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Thursday, December 25, 2008

To Boston and beyond

This morning, we fly to Boston, MA and overnight before continuing to Providenciales, Turks and Caicos. for a week's winter vacation.

The Boston area is home for consultant Mark Paskell, publisher of The Contractor Coaching Partnership Blog. Mark phoned me on Christmas Eve, sharing some observations about what works and what doesn't.

Good marketing, it turns out, revolves around some basics. Generally, residential contractors need to spend about five per cent of their annual gross revenues on marketing. This means, if you sell $1 million in services, you should be spending about $50,000 per year. This isn't a hard-and-fast number, of course, but gives you an idea of where you can get started, and where you should be heading.

Of course, the big question is how should you spend this money. Paskell, like me and many others promoting our services to the trades community, finds greatest value within the relevant associations. In his case, he is actively involved in the Boston chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). Through his relationships here, he has gotten to know many of the the most successful remodelers in the Northeast.

He shares my belief that, for remodelers, the best source of business indeed is referral and repeat clients (as you would expect) and that systematic initiatives through follow-up service to existing clients provide the best results.

He would like to develop a truly useful leads service. I'm a little skeptical about that idea -- the challenge is that anyone who gets into the leads business ultimately runs into the paradox of 'success'. If your leads are good enough and of great enough value to provide genuine opportunities to your lead clients, you will attract more and more contractor clients for the same number of leads -- perhaps increasing your profitability, but ultimately decreasing the value of the leads you provide.

We both agree that most contractors really are ill-equipped at marketing; and can benefit from coaching and solid advice. Accordingly, I certainly would recommend Mark's services especially if you are int he Boston area and northeastern States.

(My blog entry tomorrow will be delayed, probably. We need to be up extra early to catch a 5 a.m. flight to Charlotte, connecting right on to Providenciales. Once we are settled in, I'll share with you a tale of our honeymoon turned into business trip, built on a rather unusual interview with an offshore tax shelter dodger, who ended up arrested and charged with drug and money laundering offences in Canada -- and a case that made its way to the Canadian Supreme Court.)

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