Composite Decking Contractors: Building Trust First
In marketing, customer perception is the only ‘reality’ that matters. This is the truth many contractors overlook or misunderstand. In other words, if a customer thinks or believes that most contractors are only looking out for themselves, then everything that you and your crew do (or don’t do) will either reinforce or disprove this negative perception. The only way to overcome this mindset is to start building a foundation of trust long before you arrive at the construction site.
Dealing with Lower Cost Quotes: Price matters. Value matters more.
When faced with a competitive quote that’s much lower than what you have proposed, don’t give up (or in). Many business owners forget that price – although important – isn’t the only factor in a customer’s decision-making process.
Have a conversation with the prospective custumer to learn the specifics of the competitor's quote. If another deck builder is proposing a design that uses traditional pressure-treated lumber, it will likely cost less than using a long-life, low-maintenance material such as DuraLife composite decking. Composite decking contractors should always be aware of the 'going rate' that other local competitors are offering, but that doesn't mean you need to lower your estimate or profit margins. The long-term value of composite decking may not be immediately understood by the homeowner. This is an opportunity for you to educate your prospective client about the many solid reasons why a higher cost upfront will pay stress-free dividends in the years to come.
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”
Be prompt -- Chances are that the new deck the customer wants you to build for them is not the only thing going on in their lives. Be considerate of other people’s time. Many contractod have a poor reputation for timeliness, so providing a construction schedule and sticking with it is an excellent way to build trust and differentiate your business.
If you tell a potential customer that you will meet them at 5:30 to go over your proposal and you are not ringing their doorbell by 5:25 … then you’re late. When this happens, be sure to contact the customer as soon as you can. Ideally, well before the time you were supposed to arrive.
Be prepared and proactive -- The best way to prepare for a meeting with a potential new client is by taking the time to think about what the customer might want to see and hear. Ask them what they would like to takeaway from the meeting. Basic items to have on-hand for the meeting include business cards, photos of previous/similar projects you’ve completed, estimate forms and a short list of customer references for the customer to contact. It is an especially good idea to have composite decking samples to review with the client.
Additionally, consider drafting a single page document that includes a brief description outlining each step of the construction process. This gives the customer one more tangible thing that he or she can use to make a qualified decision – and sooner rather than later.
Be considerate -- Think about the last time you bought a car or some other high ticket item. Maybe you attended a “free” vacation timeshare seminar. Most people really dislike these types of high pressure sales situations. It makes them feel uncomfortable. Keep this in mind while you are making your ‘pitch’ about your service.
Be a great resource -- When the timing feels right, encourage customers to contact you with questions about anything related to the project – even if it’s unrelated to the project you are proposing to build for them. Be a resource for all aspects of the project, from permitting regulations to offering recommendations for subcontractors.
Be professional -- Starting with the physical appearance of you and your crew, your tools and vehicles, or the color and quality of the materials you use, the more times you can exceed the expectations of the customer, the more likely that customer will be to recommend you to their friends and neighbors.
And, as any business owner knows, referrals are often the most effective way to grow your customer base – and revenue. Your reputation for providing high quality products and service will serve you well for future business and profitability.
This article is made possible by DuraLife. DuraLife’s unique polypropylene and hardwood composite decking materials simply outperform all other wood and composite decking products. More solid and safe under foot, DuraLife decking is backed by a 25-year warranty. It is stain and fade resistant, mold and mildew resistant, and is available in the colors and deck railing options you want. Get Samples, try our Composite Deck & Railing Visualizer, or contact DuraLife now to learn more.