Making Sample Boards

So you just received all your materials and ready to start coating everything in sight. Before you do something to mother in laws driveway that you may regret for the rest of your life, you might want to consider making a few sample boards first. In dealer training Chuck makes it very clear that it is important to make sample boards for several reasons.

First, you need to get all your equipment dialed in and adjusted properly, as well as getting used to how it all feels in your hands. By adjusting your equipment and playing around a little bit, you’ll become more comfortable and you’ll start to learn how to achieve the perfect results your looking for.

Second, you don’t want to waste a significant amount of product on a project without having some idea of what you are doing. Worse case scenario, you might end up having to grind it all off because it didn’t turn out the way you wanted or didn’t end up as a good example of your capabilities.

Before all your materials arrive, you should review all of your instructional DVD’s located in your welcome aboard package. Be sure to view the segment labeled “Doing the job right” There is also a video called “Assembling your equipment” located in the “Product application section” of the dealer website that should be viewed prior to getting started. Once you have organized all your materials, and reviewed the videos, then it’s time to get started making some basic sample boards.

We are often asked, “what’s the best material to use for sample boards?” You can use 1/4″or 3/8″ plywood, Luan, Masonite , Hardy-back board or Dura-rock. Any of these materials will work fine. Luan is light, durable, and inexpensive. On your first sample boards you may want to just use entire 4’ by 8’ ft. sheets of plywood. With this size you will be able to work on your skimming, spraying, and taping techniques. If you don’t like the way they turn out the first time, you can skim right back over them again and start over.

After you have practiced on the 4’ by 8’ sheets a few times and have gotten a little more comfortable with the product then you might want to consider making some smaller sample boards usually 2’x 2’. This size is light, easy to carry around, and can easily fit in a small car used for sales calls. Architects and designers also prefer the more convenient smaller sample boards.

Making sample boards requires the same procedures as doing a real job except for the prep of the surface. On a real job we would either acid-etch and power wash or mechanically abrade the surface in order to properly prep the concrete. Because sample boards are usually made of wood we recommend just skim coating them twice.

We suggest making at least 6 to 10 sample boards at one time. It doesn’t make sense to mix products and get your tools and equipment dirty for only 1 sample board. We usually start by mixing a ½ bucket of 105 grout at skim consistency. For half a bucket we mix ½ a bag of 105 grout and 2 ½ to 3 qts.  112 modifier. We mix the grout with our ½” drill and square mixing paddle. Once the grout has been mixed, we then pour it out equally in to 5 or 6 smaller buckets. We then add approximately ¼ cup of 190 colorant to each of the smaller buckets making each bucket a different color so you can skim different boards in different colors. Next we skim coat each of our sample boards. After the first skim coat has cured, we lightly flat scrape or rub brick the surface, brush or blow it off and skim again. Allow the skimmed sample boards to cure out completely. Cure time will depend on temperature, humidity, air movement, and direct sunlight. Cure time could be as little as 1 hour at 85 degrees outside in direct sun light or over night if inside with cooler conditions.

Once the skim coat has fully cured, again flat scrape or rub brick as needed to remove any sling from the troweling and then brush and blow off. Any excess dust. At this point you can tape out the desired patterns using filament tape. You can do bricks, stones, tiles, etc.

After you have applied the filament tape for the patterns you will have to decide what type of texture you are going to apply over the tape, either a spray texture or a hand troweled stone texture. For either the spray or stone troweled texture, we will need to mix up another ½ bucket of 105 grout. This time however, we will make the mix a little bit thicker. We’ll mix ½ a bag of 105 grout with 2 ½ qts. of 112 modifier. Be sure to mix thoroughly so that there are no lumps that might clog your hopper gun. Use a margin trowel to scrape the inside of the bucket when you mix to insure consistency. Once the grout is mixed, pour it equally into 5 or 6 separate buckets and then add ¼ cup of 190 colorant to each bucket making them all different colors. Now you have the ability to spray multiple combinations of colors on multiple boards. We suggest shooting the boards with lighter main spray colors first. Remember, when you spray your highlights to start with the lightest color and then work your way to the darkest. You will have to either clean your gun or switch guns to go back to your original main spray color. Refer to the “Doing the job right video” if this is unclear. Once you have sprayed and highlighted your boards, allow them to cure out thoroughly. Once cured, you can flat scrape, broom, and blow them off. At this point they should be ready to seal. For most Hallmark samples 2 coats of 150 or 155 sealer can be applied. You can use other CTI sealers such as Rapid Armor, EZ Armor, Aquathane 6000, or Pro-Seal 200 as well.

