Marketing your trade business doesn’t stop once a job has been booked in. What you or your tradesmen do whilst onsite with customers will go a long way towards forming their perception of your trade business and the service it provides.
If you and your tradesmen send out the right message, customers will instinctively view your trade business as trustworthy and credible.
Both trustworthiness and credibility are major driving forces behind customer loyalty and greater profits…let us explain…
The message you send out to customers is primarily built by three fundamentals factors – what customers see, what customers hear and what customers receive.
As a trade business owner you must consider these three fundamentals when you’re with customers in order to build a relationship based on trust and credibly because this is how you gain loyal customers.
What customers see…
You can make or break a customer’s perception of your trade business in a matter of seconds. In fact, a customer will form their opinion of your trade business based on visual cues within the first 30 seconds of contact with you.
Your physical appearance may seem like an unimportant factor to consider as a trade business owner, especially because physical appearance doesn’t relate to the trade service you provide at all.
However, when you understand that (whether rightly so or not) a customer will automatically link your physical appearance to the quality of your service and your trustworthiness, it becomes a no-brainer – Make the small effort to address your physical appearance and you’re already half way to winning your customer over.
Customers are on autopilot and evaluate what they see straight away. Therefore, they will decipher a lot in 30 seconds…
Your customer will notice your uniforms and vehicles first. Therefore, it is important that they are tidy, clean and branded.
You might think vehicle signage is costly, however, outside of the fact that vehicle signage is a mobile form of marketing with a one off cost, branding on both uniforms and vehicles will aid customers’ trust in your trade business because they’re able to see who you are straight away when you arrive. This is particularly important with female customers who are perhaps more conscious of a male stranger entering their home.
Customers will also use your appearance to make an evaluation about the professionalism of your trade business. Always turn up to a customer’s front door ready to work, with an organised tool bag in hand or hung over your shoulder. Professionalism triggers perceived higher value in the mind of a customer.
In addition to these tangible elements of building customer relations with visual cues, there are also intangible elements, such as your body language.
The way you hold yourself will instinctively be a reflection of your confidence in the eyes of customers, and therefore influences customer’s opinions on how confidently they believe you can do your job. If customers don’t think that you’re confident in your ability to fulfill what they are asking from you, they will not trust your service and you will lose credibility
It’s easy to exude confidence by using body language when with a customer. But “how?” you ask…
Stand tall with a wide stance (avoiding closed postures e.g. crossing your arms); listen, SMILE and make eye contact. These all tell a quick tale about a person without having to even open their mouth.
What customers hear…
After you’ve made an amazing, highly professional first impression, it’s time to continue strengthening your relationship with your customer.
Effective verbal communication aids likability and rapport, which are both key drivers in building a strong relationship with customers.
A strong relationship with customers will lead to customer loyalty (repeat customers) and referrals. We’ve found that in our trade business repeat customers spend on average 3x more than new customers.
One important thing to remember for effective verbal communication is to acknowledge that all human beings are different and that as a result, the way you communicate with each customer should be tailored to suit them specifically.
To do this you can try adapting to your customers mood by moderating the tone of your voice to suit theirs. Be positive at all times and if a customer is down strive to rectify the problem that you are there to fix for them to turn their day around. If you can make them happy they will make positive associations with your company.
In addition to being likable and adaptable, you need to be able to communicate to your customer that you are the right person for the job.
To show you understand what your customer is requesting, listen and then repeat it back to them. Then, when you provide them with a solution to the issue (or a couple of possible solutions if you can), they are already confident that you understand what work needs to be completed. They will be confident that they have been provided with an adequate solution to their queries, which will in turn see you being accepted as the tradesman to provide them with the service they need. Perhaps you’ve even had the chance to upsell them on other dangerous maintenance issues in and around their home.
A new customer for you means money in your back pocket, and additional other work means a higher average dollar sale for this one single job in isolation.
What customers receive…
The final hurdle to cross in building a strong relationship with your customer is making sure you are suggesting a way to stay connected and work with you again.
Obviously you need to provide high quality workmanship. This is a given if you want customers to continue using your service and provide you with referrals!
However, you also need to leave behind something for customers to remember you by… Something that provides them with an ‘invitation’ to contact you in the future.
A membership card is a great place to start. Customers feel important and valued and will choose your company over another simply because they have the title of being a member.
In addition to this you should always leave some form of information pack behind at the customers house. This may be in the form of a flyer with your testimonials, awards and services listed with a fridge magnet so that they are continually reminded of your trade business.
The impact that these 3 trade business fundamentals have on either making or breaking your customer relations is crazy.
We have encouraged our members to be more cautious about the actions they take whilst onsite with customers and the results have been extremely positive.
If you want loyal customers, higher average dollar sales and greater profits long term, then think about what your customers see, hear and receive. Make sure that these three things are influenced positively!
Once you are proficient at delivering in these three areas you will receive the trustworthiness and credibility your company deserves.