How Pittsburgh Plumbing or HVAC Companies Can Stand Out and Get More Clients

plumbing or hvac

If you’re a plumbing or HVAC company in Pittsburgh, I have good news and bad news.

The good news is, even the toughest toilets, furnaces, and air conditioning and ventilation systems malfunction and need your attention sooner or later.

The bad news is, even if a potential client’s toilet is working in reverse, or their furnace has left a frozen house as its final will and testament, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to call YOU.

Many people will try to solve a problem themselves if they think they can, and even if it’s clear that their malfunctioning machinery needs professional help, they have dozens of companies to choose from.

If there’s nothing to set you apart from all the other companies in your field, it’s effectively luck of the draw if someone who has no prior experience with you chooses your company over the others. And while good luck is a nice thing to have, you can’t count on it for the survival or growth of your business.

What are ways of stating out as a Plumbing or HVAC company?

Here are a few ways you can make yourself stand out to people who are searching for solutions to their plumbing problems and HVAC horror stories:

Help them see that your services are uniquely suited to their needs.

Even if anyone with a toilet or air conditioning system could use your services, different types of clients will have different concerns and priorities.

A busy stay-at-home mother might worry about her children being cold because the furnace won’t work, or about a careless toddler accidentally plugging and overflowing an unreliable toilet.

She’ll likely be concerned about the cost of the repairs, and about getting the problem taken care of fast enough that it won’t compromise her ability to get her children to school or their other activities.

A retail store will likely be more worried about customer satisfaction, produce that might be damaged by a lack of air conditioning, or the well-being of their increasingly frozen or overheated employees.

If someone has to choose between multiple otherwise-similar companies, they’re likely to pick the one that specializes in the type of system or building they have, and that connects with them by speaking about the specific concerns that are weighing on their minds.

If you’re concerned about losing clients by narrowing the scope of your marketing, I should remind you that there are more than enough buildings in each niche to support your business. But if you want those clients to choose you, you need to appeal to them more strongly than your competition does.

Here are some questions you can use to distinguish yourself in the eyes of your ideal client:

Do you specialize in residential plumbing or HVAC systems or the commercial space? Say so in your website and directory profiles.

Are there specific types of systems that are particularly prone to malfunction, difficult to fix, or otherwise in need of a special level of expertise, or that you specialize in fixing? Mention them by name in the list of things you fix, so if people are searching for solutions or services for those particular systems, you’re more likely to show up in their results.

Do your clients have a particular type of need, such as very fast service, low prices, or high-quality materials, that you can fulfill better than your competition?

When you know who you serve, not only can you make yourself more attractive to them when they’re actively seeking help, but you can also get their attention when they’re still in “maybe I can do it myself” mode.

I’ll go into more detail about attracting do-it-yourselfers in the next section, but first, I invite you to take a few minutes to identify exactly who your ideal client is and why you can serve them better than your competitors can.

How to draw clients to your

If all else fails, consider offering a commission to anyone you ask to promote you, and to be prepared to recommend them to your clients in return. Plumbing problems in particular often cause collateral damage before being repaired, so plumbers have plenty of opportunities to make reciprocity work by promoting their referral partners. If you have the correct referral relationships that produce win-win relationships, you can avoid the need to pay for referrals.

What do you do if you are not connected to other businesses?

For years, I ran my own small business and I was isolated from other business owners.  I used to rely on cold calls to reach out to new customers, but I discovered a better way of finding customers like my best customers – my ideal clients.  I discovered the power of referral partners.  I found that it did not matter what the other business owner was selling – it mattered that the business owner was trusted by their customers and that those customers were similar to the demographic mix of my customers. I often joke that the last cold call I ever made was when I went to my first BNI meeting.  Over the years I have come to rely on the power of referrals in my own business and my involvement in BNI is what started me on the road.

So, real estate agents, property and casualty agents, bankers, financial advisors are all asked for referrals and when they know like and trust you, they will refer you to their clients. One of our area directors became a go to person in his neighborhood for trades people like plumbers, HVAC, electricians, pest control, wind cleaners and the like encase he remodeled his house and was seen walking in the neighborhood as part of his physical fitness efforts.  He is a small business coach.  Any trusted professional can become a constant source of referrals for your business if you follow their system.

The reasons that organizations like BNI works is because of the law of reciprocity which social psychologists define when someone does something nice for you, you will have a deep-rooted urge to do something nice in return.

Why not join us at a BNI meeting and see if it works for you. To find a BNI chapter to visit click this link.

business:

Now that you’ve hopefully determined who your ideal clients are, it’s time to create a strategy for getting those clients’ attention.

Here are three powerful methods for attracting clients for your HVAC or plumbing business:

Method #1: Educating them about why they need your plumbing or HVAC services.

Unless the client is busy or the problem is extreme, many people will want to see if they can fix it themselves before they pay someone else to do it.

When they’re in “do it myself” mode, they’ll likely look for articles, videos, and other such walkthroughs online, which gives you an opportunity to get their attention and educate them about why it’s better to have you fix their problem for them.