Trailer Organization

Trailer Organization
Most Dealers operate from a 7’ X 14’ tandem axle trailer.  The weight limit on a trailer of this nature normally ranges from 5000 to 7500 lbs. and can easily hold everything needed for a project of up to 2000 sq. ft.
Having the trailer organized in a way where all items are easy to access and laid out in an order where they are grouped together as needed is a way to make your crew more efficient.   Before the start of any project, go through the checklist of items that could possibly be needed on the project and make sure the trailer is stocked completely before leaving for the job site.  This extra time spent organizing everything you need will save trips back to your warehouse (or worst, having to purchase items you already have) due to not having items while on the job site.
Trailer Organization
Keeping your trailer organized not only allows you and your installation crews to be more efficient, but also helps in keeping your CTi products in good condition, extends the life of your equipment and provides a professional look for your current and prospective customers when you’re on the job site.  Below are some examples of how to organize a typical trailer, CTi recommends you build out your trailer with the storage and organizational layout that works best for you.
CTi has detailed layouts on where to keep your material, equipment and other items needed for the job site organized in a way where it is not only easy to access but also is easy to find.

The 3 M’s of Marketing

At CTi, we teach advertising success comes from adhering to marketing’s 3 M’s, message, market and media.  The 3 M’s help any business identify how to tweak their advertising and marketing plan to generate more of the right type of business for their Dealership.

Message – This is what you’re telling the customer in your advertising and marketing.  The more specifically you can address the customer’s needs with your services, the greater the connection will be with the customer.  This is sometimes hard to do with small businesses as they try to be all things to all people and the message gets so watered down the customer isn’t sure what the company does.  Some of the best CTi Dealers in the network concentrate on specific market niches and hone their message with the customer until it’s razor sharp.

Market – Market is who you are trying to reach with your message.  Again, we teach CTi Dealers to imagine who their ideal customer is, their age, the type of home or business their in, the types of issues they want remedied all leads to a better understanding of who your market is.  Once you’ve got this nailed down, then it’s just a matter of identifying where those customers are in your area.  Where are the type of homes you imagined when you thought about your ideal customer?  Where are the customers located that have concrete areas around their home that may to 5-10 years old and thus in dire need of CTi’s services?  This is how you nail down the market within the 3 M’s.

Media – Once you have the message and market elements figured out, then it’s a matter of figuring out the ideal way of getting the message to the market.  Your delivery method may be online through your website or other home service portals such as Home Advisor, it may be in more traditional marketing through magazine or direct mail, or it may be a matter of getting the neighbors talking to each other once you have a couple of jobs down in a neighborhood by handing out flyers to everyone in the neighborhood.  Measuring your advertising and marketing effectiveness is key here so you have a better understanding of how your customers are seeing your message.

One of the more effective ways of not only generating calls for your Dealership, but also branding your business is using a trailer wrap or truck lettering.  These travelling billboards provide a great way to introduce your products to new customers as you make your way to job sites and other appointments, but you can also target the advertising since you’re normally travelling to areas where your current customers are located.

Referral business is one of the keys to moving your Dealership to a new level, and having your trucks and trailers wrapped or lettered provides a great way for customers to know who to call when they see your work.  Below are a couple of examples of CTi Dealers and their travelling billboards.



When considering success factors for a new business, home services offer five potent reasons that lead to a successful venture:

  1. Home Services area high touch type business where dealing with the customer cannot be replaced by online or automated systems.  Over the last 20 years, we’ve seen a number of industries turned inside out through automation and other machine led replacements.  Home Services always needs a person to person interaction and people to complete the work.
  2. Dual income households is providing two factors that create more success for Home Services.  First, over 60% of the households in the U.S. are now dual income.  Many of these households have new levels of discretionary income but with leisure time at a premium, the second factor helps Home Services; namely, these households don’t want to spend their time on sprucing up the home and would rather pay someone to do it for them.
  3. Home Service businesses provide a low overhead business model in most cases.  Most of these type businesses can be operated from home of a small warehouse/office setup.
  4. The market is large and relatively stable.  Home ownership provides a huge market in almost every area of the United States.  In addition, home ownership has remained relatively stable across the nation and will provide a growing market for years to come.
  5. Expansion of the business is relatively easy.  In a brick and mortar establishment, larger spaces and increased rent is the only way to increase traffic and revenue.  In a Home Services business, adding additional production can be as simple as adding a helper to a current crew and is normally no harder than adding an additional crew with the equipment, vehicle, etc. needed to support them.  In either case it is easier from a management as well as cash flow position to expand the business.

