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Discussion Starter #1
I was wondering...

Years ago our company did church roofs and steeples. He did it for about 10yrs. Back then it wasn't a cut-throat market for work and it was throughout a few surrounding counties in Central New York- where things were small and everyone talked.. the work fell on him for those jobs.

We are working on possibly getting back into that market. Does anybody have any marketing or lead generating ideas for this? If I was fortunate to get a few good ideas- how should I approach these organizations to offer our services? Introduction letter with some informational literature? It's all on me to break through that barrier and I know i need to be very cautious (as with any marketing and sales) but I want to make sure to do it "right".

Any ideas or advice would be great! Does anyone else work this market directly?
 

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Go sit through a service, and when they pass the hat your way, toss in a boatload of business cards.:laughing:

Actually, I'm thinking these days most churches have newsletters that you might want to try advertising in.

-Just a thought.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
When I started reading your post I thought "this guy is going to tear me to shreads"... haha. Yeah, I have gathered a list of churches in the area and a few of the catholic churches have their own newspapers and stuff.

I just didn't know if their was an effective way to market to the church itself. I am so concerned that I will call to ask to advertise in their newsletter and they are going to get offended that I am offering business services- not non-profit or based on the functions of the church. Is it normal and do people advertise for direct service businesses not related in the newsletters? I have been at the same church for years and our church doesn't do them so I really am unfamiliar.
 

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No harm intended, I was simply trying to be funny.

Not really sure how you'd it, because you do have some valid concern where as to not come off as another sales person when the church is obviously non-profit, etc.

I'm sure someone else may chime in with some helpful advice, and I'll wish you good luck with your efforts.:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ah! I didn't want to hear that, but I am asure you aren't the only one with that advice!

He, (the owner), is convinced since he did it and did it so well "back in the day" that things would be just as profitable and good as then (market wise I mean- not a get rich quick thing). I'm really on edge with this idea and if we do it- I really, really don't want to be some shrew looking for business from "the church folk"... this has been eating me up and trying to decyfer the options.

Any more opinions?
 

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David Festa
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I have advertised on the local church magazine and bulletin, not one phone call. Cost me $400 for the year. Pastor called yesterday and wanted to know if I wanted to advertise in the church bulletin a few towns north of here; he wanted $1200.00 for the year. I told him I have tried advertising with a church in the past and that I don’t recall the yearly price being that high. He E-mails me this morning telling me he would do both church bulletins for $1000.00. What gives, not even a church can play fair?
Don’t waste your money
 

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Discussion Starter #8
ouch! I am thinking sending a simple introduction letter to the church itself- not members on congregation- but the church- to say we do steeples and church work and such and such. I guess that's our best bet. Just saying hello and not getting involved with "advertising" with them but saying this is who we are and our contact info. Thanks for the advice everyone... sounds like its pretty straight forawrd!
 

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I'm afraid the guys posting here may be right that it is best avoided overall. However, I think your experience with Catholic churches will probably be good. Most others will probably want to beat you up on price (sad but true). I'm at a loss to explain why, I can only speculate, but many Christians seem to think being a believer entitles them to save "God's money" by taking advantage of someone else. I've long suspected it stems from some bogus teaching on "stewardship" that many believers seem to embrace.

Anyway, my post is not to air my strong disagreement with the unbiblical attitude I've observed, only to point out it's true (but not entirely true); and more importantly to offer a possible solution. I suspect it's worth pursuing for the jobs you do get.

Instead of worrying about how to approach them, be where they will approach you. Think about it. If the church roof starts leaking, what do you think is going to happen? Someone, probably the pastor/priest, is going to go to the church office and Google looking for someone who knows how to do a church roof.

I would start by pretending you are that preacher and look to see how your local market looks for relevant search terms. I'm guessing you could probably get your site on page 1 to get those phone calls too. You'll want to build a page specifically for that service to get good ranking.

Next question, does any of the work you did years ago still exist? Do you have records to look up those jobs and contact the churches? That may be a good thing to do since your company did work for them at one time, and you shouldn't have to worry about coming off as a salesman.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
CBS to the rescue with good advice again!

The Catholic market was specifically what he was speaking of doing and what he's done in the past. I do remeber maybe 5 yrs ago bidding a job at a local church and I remember what a nightmare they put him through! That was for some remodel work though. Anyhow... When he kept talking about the Catholic Courier and things of the sort I wondered in the back of my mind why he was "only" mentioning that denomination and not "contact all churches".

