Building Relationships For Long-Term RewardsAtlas Roofing
Ask David Rayburn, the business development trainer at Rayburn1 Intelligent Construction in Greenville, IN, about the best ways to keep customers happy, and he’ll give you a quick answer.
“It’s not about selling. It’s about solving problems.”
“Don’t treat them like customers,” he said.
For Rayburn, whose home building and storm damage business has been in Kentucky and Indiana for more than 30 years, customer satisfaction is about building better relationships. It’s about focusing on honesty, trustworthiness and dependability to build a strong client base. His sage advice for contractors: Treat your customers like you treat your friends.
“It’s not about selling. It’s about solving problems,” said Rayburn, a longtime Atlas Roofing sales and personal development business trainer. “Rayburn1’s customers become our friends because we show them respect. If they need anything, they know they can reach us.” Rayburn said he is in frequent contact with both established and new customers.
Building long-lasting customer relationships comes as a result of actions that take time and effort. In an era when relationship building means video chats and Facebook posts, creating and maintaining a solid customer base is about friendly face-to-face communication, handshakes and promises made good. It doesn’t matter if you’re a lone contractor launching a new business or the owner of a flourishing roofing enterprise, the best way to get – and keep – a customer, is to look and listen.
Know What Your Customers Want And Need
For most contractors, it’s easy to know the basics of what customers want and need. Chances are they contacted you. But what the customer says in the first five minutes of the conversation (“A storm came through, and I need a new roof”) only scratches the surface of the goal of keeping a long-term client (“You did such a great job, I need your help with other projects.”). The following are some factors that customers look for in forming long-lasting contractor relationships:
- Quality Products – Showcase the quality of the product you are selling and installing. Atlas products, including Atlas StormMaster® Shake and Slate impact-resistant shingles featuring Scotchgard™ Protector, offer customers peace-of-mind, with a warranty that is transferable if they sell their home.
- On-Target Pricing – Talk about your prices compared to competitors. Explain how you structure your pricing. Help customers understand the advantage of a roof investment over a quick fix.
- Professionalism – Never underestimate the benefit of a polished look and professional demeanor. Dress the part, present nice-looking sales materials and arrive in a clean truck. Be friendly, understanding and responsive to customers.
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Tips For Building Lasting Customer Relationships
Gone are the days when shoddy work and poor customer service are quickly forgotten. If word about substandard work spread quickly a decade ago, today it spreads in an instant. In fact, before you can even get to a potential customer’s door, most of them have already researched you, queried other customers and screened out competitors. Contractors need to bring their A-game to the front door and consider the following tips to make a lasting impression:
- Believe In Your Product – Don’t just tell customers about the quality in your products, show them. Provide samples of Atlas shingles and the competitor’s shingles to demonstrate the quality differences. Show portfolios of before-and-after photos. Use the products yourself. Rayburn makes a point of telling his customers he has Atlas roof shingles on his own home and on his mother’s home.
- First Impressions Mean Something – Your appearance and demeanor are just as important as the product you sell. Wear neat and clean clothing. Branded clothing, including Atlas-branded collared shirts, presents a professional image. Be on time, provide business cards, be prepared to answer questions and avoid high-pressure tactics.
- Build Trust – Make promises and keep them. Address concerns in an appropriate, professional manner. You will be rewarded not only with favorable one-on-one feedback but also positive online business reviews on sites that include Yelp, Angie’s List, the Better Business Bureau and HomeAdvisor.
- Stay In Touch – Once the job is completed, return within 1-2 weeks to address concerns or complaints. A recent survey found 70 percent of Americans would remain loyal to companies that go the extra mile for a customer. Loyalty translates into long-term customers and references. “My customers become my friends because I’m constantly in touch,” Rayburn said. “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”