The Final Note

When you’re advertising for customers, the final note you provide them in your message is a “Call to Action”.  This note is what tells the customer the next steps and provides a path for how they proceed.

Too often in the world of home improvement the final note is “Free Estimate”.  While this call to action of “Call Today for a Free Estimate” can spark some interest, there may be other ways to provide the customer with more value in this important part of your message.

“Call Today for a Free Design Consultation” could be a way to get the customer excited about how their new area will look.  The Free Design Consultation gets a customer thinking about the possibilities for their driveway or patio or pool deck instead of just thinking about price when they see “Free Estimates”.

“Call Today for a Free Computerized Design Imaging Session” is another way to get the customer to pick up the phone.  CTi’s Navigator software can provide the customer with a glimpse of what their new pool deck or walkway will look like right on your computer screen.  Use this technology to not only excite customers in their home, but also get them to invite you in the first place.

Radiant heat flooring is a situation you may encounter if you live in a colder climate.  Radiant heating is the process of embedding tubing in a concrete surface (i.e. interior floors for room heating and exterior

slabs to melt snow and ice) and then having hot water or electric heating transmit through this tubing to warm the concrete slab.

The challenge posed by radiant heat flooring is that of not harming the tubing during the preparation stages.  Since the floor has tubing running approximately 2” down throughout the floor, you cannot cut the floor for tension relief.


Preparation of a radiant heat floor must be mechanical.  Use of acid on a radiant heat slab may cause damage to the tubing.  Crack repair procedures can be utilized by forming a small “V” channel in the slab along the crack line and injecting the Crack Weld.  Once the mechanical preparation and crack repair is done, the installation of the CTI System can proceed as normal.

Once the CTI System has been installed, it is recommended that the radiant heat unit not be used for a minimum of 30 days.  This allows the CTI System to cure and so the rapid heating of the concrete caused by the radiant heating doesn’t damage the surface.

We hope everyone who attended the 2018 CTi Dealer Rally enjoyed their stay and had a great time.  We thoroughly enjoyed seeing everyone and look forward to seeing all of you at next year’s get together!

Below are some photos from the Rally

Sales Shape Up

Driving revenue and making sales is at the heart of a successful Dealership.  The article below was written by Barry Farber and has a lot of great ideas on how to get your business to the next level by making your sales effort more cohesive.

What if you could take your sales to the next level in just 30 days? It’s more feasible than you think – especially when you break the process down into small, achievable steps. Remember that action is our greatest teacher, and the only way to see a difference in your sales is to act! When you act on an idea, it builds your confidence and enthusiasm, and you begin to see a clearer path on the road to reaching your goals.

Consider this article your 30-day action plan for sales success. Here is my challenge for you: Today, act on just one of the 10 ideas mentioned below. Each one should take you a few days to complete. Tackle another one when you’re through, and in 30 days, you can expect to see results.

KEEP A POSITIVE ATTITUDE. Everyone talks about the importance of attitude – and for good reason. Attitude always comes up in conversations with high achievers in all types of professions as the top factor in their success.

Here’s an action step that can keep your attitude in check: Take an honest look at the people around you. What kinds of attitudes do they bring to the table? Do they pump you up or bring you down? Everyone is entitled to a bad attitude now and again, but if some of the people you’re around are constantly angry, bitter and bringing you down, it might be time to move on.

Every 30 days make a list of the people with whom you spend the most time. Put a plus sign next to the person’s name if he or she has been a mentor, role model or uplifted you in any way. Try to add one or two names to this section each month. Others on the list might have neither a positive or negative impact on you. You can put a zero next to their names. Then there might be some people on the list who are negative and seem to always bring you down. Put a minus sign next to their names. You can either try to help these people or just stop spending time with them. This might be tough, but if you can do it, you’ll be amazed at the difference in your attitude and the way you think. We become what we think about, and our environment plays a big part in what we think.

