliating. Here’s how I got the answers: One morning we were having a staff meeting and one of the topics on the agenda was increasing our brand awareness among adjusters. While were sitting around brainstorming for a few minutes we were discussing how good we were at tailoring our services to fit the needs of individual adjusters. We were all patting each other on the back talking about how damn good we were at this restoration game and how within a few years we would literally own the market.
Then I asked: “If we’re so damn good, why are so many adjusters not calling us? Worse yet, why do some try us a time or two then decide to go back to the restoration company they had previously referred?”
We knew that our sales and promotional pieces were in fact working so we couldn’t lay blame on that. We knew that we did good work and for the most part hadn’t had a lot of complaints with adjusters on the quality of our work. I decided to pick up the phone and start calling some of the adjusters who had tried us a time or two to find out why they had suddenly discontinued the relationship. This one particular adjuster that I called gave me the answer that I was searching for. Though embarrassing to hear, it was nonetheless the catalyst for change in my operation that to this day has benefited our service.
I had asked him directly: “Why aren’t you referring us anymore? We have done good work on the jobs you referred our way, and have always done so in a responsible and honest fashion, have we not?”
His answer: (This is the humiliating part I previously mentioned) “Ivan he said, Yes your work has been satisfactory, and yes for the most part you have been responsible. But, when you first approached me for the purpose of asking me to refer your company you promised that you would be different than other restoration companies. You practically begged me to give you a chance even though I told you that I was happy for the most part with the restoration company I was using.
When we met for lunch, you asked me to list of everything I would love to see in a restoration company. I told you that quality was high on my list. I told you price was important, but not the most important thing I wanted from a restoration company. I went onto tell you how important it was for me to work with a company that wrote accurate estimates. Ivan if you will recall when I told you this, you immediately told me how you have on average a three day turn around on your estimates. You’ll recall how I told you that was nice, but also told you that when I am referring to accurate estimates I mean estimates that do not come with a bunch of supplements.
I even made a point to tell you that I’d rather have an accurate estimate that took three weeks to receive over an estimate that took two days and came with supplements. Ivan, I was very impressed with the fact that you cared enough during that lunch meeting to ask me what it was I wanted instead of assuming like so many others do. But, in all honesty I didn’t like the fact that I told you exactly what I wanted, and you in turn did the exact opposite. The two jobs I referred to you both had supplemental estimates attached and that doesn’t work for me. “
My reply: What reply? There really wasn’t anything to say. I screwed up plain and simple. I remembered the lunch conversation and I even wrote it down on the adjuster profile form after leaving the lunch. Why then didn’t I just do what it was that I promised I would do? At the time, we were so inundated with work that I became arrogant believing that because we so good and on top of the world everybody needed us, so to hell with him and his supplements. He’ll get supplements whenever I need to send supplements or else…after all, I’m the restoration guru he’s just the dumb adjuster.
On a side note: It took me 6 years and a great deal of introspection, followed by sweeping changes in my (SOP) Standard Operating Procedures to finally win back his trust!