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Pounding the Pavement to Drum Up Business

Going back to basics to find new clients and opportunities.

When I started The Source Home Theater 12 years ago, I did everything I could to bring in business. I would see someone in a Bentley and would hand them a business card. I would walk into luxury buildings in Manhattan and give doormen and porters business cards, fliers, and a promise of referral bonuses. As the years went on, like many of us, I got a little complacent and was content to let the business roll in from client referrals and business partner (architects and designer) referrals. Business has been great and pounding the pavement just didn’t seem like the most efficient use of my time.

More advice from Todd Anthony Puma: Dipping Your Toe Into The Service Plan Waters

However, I have committed to grounding myself and getting back to basics. Additionally, we recently brought in two new techs. I need to [1] generate more work to keep them busy and [2] focus on landing some of the smaller jobs to help them get their feet wet and get up to speed. Throwing them into $100,000 Crestron builds from day one is not going to be a winning strategy. With these two goals in mind, I have gone back to my roots. And, while doing so, I have realized that the most important trait you have to have is confidence. Confidence that you are the right fit for the client. Confidence that the worst they can say is “no.” Confidence that you will do a kick-ass job for them when they hire you.

As I walk from the parking garage to a client’s building, I stop in to several luxury buildings along the way and introduce myself to the doormen. I chat with them about what we do as a company and offer them referral bonuses for residents who call us based on their recommendation. Just the other day I saw a 40-something guy handing his Lamborghini keys to a valet. I walked up to him, card in hand, and said something to the effect to “with a car like that, you’ve got to have a Smart Home to match. Give me a call,” and walked away. And that confidence I showed by just walking up to him, saying what I had to say, and walking away will resonate with him. He may not call me. The next one may not call me. But one of them will. And we’ll win some work for it.

More advice from Todd Anthony Puma: Finding Success in Unexpected Places

Something I did not do before, but I’ve started doing now is walking into construction sites (mostly brownstones being renovated) and asking for the GC in charge. I will tell them that we are an AV and home automation company doing work in the neighborhood and can work with them if they need anything. I come armed with a few of our brochures, some vendor brochures, business cards, and confidence. They are usually impressed that I just walked in and started talking to them. Several have told me they did not have anyone yet to do the work we do, and they would be interested in talking further. I have had a few exploratory phone calls, and we are working on setting up some client meetings to go over needs assessments and put together proposals.

Especially for those of you new to the industry, but also for those of you who have been around a while and need to get your blood flowing again — be confident. Pound the pavement. You’ll be amazed at the response you get and how it invigorates you again.