As far as the previous work- those places still exist and he will be back in town there visiting next week (CNY). Maybe I can get him to contact them and/or get some photographs of the jobs themselves. Everytime he is town there he goes by each one and says "nope- everything is still the same- I don't see a patch or new roof- I guess I did a good job"... These jobs were a little over 12 yrs ago and prior. If some of the same still "work" there they may remember him doing the work or when the work was done. Good idea!!

I will be getting on the keywords later tonight! That never even crossed my mind!
 

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Est modus in rebus
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2-cents worth...

We did a small job for a church once, repair to a porch and $1200 from memory, it took 3 years to get paid and in the end they sent a check for $800 with a letter saying they hoped this covered the materials. We banked their check and put all church work on our NGFU (no good for us) list

Just my experience...

If it is that you are simply looking to expand markets due to the economy, why not look into other, better markets rather that reminiscing about times gone bye

Don't mean to be rude, but getting the work is one thing - getting paid in a timely manner is also very important - this is business, not...

I'm done!:whistling
 

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I think the key is being able to figure out who is the right person to contact at the church. Usually it is some unpaid church member who knows the building and advises the "trustees" on maintenance and repairs etc.

I have found myself in that role at my church (about 1400 members). We built a new building about 7 years ago and I was the chairman of the plans and construction subcommittee of the building committee. I was the one who advised the building committee, negotiated with the contractor, oversaw construction, wrote punchlists etc. Anyway, I kinda fell into the job of maintaining the new building.

All that is to say that I believe what you gotta do is find the guy (like me) and deal with him. Staff is clueless, trustees committee changes every year and they are clueless too. Unless it is a huge mega church they only have a janitor who is also clueless unless you just want to know what kind of floor wax to use.

And you gotta have something to offer. 24 hour response on maintenance items is a good one (leaks on church roofs always seem to occur on friday nights). Low price is always important, but again, if you get with the right guy he can see thru the BS and get you approved by the trustees, but the other side of that is the right guy can see thru your BS if you are trying to gouge somebody.

I have a little experience with this. Let me know if you have specific questions and I will try to help
 

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Discussion Starter #13
mudPad- seems you have the experience and knowledge in this! I surely hope everyone reading and replyin to the post doesn't think we're out to "get lots of money off the churches" - we're not at all. We are doing well... we are steady and luckily our quality and professionalism (we simply keep our mouth shut about others in the community and do our job right and charge fairly) has established us as who we really are and we're fortunate.

With my comment about targeting the churches was more in the sense that we are steady and things are going very smooth- so we are comfortable taking on a few more projects for the spring/summer and we thought since there aren't other businesses offering directly to the churches in our area (a lot of that type of work comes from down state) that we could target them and offer local service. Obviously encouraging this is the fact that the company did many catholic and "large" churches in the past that was profitable and got the company a lot of recognition. For the steeple work and stone work.

Our company DOES offer 24/7 emergency services- that was a great "focus factor" you brought up. I am starting to paint a picture of ways to show effective marketing to the churches without being a sloppy sales person or being ineffective. In your opinion- with your experience on both ends of the spectrum here- should I do a round of calls or visits to get in contact or find out the proper contact person to approach later by mail or gift certificate or phone call? What made you most receptive to just entertaining the contractors or sales approaches in your previous position? Was it someone who just wanted to say hello and I'm here if you ever need me or was it the person with just enough "hook" to get you reviewing their literature or considering the building or projects you might have not been interested in before you saw what they could offer you? Is a "church" or affiliation discount of some sort a good method or is that as time consuming and wasteful as sending bulk mailers to everyone living within 10 miles of you? I do very well with my marketing approach and campaigns in every other aspect- but for some reason I am so concerned over not doing this right and coming off wrong and I keep thinking if I don't do this just right that it would be a negative thing.

I guess, based on previous responses and an experience we had a few years back, that i don't want to try to sell anything to my target. I'm not trying to talk them into anything or convince them of anything. I am thinking of taking the approach of- this is who we are, we wanted to introduce ourselves and let you know we are local, we have extensive experience with the specific architectual conditions you have here, we are available in emergencies, this is how you can reach us and we are glad you gave us the chance to let you know... What do you think?

Its amazing the different opinions I have heard on this and i understand and can agree with each one for one reason or another. So what now... lol....
 

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Project Superintendent
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I would probably call around and ask for the business administrator at the churches you are targeting. They can probably tell you who the right person to contact is. At my church I have a mail slot and on Sunday or whenever I am over there I pick up what ever is there. I get lots of proposals. I tend to ignore the "slick" stuff (obviously overpriced if they can afford all that fancy printing)

A lot of it is just timing and luck. For instance, if there is a compressor down somewhere in the building I would probably pay more attention to HVAC service proposals.
 
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