Winning over new clients and retaining existing ones requires effort, but the results can be well worth it.
As a builder or painter, you might be focussed on completing a large-scale project before moving on to the next one. Alternatively, you may be more concerned with juggling numerous jobs at once – perhaps smaller tasks – in order to manage your cash flow.
Whether you work solely for yourself or are running a building company with a few others under your helm, it's wise to consider ways to keep customers happy, every time.
It goes without saying that if you win one client over, positive words from them to their friends and relatives could be a boon to your business.
Plus, a happy customer is much more likely to secure your services again than someone who felt your efforts were mediocre or substandard.
Putting effort into client retention, as well as expanding your client pool, is important. But you might be wondering: How can I do this without spending a small fortune on pricey marketing efforts?
Here are some ways you can impress your clients, without spending too much. Of course, these suggestions work alongside stellar workmanship. Make sure you're not stretching yourself too thin – focus on doing a great job, every time, then back this up with solid marketing efforts.
Perhaps a client wants you to paint their living areas and bedrooms, but also thinks their front door could do with a lick of paint. Alternatively, they might want a kitchen revamp, with some attention paid to the bathroom or laundry, too.
Consider offering complimentary add-on jobs when they secure your services for large-scale projects.
You need to ensure that such jobs work within your budget. For clients, the thought of getting "something for nothing" can make your service seem like much better value.
Again, the ability to deliver this kind of service will depend on your personal resources.
However, you don't need to go over to every Tom, Dick or Harry's house for several hours in order to provide value. A brief over-the-phone complimentary consultation may suffice. Alternatively, set aside one day each week when you can visit homeowners contemplating a home renovation project.
If you do a great job promoting your services during these free consultations, you may be easily be able to recoup your costs.
Offer insight to property owners about what kind of renovations would suit their personal tastes and property's design. This will help establish you as an expert in your field. You might even print off brochures of previous work you've completed, which you can present to possible clients – this may be just the kind of visual cue that will capture their attention and convince them to hire your services.
It's all well and good offering a discount for a period of time. You might secure some more clients, who are willing to try out your services at a lower price.
But step back and think about this for a moment: Are these really the kind of people you want to target? If someone is only willing to pay for your services at a cost below your usual hourly rate or project-based rate, are they likely to return for future jobs at your usual rates?
Instead, rethink your discounting. Next time you complete a job for a client, offer them a discount on future jobs obtained within the next six to 18 months, depending on the scale of the next project.
This helps build customer loyalty and makes clients feel like they're getting special treatment. However, it keeps existing clients on board, rather than offering a discount to those who might never return to your services. It also doesn't require you to invest in expensive, upfront items to help boost client loyalty, such as Christmas gifts.
You might offer the discount on the condition of the client providing their email address for your newsletter database or writing a brief testimonial for your website, if you wish.
September 25, 2014
The Resene Trade Blog
Information of interest for professional painters