Most of us that have been in marketing within the restoration business understand that it’s a different world than most other sales and marketing jobs. It’s been said that as many as 15 sales and/or marketing people visit an insurance agency in one day. If you act, sound and look like all the others, then you’ll be lumped in as just another annoying marketer.

This “same as the others” approach will always get you one of their standard responses. Expect to be told “No,” it’s their standard response. Yes, some of them want to appear nicer, so they may tell you “they’ll keep you in mind.” But it’s just another way to tell you no — without hurting your feelings.

Some ways to help create top-of-mind awareness with your clients:

  • Use social media regularly
  • Have a solid follow-up system
  • Tell them stories that help them see your value
  • Stand out as different and unique
  • Connect with them emotionally
  • Maintain an up-to-date email list
  • Share industry news with them
  • Do your homework on them and their industry
  • Have a powerful tag line or slogan and use it often
  • Don’t be afraid to remove them as a prospect

Everything changes when you approach them with expertise and have done your homework. After your introduction (your name and company), you must start talking about their issues and pains, and using their language and lingo but never about yourself. Fact is, they don’t care what you do or how you do it. They don’t care about “fire, water, smoke, or mold.” They don’t care about your equipment or trucks, and certainly don’t care about you processes. All they want to hear is what you’ll do for them and their policyholders.

If you are in front of an insurance agent, they expect you to “do water, fire” etc. When they hear the name “restoration,” they know what you do as a line of work. What’s most important to them is if you are going to make them (the agent) look good and take care of their policyholder.

I’ve attended so many different sales training courses over the years that it is easy to question what the right way is in today’s culture and economic climate. Many years ago, I took a class teaching how to sell by reading the body language of the prospect. Sure, there are some obvious signs that the prospect is receptive or not, but that method is hardly substantial in getting referrals. Today, reality dictates that we must be aware of our body language.

It’s easy to chat about the weather, or the kids, or some sporting event, but those don’t enhance your credibility. That type of idle chitchat certainly does not reinforce the much-needed trust. Building a relationship is not only about talking with them about the weather or their kids’ soccer game. Building a long-term trusted relationship with a client that can refer a job to you is about demonstrating your knowledge about their business and their industry. Becoming a subject-matter expert for their business helps them keep you top-of-mind and makes them want to do business with you.

Establishing credibility and trust removes the largest obstacle for them in considering who to refer the next loss. We absolutely want to “do business” with someone we like — so we have to be likeable. At the same time, you must show them that you’re in tune to their business and industry, continually demonstrating your subject matter expertise. Don’t fall into the trap that “relationship” marketing is noticing something on their wall or desk with which you can ‘identify.’ That’s almost always FAKE and everyone can see right through that.

Research the client ahead of time by checking them out on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn and learn everything you can about them. You should also read all the pages on their website. If they have a blog, read the articles. Now you have something to comment or discuss and it shows you’re paying attention and know something about their business and industry.

Be different than your competitors — especially those marketers doing the same thing you are doing — trying to get referrals. Being trustworthy and credible is valued much more than idle chitchat.