Give Potential Customers Face Time to Draw In New Business

The age of social media has expanded the ways companies can reach people and promote their services, but as these companies prove, methods like door-knocking and coupon discounts can still be highly effective

Give Potential Customers Face Time to Draw In New Business

Steve Nerheim, owner of Steve’s Professional Sewer & Drain Service in New Brighton, Minnesota.

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When Steve Nerheim started his drain cleaning business in 2009, his first move was ordering 5,000 promotional magnets imprinted with his company name and phone number.

“I walked in a local parade and passed out about 4,000 of them,” recalls Nerheim, owner of Steve’s Professional Sewer & Drain Service in New Brighton, Minnesota.

Fast-forward a decade and Nerheim has customers who still have those original magnets.

We’re in the age of the internet and social media, and there are countless ways for people to promote their businesses and attract new customers. But as Nerheim’s company origin story shows, producing some face time with potential customers and giving them something tangible still carries a lot of weight.

In the days following that parade appearance, Nerheim also walked a lot of neighborhoods and distributed about 3,000 flyers. The results were almost instant. In fact, Nerheim was out distributing flyers when someone who’d received one called him. He had to run home and put on his work uniform.

“I still remember that day very clearly and she’s still one of my customers,” Nerheim says.

Austin Taylor, owner of Dynamic Drains of Texas.
Austin Taylor, owner of Dynamic Drains of Texas.

Upon opening his business in the small community of Brenham, Texas, Austin Taylor also employed the door-knocking approach. That included visiting a lot of commercial establishments as well.

“I pounded the pavement,” says Taylor, owner of Dynamic Drains of Texas. “I went in and talked to the owners of small restaurants. I would be thanked for coming in. I was told that no one had ever come in to solicit business. They had work for me and then I did work for their employees. This developed good working relationships.”

Other methods Taylor used included contacting other plumbing contractors who didn’t offer certain services such as jetting, drain cleaning and video inspection, and developed business on that front.

He joined the chamber of commerce, and attended many dinners and functions, volunteered with the Boy Scouts, joined the Elks Lodge and took part in many local events.

“I filled my time getting to know people,” Taylor says. “In a small town you are not always quickly accepted. You have to show you are part of the community and want to give, not take from the community.”

Paul Giglio, owner of Pipe Works Services of Chatham, New Jersey.
Paul Giglio, owner of Pipe Works Services of Chatham, New Jersey.

Paul Giglio wasn’t trying to get his business, Pipe Works Services of Chatham, New Jersey, off the ground in 2008. But what he was trying to do, like so many other businesses at that time, was survive a recession. He decided to employ a simple coupon program as a promotional activity. A key part of it was that the coupons had no expiration date.

“Those coupons were a great value to the customer and to us,” he Giglio says. “We still are getting calls using that same coupon. Something unbelievable — they had a very long shelf life.”



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