Marketing to Commercial Customers

5 minute read

It seems like almost every restoration contractor I talk to always expresses their strong desire to develop a commercial client portfolio. They usually ask me if I can help their sales staff develop a strategy to get consistent commercial jobs. And they often believe it’s a simple as knocking on the door of a commercial business, giving them a business card and brochure, and like magic, start calling. Sorry, it’s not quite that easy.


Marketing to commercial customers involve a series of steps and methods, intertwined, and targeted. In a 5-minute read we can hardly cover ten percent of the strategies and processes needed to make marketing to commercial customers result in a viable portfolio for you. I’m going briefly address a couple key points and invite you to pick up your phone and call me if you want more details! The call and a few minutes of my time is absolutely free.


One of the common mistakes marketers (usually guided by the owner) make is calling on every commercial building up and down the street. They are often not talking to the right people. They are dropping off a business card and a company brochure. They state, “call us if you ever have a disaster.”  NONE OF THIS WORKS. It’s like wearing a blindfold and aiming your loaded gun into the air, hoping to hit a duck flying overhead. Sure, you’ll hit a duck – once in a million times.

Another common blunder is to fail to do your research on your target client, or client group. It’s far more effective to decide in advance exactly what vertical (industry type) you want to go after, and then study, research, learn everything you can about that vertical so you can speak credibly to the right person.


Every industry (including your restoration business) has terms, lingo, acronyms, and expressions that are specific to that industry. The public at large doesn’t know what a ‘dehu’ is, nor are the familiar with ‘IICRC’ or the “S-500.” These are in our industry! The only way a salesperson can possibly be believable is to learn the lingo and facts about the vertical they plan to target.


Without credibility, without believability, minus the right intel, nobody will trust you. And, if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it ten thousand times…”no credibility – no sale.”  Additionally, part of getting them to trust you means talking about their issues, pains, headaches, and business challenges. A simple example is when to call on a hotel and you know what “shoulder season” is, you suddenly demonstrate to the GM or owner that you are an insider in the hotel world. That is credibility.


The prospect will also want something visible, tangible, and of real value to them or their business.  It’s for this very reason that many years ago we developed and continually refine a pre-disaster plan (ours is PREP™) so the client can view, read, see, touch an actual sample plan. This combined with your knowledge of their industry and building gives them the reassurance you can bring value to them when a disaster-type event affects their facility.

There are MANY more parts of the strategy. As I said above, please call me to discuss several more important aspects of marketing to commercial customers.


Still need questions answered?    Call me now:   Dick Wagner   419-202-6745



Nationally recognized coach, consultant, trainer, and speaker

Creator of the renowned PREP™ pre-disaster program

Copyright© 2020     AskDickWagner, LLC   All Rights Reserved

Being Effective At A Home Show Booth

4 minute read

We’ve been asked a hundred times (probably more) by our clients if they should participate in a home show or home and garden show at a local community event. The answer is “of course.” But… if you are going to do it, be sure to do it the right way – with maximum impact.


Several mistakes are often made – we see it at almost every show. Companies with their booth packed with every product they offer. Or, so crowded with displays they literally repel people because they’re so confusing. Or, the table blocking entrance into the booth – thus keeping people in the aisle. Or, someone “manning” the booth, sitting on a stool or chair, reading, knitting, focusing on their cell phone.

If I’ve described you, you are not alone. Very few home show or community trade show booth vendors present their booth or services properly. Most simply put a bunch of “stuff” in their booth along with a sign of their company.  Then they stand there hoping and praying someone will stop and talk (and even want to buy from them)!

If you plan on having a booth at one of these community type events, here are some basic rules for making it worth your money and time:

  • Don’t take a booth in the back corner away from traffic
  • Don’t overload your booth with “product”
  • Don’t put a table across the front of your booth
  • Don’t spend any money on worthless giveaway items
  • Don’t stand (or sit) waiting for passersby to talk with you
Here are a few things you SHOULD DO:
  • Use a plush piece of carpet with a thick pad in your booth
  • Keep the booth open and inviting
  • Have a couple chairs – for the visitor (NOT FOR YOU)
  • Bottled water is always a hit -and costs less than $0.15 per bottle
  • Individually wrapped candy tends to get people to stop
  • Develop a couple powerful open-ended questions to ask everyone
  • ASK THEM if you can set an appointment with them
  • Have a “show special” or discount
  • Smile, engage people, nicely comment on their kids (or anything significant)
  • When giving away chachki type items, be generous – freely and willingly give
  • Have a specific goal (number of sign-ups, number of appointments, etc.)
  • Bring them into the booth with a game – or putting green
  • Collect names or business cards for a modest drawing
  • Follow up with EVERY name and contact you got at the show



Clients that live by these “do’s and don’ts” usually have a positive outcome. Sometimes it’s simply to get visibility and exposure, and less about “selling something.” Don’t be afraid to give away -something to draw them in and get them to fill out an entry form. Those that actively engage with show attendees, as well as friendly and sociable, almost always leave a positive impression on the community.

