That was a great response. And did give me a lot to mull over.
What are some good initial questions to ask to learn more about the potential client when calling? When showing up in person? I know every bank/agent is different, but I need some good ideas to get the gears in my mind rolling.
Primarily for banks most of the information can be found on their websites. Some real important things to find out would be whether or not they are really heavy into the mortgage business or whether that is a small division for them. You can simply browse their website and do some research on them locally to see whether or not they even are a client to pursue. Next is to find out about how many branches they have (when you make your pitch you should also include servicing their branches as well as their portfolio). Give them a reason to pick you, show them you know just as much about the client as the client knows about themselves. When on phone you are going to want to figure out how they operate, do they have P&P or is it simply an Asset Manager or Lending Supervisor that you will deal with etc. I would also get names of the heads of the department so that way when you walk into the location and speak with the gatekeeper you can speak with an authority as if you already knew the P&P manager or Asset Manager beforehand.
As for real estate agents I would research whether or not they are new or seasoned veterans in the business. If they are new you are more likely to get in with them as a contractor; however, they are less likely to provide you a decent amount of business because they are still building their business. An advantage to them being new is that you can refer them business as well to help them out. If they are a veteran you have a 50/50 chance that they do not already work with someone they trust. Some realtors have worked with the same group of people for years and they won't just throw that away. It's all about numbers. The more people you talk to, the more sales you close.
The entire process in your mind must be revolved around building relationships because that is what business is all about. These banks and agents will want a more personal relation with you vs. the nationals who just assign you a # so when they need another person in your area they can pull your name from the list. I'd also suggest to cross-market your services to homeowners and also to second homeowners. In Arizona, California, Florida, Texas, and the states that get an influx of residents in the winter you have a goldmine with people who will need their properties maintained while they are gone. Lastly, if you are a BOTG contractor you should really think of pitching to apartment complexes, retail stores, commercial buildings, local airports, strip malls, shopping centers, gas stations, and all the other real estate buildings in your area.
We got a guy here hooked up with a Circle K contract to power wash all of their stations in a metropolitan area. He goes in at night and it takes him or one of his guys about an hour to complete and they get paid roughly $120 every visit. It's a one man job and requires very little in equipment costs to get that type of contract. Restaurants outsource cleaning of their windows, landscaping, and sometimes janitorial. There is a service required for every business. Pest control is also huge as well. I mean seriously there are many ways that you can grow your business. Think out of the box. Cross-market your services.