MAP OUT YOUR GOALS. Many people underestimate and underutilize one of the most powerful tools on the planet, and it’s right between their ears. When was the last time you sat down with a blank sheet of paper with your number-one goal written at the top of the page? It’s amazing what you’ll come up with after brainstorming for 15 to 30 minutes each week. Try to list at least 20 ideas that will bring you closer to your sales goal. Choose one of them to act on right away.

GAIN ACCESS. My entire career revolves around this skill, from selling and marketing unique products and helping business owners gain access to new markets to getting through to the toughest accounts and decision-makers. The list of ways to gain access is endless: Ask for referrals from great customers, send helpful information out to key prospects, and attend important trade shows and walk the floor. But the most successful tactic I’ve found is becoming relentless when the ROI is apparent. You can’t just be tenacious without a purpose. Otherwise, you’ll eventually turn off your prospect. But if you can uncover information about the prospect – such as his or her challenges (business or personal) – and then research information and materials that could be useful for that person, it makes a lasting impression.

For clients who can rally benefit from what I have to offer, I find useful magazine or newspaper articles that address what’s important to them. After a while, the prospect sees my efforts helping theirs, and doors start to open. All it takes is a little time, a stamp and a note attached to a relevant story simply saying, “Thought you might enjoy what’s enclosed.” Mail an article to one key prospect today.

ASK QUESTIONS. Most salespeople like to talk – myself included. But most customers prefer salespeople who listen well. So I remind myself to do an exercise I think keeps the listening skills sharp. Every time I meet a new person on the road, in meetings or anywhere else, I make it a rule not to share anything about myself until I’ve discovered what the other person does, their interests and so on. Even when he or she asks about my business, I’m short with the answer and go right back to my questions: “You mentioned you were opening a second store. How did you get to that stage?” The goal is to get them to elaborate on what they’ve said. Then I can decide if it makes sense to share what I do and what area of my business to focus on, or I might realize there’s no opportunity right now and move on. Questions are the keys to selling. Nobody ever listened themselves out of a sale! Next time you meet someone new, try to listen 70 percent of the time and talk only 30 percent. Get them talking about their challenges, goals and interests.

OFFER STELLAR SERVICE. It’s the details – the little things you do – that make the difference. It’s been proved over and over again that the reason most customers don’t make a purchase is they feel you don’t care, lack interest or show indifference.

I remember conducting a seminar more than 10 years ago and inviting some of the company’s top sales achievers onstage to share the one most important idea that contributed to their success. One of them had a very simple answer. He said, “Every time I meet with a prospect or client, I continue to ask them this question: Is there anything I’m not doing that I could be doing to serve you better?” What he was doing was constantly searching for problems. Problems become opportunities, and once they are solved, you have a more loyal customer than if he never had any problems at all. This is because the customer sees your efforts in action and knows you’re ready to serve. Customers feel comfortable the next time they make a decision to do business with you because they know you will be there to solve any problems that come up rather than run away from them.

Make a list of your top customers, and call one each day, asking, “Is there anything I’m not doing that I could be doing to serve you better?” You can’t go wrong when customers tell you what to do and you deliver.

DIFFERENTIATE YOUR BUSINESS. What make you stand out in a positive way? How will your customer remember you after four competitors make their presentations? Follow-through, understanding the customer’s business, and service after the sale are important to customers, so before the sale is made, we need to come up with ways to demonstrate our track record of providing these. I used to interview my satisfied customers on tape and use their success stories and comments to handle my prospects’ concerns. At the time, no one else did that, and it helped me stand out in a positive way that also increased my closing ration.

I remember talking to a sales rep for Oracle who would tell each customer he was going to tape and transcribe their entire needs assessment meeting so they both had all the notes, key criteria and action items for review. They were complex sales, and he made his customers feel at ease that they were on the right track. Think about it: What can you do to differentiate your presentation?

List three things that differentiate you and your message in a positive way from the competition, and keep them at your fingertips to present them at any time.

