There’s a man at your door.
He’s not particularly scary. He’s well dressed, well groomed, but has a Cheshire-cat grin. Ah yes, this man wants to make you a sale.
If you choose to answer the door, he’ll quickly dive into how your home could be drastically improved. Just invite him in. Trust him. He promises that he’s a genuine businessman. He’s just trying to make your living situation more comfortable.
What would you do?
Okay, I might have been a child when stranger danger was all the rage, but I think this guy would give anyone the heebie-jeebies. He was just a local contractor trying to make a sale, but he ended up losing it before he could even pitch. In other words: he spooked his potential customer out of a sale.
Do you make mistakes like this?
Chances are you might be scaring away customers without even realizing it. Here are the top four ways contractors unknowingly spook potential remodeling customers.(Plus some tips on how to refine your image to be a little less ghoulish.)
1. You came out of nowhere.
Your brand is kind of like an apparition. There’s nothing that gives it any kind of substance—no reviews on Yelp, no customer referrals, and no presence in the community. You have nothing at your disposal to prove to your customer that you have a real live business.
Yelp is one of the best ways to establish yourself. Fill out your Yelp page to its fullest extent, complete with pictures, your address, and the best way to reach you. Ask your customers to leave a review on Yelp (but don’t push them into it or look over their shoulder as they do it, just ask nicely and leave it at that). And finally, offer deals through Yelp. Your future customers will love it.
Make sure that you establish your name. Create a Yelp page, create a website, and follow our guidelines here on branding.
2. You don’t have your paperwork figured out.
Your customers are going to turn on their heels and run if you don’t have your paperwork in order. Even if your state doesn’t require a contract, it will help settle your customers’ uneasiness to have one. Your contract should include:
- The projected start and end date
- The payment schedule (if applicable)
- A detailed list of materials
Also, never tell your customer that you only take cash. That reeks of Breaking Bad weirdness.
3. You want to sink your teeth into the job—and pressure your customer into signing with you.
I get it. You smell blood in the water, and you want to get that juicy down-payment. But customers quickly get turned off by aggressive sales tactics. They don’t want to feel like your next dinner; they want to feel like you are addressing their needs.
Don’t scare off your future clients. Avoid threatening them with overly-aggressive lines like “If you don’t sign today, our offer is off the table.” Or, “Are you really interested in this or are you wasting my time?” Instead, take the time to develop a relationship, listen to their needs, and dial down the soul-sucking aggressiveness that loses all-too-many construction companies business.
Try using lines like, “What is giving you pause about this deal?” and “Can you give me a specific time to call you back about this deal?” Using a different tone may be all the difference between a sale and a closed door.
4. You don’t have insurance.
Potential clients get wary when construction companies don’t provide personal liability insurance, worker’s compensation, or property damage compensation. You’ll come off as careless and disrespectful if their property gets damaged or if one of your workers gets hurt on the job.
It’s not uncommon for a potential client to ask for proof of insurance. Even if you’re a subcontractor, make sure you have current copies of your insurance forms available.
Remodeling customers are nervous about signing a deal with the devil, so they can be easily spooked. Make sure you have an established brand, a solid document management system, courteous sales tactics, and ample insurance to allay their fears.
What are your remodeling customer horror stories? Leave your scary tales in the comments below!
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