Remember, if you are worried about spending a few hundred (or even a thousand dollars) on the booth, you probably should pass. The cost of the booth space is only part of the cost. You need GOOD signage or a great simple-uncluttered backdrop. You need a couple comfortable chairs, you need a “giveaway” item. Be prepared and do it right.  We don’t sell anything for your booth – we simply have learned over the years what works and what to avoid!


Still need questions answered?    Call me now:   Dick Wagner   419-202-6745



Nationally recognized coach, consultant, trainer, and speaker

Creator of the renowned PREP™ pre-disaster program

Copyright© 2020     AskDickWagner, LLC   All Rights Reserved

Why You Need To Be Different In Sales

4 minute read

Many marketing and sales experts, including me, have been saying for several years that “differentiation” is vital to the success of a salesperson, a brand, or a company. When you look, act, and sound like every other salesman or marketer – the prospect will see you as just another annoying seller. Unless you provide your prospect or client with a compelling difference between you and others, there is no contrast, so you get lumped into the same boring category.


One of the newer marketers I regularly coach (weekly), approached an insurance agent and explained to the agent the following: “We help your policyholders recover quickly with the least amount of cost and inconvenience when they experience a property disaster in their home. In addition, our goal is to always make the agent look good and help with client retention.”

The agent was pleasantly shocked and called all the agent producers in her office to come out and meet the marketer. The agent informed everyone that from now on they were to call this new restoration company! Plus, they were no longer to use XYZ – (the “other” company). Her comment also included “These people are different and are the kind of people we want to work with.”


Being different involves many factors, but certainly one of them is to not look, act, and sound like all your competitors! With the overwhelming “noise” in the marketplace, with as many as 15 sellers, marketers, and vendors visiting a typical insurance agency in a single day, differentiation becomes critical. There is simply no way to stand out and be heard by the prospect if you can’t separate yourself from all the others.

With over 7 billion people in the world, over 330 million people in the US, and 31 million businesses in the USA, it’s a challenge to be unique, unusual, and DIFFERENT. But you won’t be highly effective unless you are able to create differentiation for yourself and your brand.


The single easiest way to create and present something different than your “fellow marketers” is to speak differently. The example above (a true story) is one of the simplest ways to be unique, different, and not sound the same as everyone else. People notice when you make it about them. People want to be the center of attention. People will embrace a salesman that focuses on the pains and issues of the client. That elevates the salesperson’s credibility and increases the trust factor.  Without that Trust factor, they aren’t likely to do business with you!

Differentiation will be the single most important aspect of your marketing and sales efforts. If you aren’t comfortable learning an elevator speech that makes it about the client, or you just want to keep doing it the way you always have – you are in the wrong position. To be an ultra-high performer today in the marketing/sales world require you to adopt an entirely new level of separating yourself from the pack.

Want to know more?   Call me:  419-202-6745


By Dick Wagner, Co-Founder The CREST Network, LLC       

Nationally recognized coach, consultant, trainer, and speaker




Copyright© 2020     AskDickWagner, LLC   All Rights Reserved

Why Restoration Contractors Should Blog

5 minute read

I often hear contractors telling me they are not writers – they can’t do blog articles – they wouldn’t know what to write about, etc. What I hear is excuses, excuses, and lots of poor reasons why they can’t do it. The logic is as silly as saying “I don’t know how to do a moisture map” or “I can’t operate a water extraction truck” or “I know how to calculate the amount of equipment I need.” Yet we do learn how.

And the good news I’ll share below… you can hire people to write articles for you that can be exceptionally good quality.


The social media and SEO experts all agree on why restoration contractors should blog. Specifically, it dramatically improves your organic (free) rankings on the search page. It provides valuable info to people when THEY want it. Blog articles significantly rachet up your credibility, believability, and the clients’ trust in you and your company.  You’ve heard the term “thought leader” and may think the term is reserved for particularly important people – and those people that are amazing writers. Not so. Anyone, including you, can be considered a thought leader!


