One of the greatest challenges facing the modern machine shop is advertising its services. Those seeking the use of a machine shop are not likely to advertise their needs. It falls on the machinist to make certain potential customers are aware of their business and familiar with what services are offered. Marketing and promotion of a machine shop will quickly become an important part of your business plan.
Contact local businesses in the metalworking, welding or fabrication industries. Many may be willing to form cooperative partnerships with machine shops for outsourcing of projects.
Ask your current customers for referrals to you and for names of other business partners who may be interested in what you have to offer. They are more likely to mention you to partners when your services have benefited them in the past.
Visit locations where machining is likely to be a necessary service. This means stopping by your local ASE-certified mechanics, any shipyards or docks, and even school bus or private company garages to let them know who you are and what you do.
Leave business cards where hobbyists are likely to gather. Local radio-controlled enthusiast stores, costuming locations and even art museums are likely to have corkboards where you can post your card.
Target your advertising to those most likely to need your services. This means highly specialized publications, such as dock magazines or local trade newsletters.
Remember in all business-to-business contact to emphasize the services and benefits you offer. Keep a short pitch in mind and be able to answer the question “What do you do?” at a moment’s notice.
Never tell customers there are things you don’t know about your industry. You should be an expert. When you don’t know the answer, let them know you’ll look into it--and get back to them promptly.
- Guerrilla Marketing; Jay Conrad Levinson; 1998