Marketing & Advertising mentor Jay Conrad Levinson responds to the following question from an inc.com user:
We are a painting contractor. Most of the marketing techniques we see used are inappropriate for our business. Our approach is not so much to sell a product as to get our foot in the door to give a bid and sell a service. What techniques would be useful in our situation?

Jay Conrad Levinson responds: Use small ads and direct mail postcards to offer free consultations. It's easy for a potential customer to accept such an offer. You're right about getting your foot in the door, and free consultations do the trick.

Using photos of your previous work during your consultations will help you close sales. You should also mention the photos in your ads in the yellow pages. These days, people do not want to take risks. Free consultations about your service help remove the risk factor. I wish you well.