There are many other benefits that you realize as well. Not only will you be considered a thought leader, but people will consider you a top player in your field. They’ll seek you out simply because you demonstrate knowledge and expertise. Writing and posting blog articles on your website, (and on other sites as a guest), also serves to significantly improve Google indexing of your site. (End up on the first page without paying!)

In simple terms, when you create a website, and put info on it that’s “all about you and your company,” Google ranks it extremely low. Typically, once people get a website built, they put it on the web – and forget it. That’s just a terrible waste of money and effort. Google wants to see fresh, new, updated, and relevant content – being constantly added. One blog article per week will significantly improve your page ranking and the number of people going to your website! One client I work with started posting blog articles and went from 20 people a month to 175 people a month in just 90 days! That’s almost a 1,000 % increase! That’s the real point of a website.


Here’s a short and basic list of Blog topics to write about:

  • Carpet Cleaning Tips
  • How To Hire The Right Contractor
  • Way’s To Minimize Water Damage
  • Mold And The Dangers
  • Can My Personal Contents Be Restored?
  • Flooding In My House
  • Ask Your Contractor For Proof Of Insurances
  • Preventing Freeze Damage To My Pipes
  • Home Preparations For Hurricane Season
  • All Kinds Of Simple Checklists
  • The list is unlimited (you have a million topics)

Let’s talk about creating short articles (400 – 600 words). That many words will usually take up one and a half pages once you add a picture or graphic into the article. (You do need a picture in the blog post). If after all of this, you still can’t imagine yourself writing an article, I will bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised that there is someone within your company capable of writing. Seek them out. Offer to pay them an additional small fee for each article. The value (ROI) you get by having fresh and interesting blog posts on your website will be 100-fold!

If, after all that, you still can’t find someone in your company to write for you, consider hiring it out to “offshore” writers. A service that several of my clients have used is called Upwork – and they are usually in other countries, (often India) but with good English and grammar skills. The best part: is all you need to provide is the topic, and they do the research and the writing. Because they are offshore, they charge very little. Typical 500-word articles are $12 – 20. You then own the article and can tweak it if you need to, to make it “your” article. Hopefully, you can see that an investment of around $12 per article will give you fresh content, elevate your credibility and get people heading to your website to learn more about how you can help them.


By Dick Wagner, Co-Founder The CREST Network, LLC       

Nationally recognized coach, consultant, trainer, and speaker




Copyright© 2020     AskDickWagner, LLC   All Rights Reserved


Sales Training For Restoration Reps

5 minute read


Most of the sales and marketing reps that I’ve worked with over the years have had the benefit of attending one of our 3-day intensive training programs. Additionally, most of them also enjoyed the opportunity to work with me every week (many of them for years) and many of them are still getting one-on-one coaching by phone and live webinars.

Sales training for restoration reps is different than what most other salespeople do. The “sales” process in the restoration industry – for generating actual job opportunities – is more of a hybrid sales-marketing process, mostly performed in the field. They are tasked with calling on Insurance Agents, Plumbers, and Property Managers, and their goal is to develop a relationship with those people able to refer jobs to your company.

If the salesman is “selling” a PREP™ program (disaster preparedness plan) then the salespeople are performing a process closer to the typical salesperson. They should be selling the value of being part of a pre-disaster program your company offers, and the hardest part of “selling” the plan is getting the clients’ signature on an Agreement.

The old days of “ABC” – Always Be Closing – simply doesn’t work in this situation, and for that matter, doesn’t work in our society in the 2020’s and beyond. If you still want to use the ABC’s, it’s Always Be Cultivating. Salespeople today don’t need to “inform” the prospect about all the details of your services, and further, they just don’t want to hear it. Today we have the internet, and amazing Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, Yahoo, OneSearch, and others that gives any prospect almost everything they need or want to know about your products and services.

The salesperson’s responsibility today is to create a relationship (prospects aren’t looking for friends) that puts the salesperson Top of Mind – for WHEN the clients need the salesman’s services. It’s about the salesman (yes, saleswoman too), knowing the issues, headaches and problems the client typically has, and making the client aware first – that the salesman understands the client issues, and second – has a good solution to make their pain go away. Third, the salesman must regularly continue to be visible to the client, while at the same time bring value and useful information, help, and ideas to the client.

According to Salesforce™, a prospect needs 8 or more “touches” (exposure to and awareness of) you, your company, and your services. There are other experts that believe it takes between 20 and 50 touches to get Top of Mind awareness! This means not only does the salesperson need to be in touch with the prospect regularly but use all the other “touch” platforms available to him or her.