In your educational videos, articles and blog posts, explain what steps people will have to take to fix their malfunctioning machinery, what materials or tools they need, and what mishaps they need to avoid and how.

This accomplishes four things:

  1. It gets them looking at your company instead of your competition.
  2. It shows them that you care enough to make those guides for them, which helps them to start liking and trusting you.
  3. It shows them that you know what you’re doing, which increases your credibility and their trust.
  4. It helps them to understand just how much work and expertise goes into the job, what kind of special tools or materials they’ll need and might not have, and how terribly things can go wrong if they screw up. After seeing that, they’ll probably conclude that it’s easier and less expensive to have a professional do it right on the first try.

Consider what questions your clients frequently ask, what problems they might seek solutions for, and what actions they might try to undertake themselves, then create educational marketing materials to answer those questions, give solutions to those problems, and walk them through those actions.

Method #2: Online reviews.

When people type “plumbers in Pittsburgh” or “air conditioner repair in Pittsburgh” into a search engine, that engine makes its decisions about which companies appear closest to the top of the results based partly by the reviews those companies have gotten.

The better the results people get, the more likely they are to keep using that search engine, so it’s in each engine’s best interests to show superior results at the top of the page.

On top of the SEO value reviews have, approximately 68 percent of searchers will at least partly depend on those reviews for their buying decision, so it’s important to get as many positive reviews as you can.

You want good reviews not just on your site, but also on your profiles on sites like Yelp and Homeadvisor, since they appear on the first page of Google and provide another way for potential clients to find you and compare you to your competition.

Method #3: Referrals from other businesses and satisfied clients.

With most marketing methods, you have to start from scratch. First you need to let potential clients for your plumbing or HVAC services know who you are and what you do, then you have to get them to like and trust you, then you need to inspire them to try you out, buy your services, and refer other people to you.

They might not even become a client on the first interaction; they could view your profile, continue comparing their options, and possibly never return to you.

But when you’re recommended to them by someone they trust, you effectively skip the first several steps of the customer journey, and can go straight to making a sale.

There are two primary groups of people who can send ready-to-buy leads to you: businesses whose services complement yours, and satisfied customers.

How to get satisfied clients to refer people to you:

Once people are satisfied with your work, ask them if they know anybody else who has the type of problem you fix.

Tell them what issues you specialize in repairing, and give them scripts or sample emails they can use to recommend you to their connections. Not everyone will know how to describe your business as well as you can, and many people don’t have time to figure it out, so make it easy for them.

I also recommend having a newsletter with helpful tips, tricks, deals and discounts, and encouraging your clients to sign up. That way, your clients get valuable information, and you have a way to stay at the top of their minds in case trouble ever arises in their home machinery again.

How to get other businesses to refer people to you:

Start by choosing businesses that complement your plumbing or HVAC services.  If you only offer one of the two services you can partner with a plumber who does not do HVAC and vice versa.

For plumbers home repair supply stores could recommend that their clients get you to help with the repairs their clients are preparing to make.  They can probably pick the people that should not be doing it themselves.

People who sell or install flooring and carpets, as well as painters and paint stores, could promote you to clients whose houses fell victim to damaging water leaks. And restoration companies that specialize in these repairs, are great sources of referrals.

And electricians who discover that the problem is in the HVAC system rather than the electric system could recommend you.

If all else fails, consider offering a commission to anyone you ask to promote you, and to be prepared to recommend them to your clients in return. Plumbing problems in particular often cause collateral damage before being repaired, so plumbers have plenty of opportunities to make reciprocity work by promoting their referral partners. If you have the correct referral relationships that produce win-win relationships, you can avoid the need to pay for referrals.

What do you do if you are not connected to other businesses?

For years, I ran my own small business and I was isolated from other business owners.  I used to rely on cold calls to reach out to new customers, but I discovered a better way of finding customers like my best customers – my ideal clients.  I discovered the power of referral partners.  I found that it did not matter what the other business owner was selling – it mattered that the business owner was trusted by their customers and that those customers were similar to the demographic mix of my customers. I often joke that the last cold call I ever made was when I went to my first BNI meeting.  Over the years I have come to rely on the power of referrals in my own business and my involvement in BNI is what started me on the road.

So, real estate agents, property and casualty agents, bankers, financial advisors are all asked for referrals and when they know like and trust you, they will refer you to their clients. One of our area directors became a go to person in his neighborhood for trades people like plumbing or HVAC services, electricians, pest control, wind cleaners and the like encase he remodeled his house and was seen walking in the neighborhood as part of his physical fitness efforts.  He is a small business coach.  Any trusted professional can become a constant source of referrals for your business if you follow their system.

The reasons that organizations like BNI works is because of the law of reciprocity which social psychologists define when someone does something nice for you, you will have a deep-rooted urge to do something nice in return.

Why not join us at a BNI meeting and see if it works for you. To find a BNI chapter to visit click this link.

 

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