Are you a owner, general manager, sales executive, or business development manager looking to generate more fire damage leads?
What a better way to get more fire work than interjecting yourself earlier in the sales process, right after the fire happens. Who's there right after a fire? The fire department! So why not market to the the fire department and get your restoration company on site talking to the homeowner from a reputable and trusted referral, the fire department. The information you are about to read is directly from a true campaign we are currently running at First Restoration Services, the company that started Restoration Digital Marketing.
What We're Going To Cover
This is pretty straight forward and if you've done any insurance agent marketing, you will understand everything here and should be ready to roll out a fire department marketing campaign.
- Personnel - Business development rep/sales person.
- Time - Probably 10 hours a week depending on size of market (after initial ramp up)
That's it. The same three requirements you need in most of your marketing efforts. Also remember, you need a sales/business development person to help execute the campaign, not a marketing person. To understand the difference read here.
We want to do upstream marketing and get a referral from a trusted source (fire department) as early as possibly (immediately after the fire). In order to get a trusted referral from the fire department, we have to offer value in return. So the question is;
What is the value added benefit your offering?
- Free Board Up (secondary)
- The Fire Book (primary)
Free Board Up
If you're the type of person (or have an employee) that says the fire department won't refer anyone, that is simply not true. Regardless, we aren't trying to get a referral for the fire or to speak to the homeowner - we are offering a SERVICE specifically for the fire departments. Our service it to go out and board up a structure so the fire department doesn't have to. There is a clear distinction between a fire chief telling a home owner to use a restoration company for fire damage cleanup and the fire chief using a company to perform a service for the fire department. In this case, the service performed directly for the fire department is a free board up.
How This Helps The Fire Department/Rebuttal Points
- Lowers Cost - Time and material cost for the fire department to complete the board up themselves.
- Did you know fire departments have to complete the board up themselves?
- Proper Board Up - Let's face it, the fire department are experts in putting out a fire, not necessarily boarding up.
- Liability - It's a liability to the fire deparment and city/town if you have a firemen without proper harness, equipment, training etc. on the roof or side of a house doing a board up.
Free board up after a fire is exactly as it sounds. If a fire chief calls you to board up a structure (any structure), you go and do it. Even a trailer that is a total loss and non-salveagable, this call could be a test to future calls.
The Fire Book
The fire book is a book filled with information on what to do after a fire. Something that some fire departments try to hand out, but many don't have a great option or anything at all.
What Is Included In The Fire Book
- Fire Department Mission
- Message from Fire Chief
- The first 24 hours
- securing the site
- leaving the home
- restoring power
- if you have/don't have insurance
- determining value of property/contents
- how to replace items
- Restoration Services
- Salvage Tips
- Money Replacement
- Other Contents
- Tax Information
- Important Contacts
- After The Fire Checklist
- Additional Notes
The Execution (creating the relationship)
This is where the rubber meets the road. You have to get out and execute the plan, otherwise the idea is only worth the paper it's written on. You need to get out there and start walking into fire departments and meeting fire chiefs.
- Regular Visits - If you do/did any insurance agent marketing you understand this. You walk in and try to reach the decision maker. When you do, you pitch the Free Board Up Program and The Fire Book.
- Association Luncheons - City/County fire departments/firefighters/chiefs meetings. Sponsor the lunch and get a few minutes to talk.
- Department Dinners - Once you've started establishing a relationship with a fire department, you can take it to the next level and do dinners. We would do Thanksgiving, Christmas, holiday dinners.
- Setting Up The Fire Book
- Challenge Coins - Even a step further into the relationship, if you're receiving work from a fire department you may want to consider getting them their own challenge coins if they don't have them yet.
Steps In Setting Up The Fire Book
- Introduction - walk into the station with an example of a fire book and explain how you're working with other fire departments
- Completing Authorization Form - use this form as a process of legitimizing the whole process
- On Site Photos - firefighters love nothing more than showing off their trucks, equipment and station
- Design Book - customize the book so it's fully branded for that local fire department
- Print Book - go to your local print shop, we typically print 25 copies, a low quantity amount makes it easier for you to check-in and see when they need more
- Deliver Book - drop off the book at the fire station
Once you have delivered a full fledge fire book for a fire department, this gives you a great reason to keep coming back to the station to check in, and see if they need any more.
The location of the restoration company has a metro population of 425K, to help give a comparison to your market.
2019 (so far August) - $938,639
2018 - $393,443
2017 - $1,082,977
This plan and marketing campaign isn't an overnight miracle, it's not a secret recipe to get you a new job tomorrow and this isn't fire chasing. This is something where you put in the hard work and you can expect to build a bond and relationship that will last for years. By offering something upfront for the fire departments that they desperatly need and providing it at no cost, you can easily engage directly with the people who are on-site after fires. The initial agreement isn't I give you this free fire book and you send me on fires or refer me to homeowners, but as you slowly build relationships and provide the books asking for nothing in return, it's human nature that most (not all) fire departments will want to provide helpful information to the homeowners and your company name will be given.