SELL VALUE. I remember a sign a printing company had on the wall that said:

  1. PRICE


Great quality and outstanding service come at a price. How many times have you got a great deal on a product or service, only to find out later that the product wore out or fell apart, or that the service was nowhere to be found when you called with a question or problem? When customers challenge the price of your product, your company and even you, what they’re really saying is, “What am I getting from you that I’, not getting from your competitor for that additional investment?” If someone asked you that today, would you have at least three reasons why you’re unique and why they should buy from you? Write down at least three reasons, and memorize them.

FOLLOW THROUGH. Every customer wants to feel like he or she made a good decision after making a purchase. When you follow up with a call, a thank-you note, materials you promised, or just to ask how the first day went with the new system in place, it ensures that the customer will feel taken care of and not like he or she has been sold.

Review the criteria the customer had prior to making their decision, and when you make your follow-call after the sale, ask them, “How has our company delivered on your key needs?” Then ask, “What can we do now to keep you as a lifelong customer?” Also be sure to ask what times are best for keeping in touch. With all this information, create customized outlines of long-term follow-up steps for each customer.

CREATE A SENSE OF URGENCY. Top salespeople seem to always push themselves to move things forward. They’re constantly reviewing their accounts and thinking of ways to increase business and get things done. They end every call with a question or statement that will either close the deal or move the sale along. For instance: “Why don’t we get together next week and review the product samples as our next step?” Or ask the customer, “What’s our next step?” Sometimes we can get overwhelmed with so much activity that we need to ask ourselves every hour: “What can I do right now to make the most productive use of my time?” It’s a good idea to put this question in your daily planner.

TURN OBSTACLES INTO OPPORTUNITIES. Great sales people know rejection comes with the territory. And when you get knocked down, thrown around and beaten up, it has a negative impact on your attitude. What’s important is the mental position you take toward a setback or obstacle. As Henry Ford once said, “Failure is the opportunity to begin again, more intelligently.” When we run into obstacles, we have to continue to believe in our goals and keep the faith strong. Never, ever give up. A “yes I will” attitude has been responsible for more achievements in this world than anything else because of the belief, faith and commitment attached to it.

I’ve worked on many projects over the years that would have been easy to give up on when the road got bumpy, but have come through in the end. I received 27 rejections while selling a now-world-famous comedian to radio and TV. But deep down, I knew there was value in what I was doing.

I dare you to look at every obstacle, rejection and setback as a time to earn. Next time you face any adversity or challenge that gets in the way of your goals, remember that facing them head-on with action is the key to success. Increase your sales activity; call mentors and others you respect to gather their insights for your next move; make a list of things you can do to get yourself back on track. Whatever you do don’t give up and let obstacles get the best of you. Attacking them with intelligent action will tear them down.


The development and delivery of a consistent message to the public pertaining to your company’s product or service for the purpose of generating sales.

This definition should constantly be held in your mind as you develop your marketing and advertising plan.

The Marketing mindset

 The way to view advertising within your business is as an investment.  A good example would be: If you had a way of investing $900 so that in 60 – 120 days, you would recoup over $2000, would you consider this a good investment?  This is what advertising does for your business.

Now let’s explain the paragraph above.  Let’s say you invested $1320 in your business by sending out 2000 direct mail cards to homeowners you know would have an interest in the CTI products.  Out of these 2000 cards you generated 20 leads to follow up on, and of these 20 leads you closed 5 sales (these are average numbers we have experienced on a national basis with our Dealer network.)  Let’s also say that your average job is 400 s/f and your average price per square foot is $5.50.  That’s $8,800 in total sales.  Now let’s take your overhead charges out of the equation with approximately $2,400 in product cost, another $700 in labor, your $1300 spent in advertising and your general overhead cost (phones, insurance, etc.) of $2,400.  After all these costs are absorbed, you will still end up with $2,000 in net profit.  This is the power of your advertising investment. With this in mind, let’s look at how to develop a plan and spend your advertising money effectively.

Who is your primary customer?

The typical residential customer for the CTI System is a homeowner who owns a home in the “above average” range for your area.  The price will vary depending on where you are located.  This home normally has 4-5 bedrooms and is 2500 to 4500 square feet in size.   These homes are normally five to fifteen years old (the concrete is starting to show signs of wear and tear). The household income for these potential customers is also above average.  The breadwinner(s) for the home normally have incomes in the low six figure range.  There are many other markets you can explore with the CTI System ranging from home and pool builders to commercial property managers to restaurant and hotel owners.  A little imagination and the ability to recognize opportunities are crucial in maximizing your market potential.