What are those other touches you ask???  It’s interactions and exposure on:

  • Your Facebook business page
  • Other Facebook group pages you are part of
  • Twitter, including retweets
  • Instagram for a quick reminder and visibility
  • LinkedIn – where you can create amazing credibility and be seen as a thought leader
  • Blog posts on your company website (or your own website)
  • Guest Blog Posts on other Blog sites

I get a lot of raised eyebrows when I suggest Pinterest. Many people still think it’s for recipes and wedding planning. Don’t be fooled! As of this writing, I have about 1400 monthly viewers of my boards! A couple of them are about sales training for restoration reps!

If you, as an owner are looking for Sales Training For Restoration Reps, and don’t have the time, lack the skills or patience to train and coach your sales staff, there is help.  I welcome your call:  419-202-6745

Salesforce, Google, OneSearch, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo are all registered trademarks of their respective companies.


Dick Wagner, Nationally recognized Sales Coach, Consultant, Trainer and Speaker

Co-Founder – The CREST Network, LLC 


What You Don’t Know About Sales – CAN Hurt You!

SUCCESS Sales People Often Say The Wrong Thing!

How many times has your sales & marketing staff said:

“I just can’t get to the right person…” or “She won’t return my calls” or “I keep getting all these objections and don’t have good answers” or “They keep saying our price is too high”

If these are the excuses you’re getting, then you need to attend my “Keys to the Gate” class, which immediately following the course on “Specialized Marketing to Commercial PRoperty Owners.” It is designed specifically so you can get more commercial losses and help ensure your survival in this rapidly changing insurance claims industry! For the entire 3-day program, be sure to check out “Ramp It Up Now” Continue reading “What You Don’t Know About Sales – CAN Hurt You!”

Marketing Reps Spinning Their Wheels

Marketing Reps Stuck in the Sand?

I continue to be amazed almost every day at how many marketing reps, and even worse, business owners are excited about their perceived marketing success just because the reps are busy! The key word here is “busy.”

It’s sad they equate “busy” with “productive.”

I’m reminded regularly by marketing reps and owners of how much they have “going on” but when I quiz them, their response is almost always to tell their reps to Stop, Drop and Roll as a way to market and they usually have little to show for the effort. Even very sharp business owners equate a marketer’s 20 plus daily stops to drop off cookies, as a successful day for the rep. It’s even worse when the rep returns to the office to regale the owner with stories of who they saw, how many agents or plumbers wanted extra cookies, or all the great chit chat they had that day. What a waste. Continue reading “Marketing Reps Spinning Their Wheels”

Can You Implement Your Sales Plan?

Implementation is the execution of a plan, idea or strategy.

Note: As a disaster restoration coach and consultant, one one my most important jobs is to help contractors implement the programs and policies they want for their company.

Successful implementation of any plan includes identifying and assessing resources, establishing the strategies, and developing a system to make it happen. Also, one of the most important aspects for success is having and following timetables for completion of each level of the Plan.

How will you use an implementation plan?

  1. As a management tool
  2. To illustrate critical steps in starting and working a project
  3. As a guide or map of where you are going and how to get there
  4. Assists you in being proactive rather than reactive
  5. Facilitates identifying any challenges or issues early in the process
  6. Assures a more positive outcome and success of the plan

Continue reading “Can You Implement Your Sales Plan?”

Stand Out in a Crowd of Competitors

5 minute read


As a business owner it can sometimes seem like everyone has decided to become your competition. Sometimes even worse, more and more competitors seem to appear and grow stronger and we often wonder “what are they doing different?”  Not every one that seems to be growing is “doing it right,” but many companies have learned what I learned years ago… Social media, excellent websites, Blogging, and other digital platforms is here to stay and doing it right is critical to your success.

Understand Your Audience

Many of the articles I’ve written on the topic of marketing are about knowing and understanding your audience. It is the key to marketing success, yet many of the people reading this will simply ignore this basic concept. If you can’t “speak their language” then you don’t know enough about your client to be of significant value to them.  You need to know what concerns and problems they have and how you can provide solutions that make good business sense to BOTH of you.  Not being able to “speak their language” is like being a minister in church speaking English to an audience that only speaks and understands German!  How effective do you think your sermon will be?

Establish Yourself as an Expert

One of the absolute best ways to set yourself apart from your competitors is to be thought of as the go to expert. Often, experts don’t have formal certification declaring them as experts; it is simply based on their knowledge and expertise as perceived by their audience.  Most of us don’t realize when a politician says “it” over and over and over, he’s doing the equivalent of convincing you he is an expert in whatever he is saying.  Many times, just being a problem solver creates the impression that you are an expert.

