As featured on Mitre 10’s website HERE – Ryan, Mode Director and Justin Levell from Levelline Bathrooms collaborate to discuss 5 ways to drum up new business.

Generate leads and get more work with tried-and-tested advice from fellow trades.

Whether you’re new to running your own business or want to explore new channels for client leads, here’s how to get more customers contacting you this year.

1. Explore new media 

Where tradies once relied on word-of-mouth recommendations and classified ads, there are now plenty of online opportunities for getting your brand out there.

“Seventy per cent of my work comes through hipages and the other 30 percent is generated through Google ads or word of mouth,” says Justin Levell from Levelline Bathrooms, which does bathroom, kitchen and laundry renovations as well as general plumbing maintenance.

“I’ve worked in the trade industry for 15 years but went out on my own about four years ago. With digital marketing avenues, a business owner like me can be proactive in reaching out and generating my own job leads.”

2. Follow up quickly

Prospective customers usually contact more than one tradesperson so it’s important to respond to inquiries quickly to start building a rapport.

“When it comes to job leads through hipages, I always reply within five to 10 minutes – if you’re the first to get in contact with a client, you have a higher success rate,” Levell says.

“I spend about a third of my day on the phone or computer, the majority of this time is spent communicating with current or potential clients about their job needs.”

3. Go the extra mile

Ryan Goodwin, director of MODE Developments and Renovations, has been in business for 20 years and says that referrals remain his key to success.

“Networking – whether it’s through friends, family, business groups or local people in the street – helped me establish things in the past,” he says.

“Today I still have upwards of 80 percent of [our work] referred to us. We always supply a $50 voucher for any referral [we get] … and if that client was to go ahead and actually sign up on the project, we’d send an additional $200 gift voucher as well.”

Levell says a bit of old-fashioned friendliness always goes a long way too.

“I always try and develop a good rapport with potential clients and I’ve found that my friendly approach and customer service skills have helped me secure business time and time again,” he says.

4. Look the part

Goodwin says trades should never underestimate the value of a professional-looking operation.

“Make sure you are not only seen on Facebook and Instagram, but that your sites are clean; the signage is there; your vehicle looks good; the uniform is sharp; and you’re engaging with people, businesses and networks,” he says.

“Some of the traditional [methods of building a brand] can absolutely bolster your business.”

Creating quality videos and images for your website and social media channels can also help clients get a taste of your work.

“People want to watch videos online [so consider] creating video testimonials or instruction guides,” Goodwin suggests.

5. Encourage online reviews

If you can get your happy customers spreading their stories, it can do wonders for boosting prospective clients’ confidence.

“I’ve had a number of clients tell me that they chose to work with me for a job not because I was the cheapest but because I had great reviews and recommendations from my previous customers,” Levell says.

Goodwin gives clients a thankyou hamper at the end of a project, followed with an email that makes leaving an online review really easy.

“We send them a specific email thanking them for choosing us and trusting us with their project with buttons to take them to a Google or Facebook or Houzz review,” he says.

“All they need to do is open our email, click on the link and type what they want – we do the legwork for them.”