Business Card

Contractors never know where they’re going to be when they make a connection, whether handing over a business card or taking a call, that could mean thousands of dollars in business. Source: iStock

It seems one of the most basic of business marketing tools, yet I could easily argue the importance of the simple business card. This often overlooked marketing tool just gave our company an opportunity to establish a new customer and, at the minimum, score a sizable service call.

So how did this small piece of paper warrant an invoice that may total many thousands of dollars?

Let’s cover two of the most fundamental aspects of business: generating a phone call and answering the phone.

Recently, my wife and I were meeting our general manager, Chris, and his lovely wife Margaret at a local campground for a dinner date. Like many campgrounds in the area, they have a fairly stringent security policy that requires visitors to check in at the office and secure a pass to enter. Let’s take an annoying, inconsequential, onerous task and turn it into a sale, I think.

So, armed with a couple of adhesive backed business cards, we enter to complete the visitor check-in routine. I introduce myself to the desk clerk who has just started working at the facility, begin the process and strike up a conversation. I inquire if they are on well water and much to my chagrin their water is supplied by a large, for profit NYSE traded public water supply company.

But hey, what does a business card cost, a few pennies? I ask the desk clerk to kindly forward my card to the manager, just in case we may be of service in the future. Chris, Margaret, Sue and I enjoy a wonderful meal on the Delaware Bay; the excellent food and drinks complemented by a gorgeous sunset.

Fast forward to a Sunday afternoon a few days later. I receive a call on my cell from another campground six miles from the one our friends were staying at. They had a 5-horsepower submersible pump that had earlier tripped a breaker. The breaker had been reset and tripped again. The breaker was then replaced, after which the pump ran for several hours and then tripped out on overload.

Responding to the call, the manager said he was fine with back-up water supplies and to come out Monday morning. When I inquired how he had gotten my number, he told me he had called his friend, who was manager at the first campground, to find out if he had a good well/pump man. He was told that a card had just been placed on his desk a few days ago and, though he could not vouch for us, he had provided us the entry we needed to sell our business and our services.

I will conclude this article tomorrow and let you know the diagnosis and disposition of this case.

And, 24 hours later …

Who would have thought that the simple act of introducing our company could turn into such a profitable job in a matter of days? We ended up with a 5-horsepower submersible pump replacement, piping, wire, well redevelopment, sanitizing, two days of electrical work and a half day to re-plumb a distribution manifold when the campground shuts down for the season. That’s roughly $10,000 worth of work.

Most importantly, we gained a new customer that knows he can get prompt, quality work when he needs it. So, enjoy your Labor Day weekend and keep that lantern lit, Jim.

M&R Soil Investigations trades as Water Today, a division that serves the needs of coastal South Jersey for repair and installation of all types of water supply wells.