Here’s How Your Business Will Win Regardless of the Season or Economic Situation
“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not turbulence itself, but to act with yesterday's logic” - Peter Drucker
Each season can turn out differently from the previous ones. New methods and systems get introduced; new equipment replace the old ones you’re used to; prices of equipment and materials rise and fall; the weather and climate are not helping either. Everyone in the sealcoating and pavement maintenance industry gets affected, there’s no running away from changes and recessions.
The good news is asphalt maintenance belongs to the service industry, making it a fairly recession-resistant business. Think of it this way: during a crisis, the majority of property owners typically cut back on expensive capital projects. Instead, they try to save money by maintaining what they already have. No sense in replacing an asphalt pavement when it only needs a little TLC, right?
Whether you are just starting out as an asphalt maintenance contractor or you already have years of experience, you will find yourself at a crossroads, and you have two options:
- Let your day be ruled by fear and uncertainty. Peaks and troughs in the industry cannot be avoided. These changes can cripple you and your business, if you allow them to.
- Choose to ride the waves of change and learn how to get ahead of your competitors, improve your game, and set the standard for the new way of doing business.
If you choose the second option, then keep reading – we want to give you a step-by-step roadmap to the new rules of the sales game which you can start implementing right now to secure your business's future.
Persistence, professionalism, and positivity will give you the winning edge. Set your business up for success now so you are prepared every time you get out on to the field and earn money!
First Things First
“For every disciplined effort there is a multiple reward.” – Jim Rohn
When it comes to running an asphalt maintenance business (or any business, for that matter) and making it a success, there's no substitute for hard work.
The number of daily calls you make, the number of proposals you send, and the number of follow ups you make determine how successful you are.
There is no magic.
This is how the leaders in this industry are winning – and there is nothing stopping you from doing the exact same thing. Success leaves footprints – follow them!
Want to increase your leads and overtake the competition? Then read until the end for helpful tips from the experts.
Cold Calling: It’s All in the Numbers
The number of calls you make can make a huge difference in your conversion rate. The rules of sales is as simple as that. Consider the examples we have below.
Here are 4 scenarios of daily number of calls. For this equation, we assume that for all the calls you make, 30% move to the request for quote (RFQ) stage, and your conversion rate (the number of bids you win) is 20%.
Once you know your numbers you can see how many calls you need to make to hit your sales goals.
This is a simplified look, of course: the other factor is the size of the projects you are bidding on. For example, let’s look at the difference between bidding on $500 driveway jobs vs $50,000 parking lot jobs.
In order to get to $50,000 in revenue, you’d need to do one of the following:
- Call 1,667 leads and put out 500 bids for $500 jobs.
1,667 calls = 500 RFQ = 100 sales
- Call 17 leads and put out 5 bids for a $50,000 job.
17 calls = 5 RFQ = 1 sale
Is that an overly-simplified look at things? Sure. But it illustrates the point: you need to find larger jobs to bid on to maximize your time and minimize the legwork required to get the contract.
Work smarter, not harder, as the old saying goes.
Technological Improvements Call for Business Adjustments
The good news is you don’t have to meet face to face to close deals for your asphalt maintenance business anymore. Use technology to your advantage! Save the commute time and use it to exponentially increase the number of proposals you can send out.
Not sure how to do it? Watch this easy example:
Why send a video note? The answer is pretty simple.
A video note pitching your sealcoating, line striping, and crack filling services will make you stand out from your competitors.
While they’re scribbling unprofessional looking quotes on yellow notepads and then hoping the lead will follow up, you can easily create a professional, adjustable quote, and then schedule one-on-one video chats that your prospect can record and share with key stakeholders.
Listen to Leigh Kuhn, President of RynoWorx, on the advantages of this strategy:
Adapt to the digital world or fall backwards.
“Not only can you do this, this is going to be the new standard. In everything I’ve ever done, leaders win. Followers get whatever’s left over. So lead.” - Leigh Kuhn
Tools You’ll Need in Creating Your Video Pitches
Zoom, GoToMeeting or Skype are three video conferencing apps that put you face-to-face with your customers online.
Use one of them to share your screen during meetings or record videos to share with clients. There are free options available if you’re just starting out!
Some contractors use the built-in quoting system in Quickbooks online in order to send proposals. Some people use Microsoft Word or Google Docs.
None make it easy for you to create, track and close business through professional proposals. For that, we developed Paveman Pro Proposals.
It’s a custom-designed proposal software tool that has all the features an asphalt maintenance specialist needs to succeed. Sign up now and you’ll receive two months free to implement and see how powerful it will be in making your company stand out in a crowd!
CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
A CRM solution makes it easier to keep track of your customers and where they are at in your sales cycle. You could use Zoho CRM or HubSpot. However, they do not have professional proposal creation nor are they customized to the asphalt maintenance industry.
Paveman Pro includes customer tracking, advanced features such as a customer portal for viewing your proposals, and advanced tracking to know just when a proposal was viewed. Plus, it's made with asphalt business owners and their needs in mind, so it’s an ace in your hand when you’re trying to convert business.
The Asphalt Maintenance Sales Process at a Glance
Now that you know the tools you need to pitch your sealcoating services to prospects, it's time to look at the five pieces of the sales funnel:
Picking up the phone for the first time can be nerve-wracking, we get it! That’s why we’ve developed a cold-calling script you can use. Personalize it for your own style and business! Get the script here for free
Prospecting Commercial Properties
Who should you call to offer your sealcoating or line striping services? You may find it beneficial to start with facility managers or property owners of establishments that are busy and operating year-round.
These business types include distribution centers, supermarkets, hospitals, and airports. These customers want to keep their parking lots safe, protected, and looking fresh at all times, since their parking spaces are constantly in use. You may also try the following potential customers:
- Delivery companies such as Amazon, as well as local distribution companies like grocery stores, pharmacy deliveries, medical supply companies, etc.
- Restaurants, fast food chains, event locations, amusement parks, etc.
- Schools have maintenance budgets and empty parking lots during winter and summer months when classes are out – call to see if you can help them now.
Prospecting Consumer Properties
Who should you contact next for potential business?
- People you know. Start with family in your area, then friends and neighbors, and then your contact list on your phone or computer. Home in on potential customers that have recently retired from work or military service, since they will be spending more time at home – they are looking at what needs to be fixed up around the house after neglecting it for a long time due to their jobs.
2. Ask for referrals from family, friends, previous customers or people you know. People you know who just came back from vacations are also a great lead, since they’ve been away from home during summer, and might want to have things fixed before winter starts.
3. Once you’ve done a job or two in a neighborhood, cold call (you probably won't make it here for a couple weeks once you've exhausted the above first 1 and 2.)
4. Call realtors and find out what property is going to be going on the market: while they are unable to do showings, they’re aware of what needs to be maintained and improved to get top dollar for these properties.
Once you identify people to whom you are going to market, keep track of them so that you can continue following up with them and move them towards a purchase.
Not everybody will be ready to buy right now, but the time you’ve spent isn’t wasted. You’ve created a touch point and a reason to follow up.
This is how you should start with your leads:
- Enter the lead into your CRM or the Paveman Pro system.
- Qualify the lead: cold, medium, hot, depending on how soon you think they will do business with you.
- Set a follow up date.
- Connect on all social media platforms – reach out on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
- If the lead has expressed interest, use the proposal tool you chose above to build a professional proposal quickly and easily.
A Few Helpful Online Tools For Proposal Creation
If you can’t get to the property yourself to bid on the job, consider using a combination of Google Earth to measure the property and create an estimate, along with a service like IVueIt to crowdsource property defect images, so that you can create a proposal without leaving your house.
Google Earth images are between 1 and 3 years old, as a general rule, so you don’t want to do your whole quote just using them if you are bidding on older properties that might have extensive damage.
Here’s an example of how to do this. We took the address of a YMCA in St Louis, and entered it into Google Earth:
We used the Measure It tool (the ruler at the bottom of the left-hand navigation) to measure the parking areas. We used the hand controls to move the map back and forth and zoom in and out of the parking areas.
While we were looking, we noticed that there were some problem areas that looked like potholes, puddling, etc. We marked them on the map.
Next, we went to IVueit.com so that we could get somebody to walk the parking lot and take pictures for us (you’ll want to create an account there right away, as the approval process can take a couple of days). We created a new job in IVueIt by entering the details of the property we wanted assessed, and then putting in some guidelines for the photographer.
For example, we asked to:
- Take pictures during the day only
- Take several photos of the parking lot and sidewalks around the building
- Look for potholes
- Look for cracked surfaces
- Was the line striping faded
- Take pictures of the areas we specified on the map
- Was there anything else on the parking lot that needed attention?
Then we submitted our bid. In less than 24 hours and for just $25, we had 12 pictures taken by a human and the site survey questions in our hands.