Create a Sought-after Brand Online

From your website to your social media accounts and all your face-to-face marketing should speak the same message continuously, showing your prospects and customers that your name and message is synonymous with the expert perception you want the world to recognize in you. It all should be about, and for the client!

 Your Website Must Connect With Your Audience!

It’s not a secret that websites are NOT created equal.  Experts in this field estimate approximately eighty percent of websites fail to deliver a meaningful return on investment and many businesses have poor-performing, yet “good looking” websites that simply don’t produce the needed results.

Often, website owners are under the mistaken belief that “if you build it – they will come.” This reactive form of marketing is like sticking your head in the sand, hoping good things will happen without special effort! Google is NOT sitting there waiting to send customers to your website just because your site looks nice.

Too many websites make the horrible mistake of making the website about themselves, rather than the client and the clients’ pains. We see websites with pictures of all the company trucks, or sometimes – all the company equipment – all lined up in the parking lot. Sadly, those pictures do not serve to “ease the clients’ pains” and make it appear to be more self-serving.

Blog Regularly

I’ve been telling audiences this for more than ten years… blogging regularly should be the foundation of your online success. I personally post relevant blog articles regularly (usually about 400-500 words, to and every week with great success). This kind of activity generates dozens of unique visitors per month and hundreds of page views each month. Additionally, this content is also promoted via social media and has helped me to establish a following on Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, with leads and customers being generated every month.  When you start getting over 1,000 visits a month (like us, you get very excited).

It’s easy to do, and you can successfully replicate this for you Disaster Recovery service businesses with original content marketing so your online presence will be valued and appreciated AND get many jobs as a result of establishing a powerful presence.


Dick Wagner, Co-Founder:  The CREST Network, LLC


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Copyright ©   All Rights Reserved   The CREST Network, LLC

Marketing To Commercial Clients

4 minute read

Marketing to commercial clients is probably the number one interest of the typical residential restoration contractor. I get asked at least once a week by a contractor “how does our company go about marketing to commercial clients?” and the answer is straightforward but quite involved. The opportunities are massive!

It would be impossible to answer the “how” in this article, but I am going to hit a few of the highlights. First, let’s talk about why a commercial property needs a relationship with you, remembering that they probably don’t have a disaster right now and may not have one for a year or two!

So, a commercial property manager (or owner) needs a relationship with you for that time when a calamity strikes their building. The problem arises when a marketer is trying to connect with them – to build the relationship – and they are just not interested because they don’t have a building calamity at that time.

For this very reason, providing them a pre-disaster plan (our nationally popular plan is called PREP™) enables the marketer to be able to offer a much more “tangible” service… A complete PREP™ program.

We all recognize that a “pre-disaster program” does not prevent building events from happening, but it affords the marketer a way to get the door open by providing a preparedness plan. A preparedness plan (PREP™) is an actual “book” with valuable information, resources, and prevention ideas. Additionally, most PREP contractors are now including a simple Matterport® scan to provide another level of uniqueness and differentiation. This provides the client with something extremely valuable to their operation and are quite willing to establish a stronger, long-term relationship with the marketer.

It’s no secret that the “big boys” nationally have been offering varying versions of their own pre-disaster plan, the fact remains that they primarily target large national commercial property groups and usually leave the one-offs alone. That is YOUR opportunity!

Hundreds of contractors have embraced the PREP™ program over the past 10+ years, and these same contractors have attended extensive training programs and engaged in on-going coaching to learn the best and quickest way to build a portfolio of commercial property clients. They know exactly what works, what doesn’t work, and how to develop long-lasting client relationships for that time when they need the contractor.

Fact: According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), there are more than 4.5 million commercial buildings with more than 93 billion square feet.

That means for every 100,000 population there are about 1665 commercial buildings – that equals about 6650 commercial properties in the typical restoration contractor territory.

Also, more than 6% of commercial buildings have a reported water loss each year, or 399 buildings a year.  And that’s only those that were reported!

If you want to learn more about developing and offering a PREP™ commercial program for your independent restoration company, call me today! There are literally millions of properties today (2020) without any kind of a pre-disaster plan. Regardless of how you go after this commercial opportunity, be sure you are doing it the most efficient and fastest way, developing relationships that consider you their ‘go-to’ company!  We teach you how to do that!   Call me today: 419-202-6745             ADW

Author:  Dick Wagner     Nationally recognized Coach, Consultant, Trainer, and Speaker

Creator of the PREP™ Pre-Disaster Program

Co-Founder of The CREST Network, LLC

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