At our doorstep — the $10,000 note

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Originally published in the Construction Marketing Ideas blog, September 10, 2007.
It looks so amateurish that you might wonder if someone with absolutely no knowledge about marketing and zero sophistication is involved in the process. But Rob Norton of
R.J. Norton Residential Contracting in Ottawa knows exactly what he is doing.
“I get three weeks work with three hours work” door-knocking and leaving the handwritten photocopied note at houses where he sees signs of water damage in front of the house, he says.

“Probably we drop about 100 fliers–we get 10 to 15 callbacks, and for 10 houses, each house provides between $1,000 and $2,000 worth of work” — that translates to between $10,000 and $20,000 in sales for as little as three hours effort.

Wow!

Norton says the handwritten format works best — many people think each note is personally written, he says. He adds that most of his business comes when he actually speaks to someone at the doorstop — and other business comes from referrals as neighbours see the work being done. But 20 to 30 per cent of his business is from callbacks from the handwritten photocopied note.

I showed the note to a couple of people, and they laughed, amazed at how unprofessional it looks. But Rob Norton has the last laugh. He is employing a crew of between three and five workers, and doing thousands of dollars of business.

Norton does not have a website, or a published email address. Most of the business for his company established in the last two years comes from the door knocking and handwritten note.

Truly effective construction marketing sometimes does not need to be sophisticated at all. What really matters is whether it works.

After I posted this entry in September, 2007, I tried to reach Norton to verify the claims here.  I validated his is for real — by speaking with his mother, who described his business — but could never connect with him directly, so these claims may be overstated.  But it s a great story, nonethelesss.

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