It’s hard to believe all the changes I’ve seen in the locksmith industry over the past 25 years. Back in my dad’s day, locksmiths only worked on mechanical locks, had a yellow pages ad and waited for customers to call.
Today, locksmiths are more specialized and a growing number are focusing more on electronic access control. Mechanical locks are still around but electronics are being added, giving the customer more options.
Paid yellow page ads are competing with free web site listings. Instead of full page advertising, most seasoned locksmiths are downsizing their ads and building an Internet presence.
As for business cards, they’re still around but now they are doing double duty. Rather than being left behind, strategies have been created to generate business by directing customers to join social networks with just a business card.
If that’s not enough, our economy has made dramatic and negative changes as well. But regardless of all the changes and upgrades there is one area most locksmiths can’t seem to change.
“Locksmithing is Feast or Famine!”
Dad described this as the curse that haunts every locksmith business.
The first time I heard that expression was back in the mid 1980s when I started working for my father’s locksmith company. The thought of stop-and-go business sounded scary but it also didn’t make sense why it couldn’t be fixed.
I asked Dad, “Could this curse be broken?” “Nope nothing can be done about it, that’s the way it’s always been and always will be,” he said.
Since that time, that belief continues to be passed down from locksmith to locksmith. Rather than tackle this head on and change it, passive acceptance continues its stranglehold on the locksmith’s business.
Back in 1989, I was hired by an unusual employer who would challenge that thinking. He owned three lock shops that were always busy. Instead of feast or famine, it was business all day every day from multiple sources.
His view of operating a locksmith business had quite a different slant then what most of us were taught. With his instruction, I was given new skill sets and a different way to think about creating business. Over the years I’ve refined and tweaked those skills and they have carried me all this way. I’ll share five of those with you today.
Is there really a Locksmith Curse? If so is there a strategy to kill the curse? My answer to both is, “Yes!”
In this article I’m going to pull back the curtain and reveal the #1 cause of the curse. Then I’ll reveal how to prevent this epidemic from spreading throughout your company. Are you ready to finally kill the curse in your business?
Before I breach that topic there are several points I need to bring to your attention, which you will need to address for yourself.
Read over and give some deep thought to the questions below.
- Is your view (a) I’m a locksmith or (b) we’re a company that provides locksmith services?
- Are you in business to (a) create sales or (b) render goods and services?
- When it comes to continued education you (a) learn as you need to or (b) can’t get enough?
- Will your business availability be (a) Monday-Friday or (b) 24 hours a day?
- If a doable strategy were presented would you (a) implement it or (b) wait until you needed it?
- How do you view change? (a) I don’t like change or (b) change opens new doors
- Would you like a percentage of your net profits going to savings? (a) yes or (b) no
- Does your business have an (a) exit plan or (b) sell off everything when you retire?
Curse Breaker #1. Take Responsibility
Wherever you conduct business, you have competition. You want to know a secret? For the most part, your competition is lazy. That’s right -- they don’t want the business that bad and will blame their lack of business on everything else rather than searching for new business.
The first step to breaking the curse is take control of your business. Don’t wait for new clients to call; start searching for them. Never allow your business to get to the point of waiting for the phone to ring.
Curse Breaker #2. Marketing vs. Advertising
Marketing is not the same as advertising. Marketing resembles a masterkey system and would be considered the Grand Master. Advertising is only one section of Marketing’s system.
Other sections just as important but not limited to: Web site, yellow page ad, flyers, business cards, post cards & etc…
Just like any masterkey system, marketing has to have a plan. How you set it up and use the different sections will determine how often your clients will be reminded of you.
Curse Breaker #3. Automation
You can robotically educate and pre-qualify clients. To pre-qualify clients. Establish a free consumer information hotline.
When doing mailers or flyers or even in your yellow pages ad, your content would direct prospects to call your number and they can listen to a prerecorded message. The headline would read: “Don’t Call Any Locksmith Company Until You Listen To This Money Saving, FREE RECORDED MESSAGE! Call 555-5555.”
Now you can educate your clients about your services, new products or warning them about being scammed. Just make sure to leave your phone number for them to call you for service.
Curse Breaker #4. Make You Web site Come Alive
Here’s what I want you to do. Do a search of as many locksmith web sites you can find, primarily in your area. How many of them are using video on their front page to grab your attention? None? You should be the first.
Video-record a 60-second message. Speak to the viewer so he or she can put a face with the company. You don’t have to sell them anything, just thank them for stopping by and urge them to call or e-mail you if they need locksmith services or have some questions.
Curse Breaker #5. Young People Don’t Use Yellow Pages
All five of my children have cell phones with Internet capabilities. When they want to look up something, they click on a Google app. They are instantly taken to the Internet and a search engine page.
When they want any type of service, they type in keywords that are relevant. For instance if they wanted a locksmith in Las Vegas, all they would do is type in three words: Locksmith Las Vegas.
The next page they see on their cell phone is a list of locksmiths in Las Vegas and their web sites. They click on the link and call that locksmith.
Is your web site search engine ready? It better be because the youth are your new clients and they’ve changed the way one looks for services.
The whole idea of breaking the curse is to not accept outcomes that stop the flow of business and do not allow you to profit. If you do not like how business is going, then get out there and find it.
Woody Quiñones has been selling to the public since the age of 10. With over 42 years of sales and marketing experience, he has started several businesses with little or no money. His popular web site, www.LocksmithMarketing.com is a free resource for locksmiths. Woody is also a Business Growth and Marketing Consultant, an ASI Member, a published online writer, a practicing locksmith of 24+ years and can be located on numerous online business forums.