On this episode of the Profit Roadmap, we welcome Jessie Barrack, the Senior Vice President of Business Development at Service Autopilot and FieldEdge! Jessie has been in the HVAC industry for over 20 years and is now dedicated to creating partnerships and opportunities for members.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- How to boost sales in a recession
- Proven lead gen strategies
- How to find a legit SEO company
- And how to effectively market to your audience
Current Economic Situation
Jessie has seen a lot happen over the years in the service industry. We are experiencing uncertainty in the economy, but this isn’t anything new. Much of this is actually cyclical, but there are some changes this time around.
Service businesses are more open to embracing technology, although compared to some other industries, they are still lagging behind. Most of them are starting to see how technology can make their lives better and grow their business too. It can be simple things like streamlining your business with software like Service Autopilot or FieldEdge, or it can be something more advanced like using robotic mowers.
Looking at the past few years, Jessie says there was still a lot of growth in the service industries even during the COVID closures. This was in part driven by people’s continued need to have their lawns mowed and HVAC units maintained.
The growth in service businesses over the past few years has led to more players in the industry when things were good. Now, the economy isn’t quite as robust, which means competition is stronger across the board.
In other service businesses, like lawn care, there is some contraction. If consumers are operating on a tighter budget, they may not be as willing to pay for services like lawn care, and could opt to do it themselves.
For lawn care in particular, this presents a good opportunity to pivot and offer other services, like hardscaping and Christmas light installation.
Jessie has looked at data from a variety of different sources, and he expects the economy to improve throughout the rest of this year and into next year too.
That said, there are some changes in consumer behavior. Unemployment numbers are still pretty low, but consumers are more conservative with their spending. They aren’t quite as quick to make large purchases and are finding many of their household expenses, like groceries and gas, have increased.
From the industry professionals Jessie has spoken with, he is hearing that consumers are shopping a lot more than they have in the past year or so. They are looking around getting bids and comparing prices. Although, it does seem like consumers tend to favor “temporary solutions,” instead of making large purchases of new systems. Jessie says this is seen through data from ticket sizes. Generally, they are smaller than they were a year or two ago, and the volume of work is higher.
Jessie says to make it as easy as possible for your clients. Take a page out of the book from all the streaming services. Autopayments and consistent service mean that clients are getting what they need. They are satisfied and aren’t thinking about canceling, or the hassle of the cancellation process.
Also, offering things like financing makes it a lot easier for your customers. It gives them a solution for these larger purchases, and it helps your business get bigger tickets too.
Marketing for Service Business
With economic uncertainty and changes in consumer buying habits, Jessie says that a lot of service businesses are cutting back on marketing. But the reality is, that is the wrong thing to do.
When businesses cut back on marketing, especially during conditions like this, it is a bigger struggle to get new business. As mentioned previously, consumers still need service businesses. Jessie uses the example of it being triple digits outside and the air conditioning breaks. The need for that HVAC to get repaired is high, and the right kind of marketing can ensure that consumers find your service business.
Jessie says that service businesses shouldn’t put their whole focus into SEO, but look at a variety of marketing options to maximize their ROI. He prefers “localized marketing” with a focus on using several different mediums. Social media is still a great source of advertising, and that can easily be combined with other traditional sources of marketing, like postcards and radio.
By casting a wide net with marketing, you can think creatively, taking advantage of smart strategies—without putting all of your marketing eggs into one basket.
Jessie says it is important to track your marketing spend so you can see what is working. Wrapping trucks can be great for your business, and you can track where leads are coming from—those wraps vs. Facebook Ads can be achieved by using different phone numbers for each one.
In addition to tracking your marketing ROI, Jessie says it is important to look at other “key performance indicators” or KPIs, for your business. This could be things like looking at the metrics for techs… The number of calls/visits they can do per day, how long each job takes, and the amount of revenue per call.
KPIs give you insight into your business so you can see what is/isn’t working. This really is the key to continued growth in a service business so you can learn how to best maximize your efforts.
While the uncertainty in the markets will likely continue for some time, the general outlook is that the economy is improving. That said, service businesses need to continue to deliver value to the customers, make things easy for them (think automatic payments and financing), and they have to continue marketing effectively to keep new leads coming in.
The following music was used for this media project:
Music: Summon the Rawk by Kevin MacLeod
Free download: https://filmmusic.io/song/4434-summon…
License (CC BY 4.0): https://filmmusic.io/standard-license