Tips for a Successful Shoulder Season 

Shoulder season is here and it's critical we as contractors have a plan to address the slow down in demand service and customer interest. But there's an opportunity to leverage various techniques ahead of shoulder season to set your business up for success:

  • Planning

  • Promotions

  • Precision Tune Up (PTU) Marketing

  • Campaign Calendar 

  • Action based aggressive promotions with financing

The Importance of Planning

Part of your annual planning process should have included creating a plan for shoulder season. This will help you avoid having to react quickly with an emergency driven offer that puts undue stress on your business as well as your vendors. A good plan will allow you to feel confident regardless of what the weather throws at you, and provide a roadmap for the various market conditions the spring months may bring.

The first step to developing a solid shoulder season strategy is aligning around a promotional model that drives both sides of the business, keeping your sales teams working on estimates and leads, and your service and maintenance crews focused on generating revenue.


The Importance of Promotions

Your promotions should follow a defined budget and the gross profit (GP) you're trying to produce with an understanding that you may see, and have to be tolerant of, a lower GP during the shoulder season while you drive other business segments. Promotional Budgeting is a critical element of this planning. It will help you find the breakeven point of your equipment, and allow you to find the GP target above this point that keeps the business out of the red during this time. 

Promotions during shoulder season can follow two tracks: 

  • Promotions focused on generating interest in equipment with limited time, urgency based messaging around the "best deal of the year"

  • Promotions focused on generating a high volume of home visits for your service teams

Equipment sales promotions during this time should have a theme, one that aligns with the season and focuses on the limited time nature, best deals of the year, or story that you want to tell your target audience. Find your breakeven point on equipment, a target of equipment sales you want to hit, and then determine some offers to align. 

For example, contractors have had success with a combination of offers that are packaged to align with March Madness, such as the Sweet 16 model. Packaging a 16 SEER unit with a 16 year parts and labor warranty, a VISA gift card, or any other accessories or giveaways creates an ideal scenario for the customer in the form of perceived savings and value.


The Importance of Precision Tune Up Marketing

Precision Tune Up (PTU) marketing is another shoulder season strategy that generates the kind of customer interactions that we want to drive during shoulder season. 

First, find your price point and expect to take a loss to be competitive. BUT, the loss is only on the cost of the tune up versus the cost of sending a truck for the 1 hour it should take. The PROFIT and revenue generating activity comes down to the importance of your internal and operational marketing. The Service Techs need to be trained and armed with a talk track leveraging the benefits and value of your Maintenance Club. It's all about getting these visits converted into club memberships to drive lifetime customer value and multiple touchpoints directly with these customers.

Sales leads are the other desired outcome of the PTU model. You want your technicians talking about the club, but also trained to find the equipment changeout opportunities to send to your sales team. With an enhanced conversion rate vs a marketed lead, the PTU-generated sales leads will drive the bulk of the revenue within this strategy.


The Importance of a Campaign Calendar and Communication

The last, but often most overlooked, part of this shoulder season prep work is the documentation and communication of the Promotional Plan and the Sweet 16/PTU model with your external and internal teams. 

It's of utmost importance that you have a plan documented within a Campaign Calendar as a way to share what promotions and strategies you'll be utilizing during the shoulder season to stay busy. Your campaign calendar should clearly define your verticals, target audience and geo zones, goals, messaging and more, all outlined on a monthly calendar. 

This document should drive your internal training interactions with your sales, service and dispatch/CSR resources, as well as with your outside marketing vendors. Clear communication will allow for the planning and preparation necessary to execute quickly.

We're Dedicated to Contractor Success

Ready to see how iMarket can help you plan for shoulder season? Contact us to schedule a free marketing consultation!