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It is that time of year again, the time when we all look at our scheduling boards and start to see gaps when the white starts to glare at you like the snow on the ground. This is the time to start having conversations. With your neighbors, the checkout person at Target, the person who serves you your hotdog at the football game. In other words, your circle of influence.

For example, you are visiting a Jobsite where the homeowner, who is so pleased with your work, is out chatting with the crew leader about the kids, the weather, and how wonderful the job is. In the midst of the discussion, a neighbor is mentioned. He needs his trim done but his sons have left for college and, given the white on the board, you can help him out. By taking the time to have a conversation, you have generated another lead and given the satisfaction level of your current customer, a good one at that.

But that is an easy example, let’s take it a step further. What if you are at Target and you overhear somebody talking about how they are in need of remodeling their kitchen (yes, this does happen!). Do you have the guts to walk up to that person and ask them if they have a roofer or a painter or another contractor? What about knocking on doors? After finishing an estimate, why not knock on 5-6 neighbors’ doors to ask if they need any work done.

What about your local Chamber of Commerce? The one where your customers are. These are full of business owners, looking to create relationships of their own. Are you leveraging that? Don’t just attend events, get involved in a committee, talk to the participants, build your relationships and make sure your name is the one they remember.

This is a sneaky kind of marketing, one that costs you for sure, in terms of time, but can have untold benefits. Candidly, it can be a great deal of work. The success rate maybe 1 in 10, but in the winter that can make a big difference. It may seem as though spending the time to talk to people when you are stressed about the upcoming season is not the best way to spend your time. After all, aren’t their emails you could send out or flyers you could print? Yes, there are, do that too. But remember, in the winter, customers may not call on their own. You have to go out and get them. Be ready to have lots of conversations, ones that you may not ordinarily be comfortable with. That is how you will fill up your board this winter.

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