Mike Murphy

What better way to end a year of bathroom reading withThe NEWSthan to start thinking about ways to enhance, improve, and rev up your company?

The next 10 things you read are not guaranteed to increase your sales, but I’ve met people who swore to me that all of them will work - if you execute effectively. Maybe they will work for you. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!


Sure. I know what you’re thinking: Leave it to an Irishman to find a way to include beer with work. True, but in this case the six-pack is a door hanger. There aren’t any new ideas, but this is always a good one. When you leave a house from a service call, especially a new installation call, walk three houses to the left and three houses to the right leaving door hangers in your wake. The door hanger should say something simple like, “We just saved your neighbor some money. Call us to find out how. Better yet, ask your neighbor.” Of course, the obvious such as your company name and a phone number have to be on the door hanger, but don’t overdo it.

Now the part you may not have heard about. The person placing the door hangers has to write down the addresses. Two days later, someone from your office has to call these prospects. This person should be armed with the tools to do some research. They have enough information from that address to pull up at least four of the six phone numbers. If you’re not sure how to pull this part off, check with Service Roundtable or another contractor organization that is good at marketing.


Dump it! OK, that was just my biased opinion. If you really want to make your Yellow Pages’ dollars go farther, contact Hudson Ink, a company that has it figured out. Frankly, any advertising can work if you follow a simple premise - keep it simple. And, any advertising can be a waste of money if you don’t. For example, focus your ad copy on a single, strong message such as “We are cheap!” or “It tastes expensive, and it is.” (my favorite Kentucky bourbon billboard). Once you have their attention, what is it you want them to do, and how are you going to get them to do it? Remember, they won’t call off of an ad because you told them about your great company. They will call you because your great company can do something for them. Figure out what they want, and make that the offer. Again, don’t forget the necessities. But should your phone number be the biggest thing on the page? I don’t think so.


The basic refrigerator magnet has got to be the greatest invention ever after the discovery of fire by the first heating contractor. Sometimes called novelty gifts, leave-behinds, and yes, trinkets and trash, these little reminders show up in the oddest places in homes. I’ve found that living in a home that is now nine years old, I have more need for my friendly neighborhood appliance repair service companies. Everything is breaking at the same time!

The stickers on the appliances have phone numbers. The pens, yardsticks, rubber stress balls (which my dog scatters throughout the house), and even the thermostat all have phone numbers. Still, I like the magnets. We have 19 on our refrigerator at this very moment. Among the magnetized pictures of my kids, over the years I have strategically added my favorite pizza place, our heating and a/c contractor, and a few others. One is from Doc Rusk Heating and Cooling, a company out of Cincinnati. Doc Rusk died years ago, but I keep the magnet because he was a good guy. Maybe somebody will think you’re a good guy and put your magnet on their fridge.


OK, so I lied. There are not 10 simple things to rev up your business on this page. Only a few would fit in the space provided, so the last one has to be exceptionally brief.

If you are not a marketing-wise person, be wise enough to hire someone who is. This person should be able to write effective advertising copy such as headlines that pull people into your message. This person should be creative enough to challenge you with new ideas. This person should think like a customer.

Tune in next year for the rest of the story. More simple things to come.

Publication date:12/24/2007