What is it you provide?

The first question you want to answer is what are you providing your customer?  CTI offers two main benefits to its customers.  The first is the ability to take a concrete area that is starting to look bad and restore the original concrete without having to rip out and replace it.  The second benefit is CTI’s ability to provide a beautiful new service in areas where there was once just plain gray concrete.  In addition, CTI offers many customers a cost effective alternative to many of the other types of answers to plain concrete.  Alternatives such as tile, stamped concrete, and stone can be two to five times more expensive than achieving the same look with the CTI System.

What are the features of the CTI System.

Features are facts about the products you offer.  These are the selling points you can concentrate on when you are speaking with a customer:

  • The CTI System is twice the strength of normal concrete.
  • The CTI System can be installed in an unlimited number of designs, colors and patterns.
  • The CTI System is freeze and thaw resistant, oil resistant, mildew, salt and UV resistant.
  • The CTI System is cool to walk on when applied in lighter colors.
  • The CTI System is a cost effective alternative to tearing out and replacing existing concrete.
  • The CTI System can be applied to any number of surfaces ranging from steps to walls to driveways, patios and pool decks along with many other areas around the home and office.
  • The application process includes the most effective crack repair system in the industry where epoxy is injected into the crack and actually “welds” the crack back together making the area stronger than the surrounding concrete.
  • The application process includes designed tension relief cuts to relieve tension in the concrete surface that may cause cracking in the future.


A wise man once said that running a business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark…you may know what you’re doing but no one else will.

Daniel S. Kennedy in his book The Ultimate Marketing Plan writes that the formula for successfully marketing your business can be summed up with the acronym:


This stands for “You Can’t Do Business Sitting On Your Ass” Mr. Kennedy states that to run a successful business, you must constantly have your message in front of the customer.  Too many businesses pull back and don’t expend any time or money on their businesses when the going gets tough.  This is the worst thing you can do when your business is at this point.

Mass Advertising

If you are unable to identify areas where you know for sure people would like to buy the CTI products, your advertising should begin with a medium that covers a large area, or contacts a large amount of people for a smaller amount of money; this is mass advertising.  Mass advertising’s advantages are a lower cost per exposure or you can spend less to contact more people.  The drawback is that mass advertising normally has a much higher “wasted” exposure than targeted advertising.  Wasted exposures are when your ads reach people who will not buy the CTI products for some reason.

The best way to use mass advertising is to identify various markets for you to target.  This is done by tracking the lead flow from your mass advertising geographically.  What you will find is that your leads will begin to show a pattern of coming from various “hot” locations around your territory.  Once this begins to happen, you can change your advertising mix to better target just those areas so that your advertising will work better and cost less.  With this in mind, let’s look at the most popular choices the elite Dealers use when mass advertising:

Home and Garden shows: These shows are normally held during the Spring and Fall months at such places as fairgrounds, civic centers, stadiums, etc.  The cost will vary depending on how big the show is but a rough number is in the neighborhood of $800 – $2000.  Shows such as these that are held in major areas such as Dallas, New York, L.A., etc. can generate an astounding number of leads.  Many Dealers share the cost of the booth as well as the advertising cost strictly for the fact that they cannot keep up with the amount of interest generated.  Smaller shows can still be very effective.  The power of these shows stems from the fact that your introduction of the product to your customer is face to face with samples of the product with you. This type of meeting will answer all the questions the customer may have concerning the product and will bring them further along the sales cycle.  Most home and garden shows will generate enough leads for you to sell at least 5-10 jobs with a 50% closing rate.  This will make the return on your investment very attractive even if you just have minimal interest.

Website and online: This has become a crucial element in any Dealer’s advertising arsenal.  A well designed website can not only provide a great resource for your customers to find out more about your company and the CTi product line, but it can also generate initial interest via the various search engines.  Today’s website needs to look good across a number of different media; phones, pads and computers are some of the ways people browse the internet.  In order for a site to be effective, it needs to customize its look depending on how the customer is coming to you.  In addition, there are ways to point good customers to your website via such vehicles as pay per click advertising with the search engines as well as other online portals.  Portals such as Home Advisor, Thumbtack, and the Concrete Network provide homeowners who are in the market for the goods and services offered by your Dealership.

