If you’ve been in business for a while, you likely have developed a user persona for your business. This is the typical person who uses your services, such as a homeowner between the ages of 25 and 60. However, if you want to continue to grow your business, there does come a point where you have to tap into new markets.
This might mean that you go after commercial HVAC contracts. It could mean that you expand into a new area close to your current customer base. For other companies, they might add on services that relate to their work, such as combining window replacement services with heating and cooling. Whatever expansion looks like for your company, there are five key elements to going after new markets that you should keep in mind.
Key # 1: Don’t Neglect Your Customer Base
Your loyal customers are the base point of your business. These are the people who use you when they need to replace a heating unit, or who refer you to the new neighbors next door. Perhaps they subscribe to a maintenance package to keep their unit running at peak performance. Before you even consider expanding, make sure your base is well taken care of.
- Customer service systems should be in place, well-developed, and working without a hitch.
- Customer appreciation programs should already be implemented. How do you reward those who refer you?
- Your technicians should be fully staffed and trained for your base area/customer. You don’t want your service level to slip as you expand.
Take a step back and think about what you would worry about if you heard your favorite HVAC company was expanding. Address those concerns and avoid problems before they happen.
Key # 2: Gather Testimonials
As you reach out to the new markets, you will want to prove that you are worth their consideration. For example, let’s say you want to go after clientele in a neighborhood with large, stately mansions. These homes will need bigger units, which will increase your profit, and they will be likely to sign up for maintenance packages.
According to Search Engine Land, around 85% of consumers read as many as 10 reviews before choosing to trust a company with their business. You have to prove to your potential customers that you are worth their consideration.
Key # 3: Know Your Competition
More than likely, there are already other companies in the area offering the same services you offer with your HVAC company. Take the time to study what these competitors are doing. You’ll want to know everything from where they are advertising to what types of units they install. What is their customer service like?
You will also want to poll potential customers in the area about where they feel services they’ve received in the past are lacking. This can be achieved through targeted online polls on social media, for example.
Once you have a grip on what customers want most, you can tailor what you offer to the new market to meet those needs. If they want better customer service, then you better be sure you have the best trained customer service reps in the industry.
Key # 4: Limit Your Offerings
When expanding into a new market, it is smart to limit your offerings at first. Don’t try to roll out marketing to a new demographic and launch a new product or service at the same time. Instead, stick with what you know well. JR Davis of Davis Heating and Cooling shared, “It is better to do just one thing amazing than to offer your customers so many options that you can’t do any of them well.”
This is good advice. The last thing you want to do is seek a new market and gain a reputation there for not being able to deliver on your promises. After your initial offerings are successfully in place, you can always add additional offerings as needed.
Key # 5: Specialize
One of the keys to gaining a strong reputation and building your base is to specialize. If you want to venture into corporate contracts, decide what types of businesses you want to target first. Perhaps you want to contact all the school districts in your city and surrounding cities and bid on projects. Maybe you want to specialize in units for buildings of three stories or more. The health industry is another place you could focus – hospitals, health clinics, medical buildings, etc.
By specializing, you will start to see what specific needs that industry has and gain a reputation for excellence. You can then expand from there.
There comes a point in every service business where it is essential to go after new markets if you want to expand. Paying attention to key elements such as competition and limiting new offerings can ensure that your attempts are successful.
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