It’s been said that you only get one chance to make a first impression. That’s why it is so critical to get it right.
So what really matters? The answer is the things that matter to customers. These include whether you can be trusted and whether you will do the job well. Anything that contributes to these will help you to win work and make the customer easier to deal with. With that in mind, these are our top tips.
Tip 1: Never promise and don’t deliver.
So when you promise to get the quote back to them by Tuesday, deliver on that promise. It starts the process of building trust. And it’s always vital to turn up when you said. In Powered Now’s recent survey of 1,000 homeowners, 83% said their biggest irritation was with trade companies failing to show up when they said they would.
Tip 2: Be as presentable as you can be.
Think of the most successful retail outlets and supermarkets. They all look smart. Sure, they might be able to charge less if they spent less on their shops and were run down, but most people don’t go for that. So if you want to win business, have a smart, clean van and ensure you and your staff are always clean and tidy too.
Tip 3: Treat the customer with respect.
Offering to remove your shoes or boots (where it’s appropriate) and addressing the customer as Mr or Ms shows respect for them. Leave them to decide when it’s time to be more familiar.
Tip 4: Never be fresh with the customer.
We had some great decorators do some jobs, but the guys were flirty with my wife. I don’t want them back and nor does she. They’ve chased us for work a couple of times and probably wonder why we never get back to them.
Tip 5: Don’t take advantage of the customer.
If you do a great job at a reasonable price the first time, you will not only have won a customer for life, you will get lots of work through recommendation. So never rip off the customer however naïve they may seem. In the best case you will get rumbled and lose business, in the worst you will get prosecuted by trading standards.
Tip 6: Listen carefully to what your customers want.
There’s nothing more off putting than feeling that we’re being ignored. You need to understand why your customers want the job and then help them to find a solution that works for them.
Tip 7: Mention your qualifications.
Also include an trade association memberships and talk about similar jobs you have done in the past. Referring to pitfalls and lessons learned shows you know what you are talking about and discourages them from thinking that DIY might be a good alternative.
None of the tips here are revolutionary, but I hope some of them will have given you some pause for thought. People buy from people and once prospects and customers trust you, you will have a future source of work. Even today, 70% of all new jobs come from repeat work and word-of-mouth recommendation. That’s why creating that first impression nearly always pays off dividends.