David Lupberger, CR
The remodeling industry has changed dramatically in the last five years. The economic downturn has had an effect on everyone in the industry. Market downturns are not unusual, and every business owner can plan on lower revenues when profitable years will be offset by years when profits are not great. It’s part of the economic cycle we live with.
There are things we can do to offset this economic uncertainty: become a market leader in your local area.
Let me explain what I mean. This doesn’t mean doing good work at a fair price. Any good company does that. This means becoming a market leader in your local area by:
- Market share
- Customer loyalty
- Distinguishing company characteristics
- Exceptional brand awareness
You don’t need to be the biggest to be a market leader, but it helps if you are perceived as being the best. This means being perceived as bringing exceptional value to the clients that work with you. As a market leader, you offer a value-proposition that propels you beyond your competitors in customer loyalty, image, and perceived value. Ongoing and consistent client contact becomes a primary company business principle.
A relationship-driven industry
We are part of a relationship-driven industry. Homeowners work with people that they know, like, and trust.
Are you focusing on past clients, contacting them on a regular basis and letting them know that you are there to assist them with any home-related issue or question that could arise? Are you building customer loyalty and brand awareness through regular and consistent contact? Most contractors have no system in place to stay in contact with their past clients on a regular basis. When I say this, I don’t mean a monthly newsletter.
You become a market leader by making ongoing client contact a core value of your business. You make this practice part of your day-to-day business operations. You will maintain and build your market presence as a result of this strong position, gaining new opportunities that will arise as a result of this proactive client engagement strategy.
In the project-driven business model most contractors have now, we respond to random calls from homeowners that want a specific project done. They have focused on one or two projects in their home, but the reality is that there may be eight to 10 projects that you could be assisting them with. This is where the client engagement comes into play. You can better assist your clients with creating a client-driven service offer that helps them with all of the following concerns:
- Home repairs
- Home service items
- Energy efficiency upgrades
- Aging in place recommendations
- Additional future home remodeling projects
Do you want to be a market leader?
Work with homeowners in a more holistic fashion to diversify your service offerings. Build strong customer relationships and expand the job opportunities within your client base. Act as a home advisor to build customer loyalty, moving beyond price as the primary consideration because of the consistent value that you bring your clients. This company diversification will make your company stronger and help you weather future market downturns.
For most homeowners, their home is their largest investment. Just as they have a family doctor and dentist, become their family contractor.
Give them access to your expertise, and let them know that expertise includes your proven network of trade contractors and suppliers. With your assistance, they will never again have to worry about hiring the right person and making sure that the job is done correctly.
This is a strong selling proposition. We offer the expertise in the network we already possess.
Here is your client-focused mantra for the new economy: “when our project ends, our relationship is just beginning.”
The first sale is always the hardest.
Can you continue to market and work with past clients, growing your business through your existing client base? The answer is an emphatic “yes!”
Other industries do this quite well—dentists and doctors build successful practices developing a strong clientele that stay with them for years. We can do the same. Manage these relationships, and the work will follow. PR