Business Articles - Sales

Trust and Trusses: Why Contractors Need More Than Timber to Build Business

Trust is not just helpful in a business relationship, it's essential. Without trust, customers have no reason to believe that price quotes, deadlines, and overall quality are what the contractor is telling them. For most people, their homes are their biggest investment, so it's very important to be straightforward when planning, executing, and completing a project. With trust, operations will go smoother, customers will be more receptive to up selling, and referrals will increase. Have some faith in contractor-customer trust.

Make sure that the check really is in the mail.
Your follow-through on commitments is important in a business. As a contractor, making sure customers can depend on a meeting time is just as important as making sure the electrical is installed by the promised date. It's better to be conservative and quote a higher budget or longer timeframe and keep it, than to fall short with unrealistic promises.

Don't bite off more than you can chew.
Living up to the expectations you create for your customers will help them to take you at your word. Just because they make a request does not mean you have agree to it. With experience, you will know best what you can and can't deliver. Make sure your customers are comfortable with your plans and your work methods. Laying out practical expectations will save you and the customer time and trouble down the road when unexpected problems come up.

Don't leave your customers in the dark.
Because of the time, hassle, and money that go along with many contracting projects, let your customers know the how's and why's of what you're doing. If you do your customers will be able to put themselves in your shoes, and they'll better understand that you are always continue working to the best of your ability for them, no matter what the circumstances.

Get your customers in on the game plan.
Your customers should not only know about your standard operating procedures, but also how their own project will be treated. Customers will better understand how they are an important priority for your business and can have idea of when and how their project will be accomplished. Trust comes when the customer feels confident and comfortable with the plan and strategy.

Show customers how they fit in.
Make sure that your customers know what their proper role is in the contracting process. Let them know what concerns and priorities they can explain to you. Don't worry about seeming as though you are creating extra trouble for the customer by asking for their input. Since you know your own capabilities, the customer can understand that your process is enhanced by their participation.

Don't put customers down by talking over their heads.
As a trained and experienced professional, you have knowledge that your customers with no experience in your field will lack. Don't assume they know what you do, or make them feel bad that they don't have your understanding. Even though you are not trying to make a customer look bad, little things do matter. A certain attitude or comment that gives the customer a bad impression can end up being costly in that customer's trust. Remember that you are there to provide a service and run a business, not to give the customer a hard time.

Expect -- and explain -- the unexpected.
While no one can stop all mistakes and unfortunate accidents from occurring, it helps when your customers are briefed on your past experience and difficulties. As long as they are relevant to their own project, customers informed about possible hazards will be less distressed and more understanding when a problem pops up. By building greater trust, your up-front openness can work to your own benefit at the end of the project.

Don't write checks your business can't cash.
It is tempting to promise whatever the customer requests without consulting a schedule or considering whether or not the customer request can realistically be done. A good business operator wants to please a customer, but without careful and informed thought, quick agreements will do just the opposite. Over-promising often causes broken agreements. Broken trust is the result of failed commitments.

Don't leave customers hanging.
Consider how you would feel if someone you were paying good money to hire kept treating you as though you were less important than little tasks that you knew nothing about. A customer who experiences disregard in their discussion with you will quickly lose their sense of trust and confidence in your concern for them. Clear your schedule of all other commitments and make it understood among your employees that you should not be interrupted when you are meeting with a customer.

Is everyone fine with the fine print?
The details of any work contract should be completely clear between you and your customers. This is especially important when it comes to the time and cost that a project requires. Trust is built over a long period of time but it can be broken in a moment. Just because a customer signed an agreement doesn't necessarily mean that they understand or have reviewed important parts of it. What might be a standard extra cost for you may be a very unpleasant shock for an uninformed customer.

Building a customers' good faith in your work and character takes time, effort, and experience. While a combination of a job well done, open communication and fulfilled expectations may be more work in the short term, the return customers and referrals that follow will be well worth the effort.

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