Val Pak mail: This is a great way to saturate a certain area of your market to identify smaller pockets to target advertise.  The Val Pak mailing is designed to offer the power of direct mail advertising to a mass audience while keeping the cost in line by sharing the mailing expenses among a number of different advertisers.  CTI has established a nationwide relationship with Val Pak and can offer you a corporate rate of $2000 for 50,000 four-color advertisements sent to your customer’s mailbox.

Other Dealers have used TV, radio, mall billboards and other types of mass advertising.  These other media have worked well in certain parts of the U.S. and not so well in other parts.  The best advice is to do some research on the media in question, and call other home improvement type vendors who have used this type of media and  ask them what their results have been.

Targeted advertising

Once you have identified the neighborhoods, sections of town or other specific markets, then it’s time to aim your advertising at these markets.  Here are the main items used by our elite Dealers:

Direct Mail: CTI can help you target the type of market that normally buys this type of product.  The lists we generate for our direct mail program are homes that are above average in price, coupled with household incomes within these homes are also above average.  By consistently targeting these type homes within the neighborhoods identified by your mass marketing, a response rate of ½% to 2% is normal.  The average number of homes targeted by these Dealers ranges from 2,000 to 5,000 homes per mail drop.  These drops then generate anywhere from 10 to 100 leads.

There are other types of targeted advertising that costs little to no money or is a one-time investment that you can use throughout the life of your Dealership.

 Truck lettering: Having your company name, phone and our elite Dealers even have large four-color pictures put on their trucks.  These are travelling billboards that not only help with exposure for your company but also will generate leads.

Lawn Signs: Our elite Dealers leave these signs on job sites for anywhere from one week to 30 days.  They use the right to leave the sign as a bargaining tool with the customer (they normally give a 5% discount if the customer will leave the sign up for 30 days.)  These signs are mini billboards that advertise your company in an area where you know will generate more work.

Knocking on doors: This is a very effective, yet often overlooked avenue of advertising. If you put a couple of jobs down in various neighborhoods, handing out flyers is a very effective way of getting more work in that area. If you knock on the doors you are putting the flyers on and answer any questions that may come about, you’ll find this form of advertising much more effective.

 Shirts, jackets, T-shirts and hats: Making sure that you and your crew are dressed appropriately also means that you need to have your company name on your apparel.  The more exposure you can generate for your company name and what you do, the higher closing rate you will start to experience with the leads you generate.  This is because the customers start seeing your company as a “known” entity as opposed to the questions of “what exactly do you guys do?” being asked all too often.

Press releases: Your local newspaper is always looking for unique products and services that are being offered to its readers. If you deliver a press release announcing your company’s opening as well as what your company does, you’ll be amazed at the free advertising you may receive. CTI Dealers across the nation have received ½, ¾ and even full-page editorial write-ups about their companies FREE OF CHARGE.  If you need help writing these editorials, we have a number of examples that can be mailed to you.

They Talk to Everyone: Our elite Dealers all have one thing in common, and that is they have set in their mind that they are CTI Dealers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  This mind set gives makes them always aware of opportunities of how to increase their Dealership even if they are in such mundane places as waiting in line at a check out stand or sitting around in a car wash waiting room.  They talk to people about what they do constantly and this alone generates a number of leads.  They are always on the lookout for chances to network within their community, this sometimes leads to big things because you never know if that person who is sitting next to you on an airplane is the decision maker for a chain of hotels.

Two main things you need to do while you build and adjust your advertising is 1) Be consistent with your main forms of advertising. Most small businesses will advertise to a certain clientele only if every ad works extremely well. What they fail to understand is that most people buy a product only after they have seen the product or its advertising a minimum of five times. This means that if you advertise in a certain neighborhood two or three times and then start to see your advertising drop off,  keep your ads in that area for another couple of times before pulling the plug. The response you received in your first advertisements were from what are called “market leaders” these people like to buy the new products or services and want to be the first on their block to own  the latest greatest things. Most people buy products only after they are comfortable that the company and products are here to stay. 2) The second important point is to ask a very fundamental question to every person who expresses an interest in your company. This question is “where did you hear about us?”  Tracking the source for your leads will give you a better sense of what advertising is working and what is not. The adjustments you make to your advertising plan will be more effective and will come from a much better knowledge base if you ask that simple question.