Once the project was complete, we could choose from the following menu options:
We viewed the Survey report to get answers to our questions:
And then we viewed all our images:
We could choose to download a report branded with our logo that we could present to the client as an appendix to our proposal, but since we have a Paveman Pro account, we chose to download the images and upload them to our lead’s proposal. The lead could clearly see what we meant by ‘pebbling asphalt’ or ‘puddling water’ and we could add notes as captions on the image, so our clients understood what they were looking at. Continue the lead process:
- Create a personalized video for the lead. To do this, create a free account on YouTube, Google Drive or DropBox. Record a video using your phone, and upload it to whichever service you chose. If you choose YouTube, be sure you upload the video as ‘Unlisted’ so that people without the link won’t be able to see your video. Once you have the video you will have the URL/Link to the video.
- Send your lead the proposal with a personalized note and the URL/Link to your video. If you are using Paveman Pro, you’ll just insert that URL into your Proposal screen, and the link will automatically be shared in the email to the client.
- Call the lead and let them know that the proposal was sent along with a link to the personalized video. Request a good time to go over the proposal together via screen share video conference, using the app you selected above. Schedule a date and time, and send the details in an email Meeting Request so they get a reminder.
- Meet virtually on the date and time set and go over the proposal in detail. Record the meeting so you can go over the recording to identify areas of improvements for your presentation and to take notes of any proposal adjustment that need to be made. You can also share the recording link with the customer so they can share it with any other decision makers in their company, saving you from having to do the same presentation with multiple people.
- Here’s the part that really matters: Ask for the close. Do we have a deal? If so, ask them to sign the proposal and return it to you. If you’re using Paveman Pro, you can take advantage of the digital signing feature built in. This is a legally binding verification of the contract. If you’re not, use a service like Panda Doc ($9/month) or Docusign ($10/month) to generate digital signatures.
- If no deal, let them know you’ll follow up with them in a few weeks to check in on things. Create a task in Paveman Pro or your CRM of choice for follow up.
Your lead is interested in learning more about your services. Great! Here’s where you get your customer to sign your professional proposal and do the job for them.
- Make sure the customer has signed off on the proposal and you have counter-signed it.
- In your CRM, mark the proposal as ‘Won’.
- Schedule service dates. Ensure your customer understands the parking lot needs to be clear of all vehicles in order for you to work. It helps if you make this part of your templated proposal, so the customer knows what to expect.
- Create work orders and prepare your operations team. If you are using Paveman Pro, you can simply click the ‘Work Order’ button to generate the work orders. If not, carefully detail out everything your team needs to know in order to complete the job successfully.
- Complete project.
- Get the customer’s approval, and request payment.
Once your first few sealcoating and crack filling jobs are done, then it’s time to engage your customers in helping you scale your business! Most customers are happy to assist someone who has provided good service to them.
- Follow up with your customer for business reviews and a testimonial. If they are willing, you can record the testimonial through Zoom and use it for your website and your business social media channels.
- Ask for referrals to people that they know who would be interested.
This is all about keeping the momentum. Whether your sealcoating customers are commercial or residential, keeping your services in their minds means that they’ll return to you, or that they will mention you when someone they know needs asphalt maintenance.
- Send handwritten thank you cards to your customer.
- Send video messages via text or social media messenger touching base and checking in.
- Wish them happy holidays during national holidays.
Creating a Winning Strategy for Your Asphalt Business with Artificial Intelligence
The use of artificial intelligence (AI), particularly ChatGPT, exploded over the past few months. From digital marketers to students, everyone uses this language model to generate content in seconds.
Just because you're in the asphalt maintenance business doesn't mean you will not find AI tools like ChatGPT helpful. ChatGPT is a fantastic addition to your marketing and sales tools as it has the power to make your team's work more efficient.
Here are some ways you can create a winning strategy with AI.
- Go to chat.openai.com and instruct it to create a one-year editorial calendar for your asphalt business.
- Use ChatGPT to create a fantastic marketing page about crack repair for your asphalt maintenance business. You can also do it for all the services listed on your website.
- Planning to hire a new member for your sales team? You can use ChatGPT to write a job description for your ad and tailor it to find the right candidate.
With ChatGPT and other AI tools, you can say goodbye to staring at a blank page for hours. Start generating winning copies for your asphalt maintenance business today.
Go getters are going to succeed in any season! Don’t be afraid of change – be the change.
Let the new tools we’ve outlined above help you to organize your business, polish your image, and propel your asphalt maintenance business to success. You can do it all without having to leave your office – there is no reason not to start right now.
As Jim Rohn used to say:
“If you really want to do something, you'll find a way. If you don't, you'll find an excuse.”
The Asphalt Kingdom team is here to help you along your journey to make your sealcoating business a success. Just call us at 1-866-399-5562 or join our private Facebook group USA Sealcoaters. It’s filled with friendly, helpful sealcoaters who want to help you succeed.
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