No General Contractor wants to be constantly struggling to attract clients, do they? And with the Covid-19 pandemic, things haven’t gotten any better. In fact, the Commercial Construction Index has fallen from 74 to 57 in 2020 alone.
So, what can you do? Attracting new customers isn’t easy: or is it?
Here are 5 ways you can make things a little easier for you:
1. Capitalize on referrals
If there is one thing that will forever remain true, it is the power of referrals. In fact, studies show that 72% of customers will share their positive experience with at least 6 other people.
So even before you start working on a new project, you should already start hinting to your clients about how much you appreciate referrals. This way, all through the construction process, they have this in mind.
Sharing referrals is a trust-building exercise
And at the end of the project, ask for feedback that you can then share with potential clients. See: besides making more people aware of your construction business, feedback, reviews and testimonials give them reason to trust you. And, as we all know, trust is the cornerstone of business.
Are you really a General Contractor that does good work? More than 80% of consumers trust reviews that someone says you do … even if they don’t know that someone.
Moreover, you should initiate referral conversations with friends and family. Ultimately, you aim to strengthen your referral network. Attend networking events and even initiate conversations with neighboring businesses and homeowners.
Leverage your network of loyal clients
Keeping a client is cheaper than generating a new one. So, be sure to keep in touch with previous clients, sending them regular emails about any new services or offers you are running. You can even offer to do a free touch-up for a referral. The more potential clients have your business top of mind, the better it is for you.
However: this only works if you provide high-quality services though.
Warning: Not all word of mouth advertising is good for business.
If your services are terrible, people will hear about this as well. And with only 1 in 26 customers complaining to your face and 13% of them sharing a negative service experience with at least 15 other people, you’ll definitely be one of the last people to hear about it.
2. Potential clients look for low risk contractors
The truth is, clients want to work with General Contractors that are fully insured. Why is this? Because if something goes wrong on site, they are protected. Their risk is reduced.
In many states, having General Liability insurance is mandated by law. By complying, you are showing that your business can be relied upon to do the right thing. Even if insurance isn’t required, with it you are confirming that you take your business relationships seriously. Once again, we’re talking about trust.
As such, at the very least, you should have General Liability insurance. This covers property damage and third-party injury costs. So, if your customer or their visitor gets hurt on-site, this covers it.
Some of the costs included in such cases include medical bills, funeral expenses, settlements, court-ordered judgments, and attorney costs (if they sue you).
On the other hand, if you accidentally damage your client’s property, General Liability not only covers replacement costs but also any lawsuit costs as a result of the damage.
Add value with insurance coverage
Interestingly, General Liability policies have also been known to cover any copyright infringement, libel, defamation, or slander caused by accidental advertising injuries. This usually comes into play when you unknowingly copy another businesses’ slogan or advertising campaign when making an advertisement of your own.
Ultimately, a General Liability policy is a good foundation to have. Afterward, you can then add on other policies like workers compensation and commercial auto. While the former covers employee injuries, the latter covers any vehicle damage.
Pro tip: Contractors insurance attracts clients and their referrals. It’s a small price to pay for a bigger return while protecting your business.
Fortunately, a General Liability policy isn’t expensive. In the United States, a $1M limit General Liability policy usually costs around $90 per month with a deductible of $500. This is of course subject to location, revenue, and what kinds of construction you do. Try to get your estimate in 3 minutes with General Contractors Insurance Rates.
For instance, roofing is high risk, and so the rate for roofing contractors is higher. (In case you are interested, roofing is one of the 5 most dangerous jobs in the US.)
3. Publicly celebrate successes and milestones
If you want potential clients to easily find and trust you, you need to be visible. For instance, if you’ve recently completed an exciting project or hit an important business milestone, it would be a good idea to have a small celebration.
Why? When you look successful, people believe you to have the skills and drive that it takes to make a success of their project.
Alert: Don’t let Covid-19 stop the celebration!
So: e-vite the client, their team, designers, influential people and any potential clients you’ve had your eyes on.
Make your celebration a PR event. Not only should you feature this event on your social media accounts, but you could even go as far as inviting the local media over and asking them to feature the event in their publications. The more you get the word out there, the more clients you’ll attract.
Go big or don’t go at all
However, there is one thing you have to keep in mind if you choose to go this route; the event has to be killer. Even a virtual event must be engaging. There is no room for technical glitches.
While this will obviously take a lot of effort from your end, it will definitely be worth it. And you don’t even have to do it all the time. Once a year would be enough to get your name out there.
4. Provide a payment plan
Let’s face it: money is tight. The pandemic has thrown a curveball, and it has hit the construction industry hard. Projects are delayed. Others are cancelled. Developers and lenders are withdrawing project funds. So, what can you do to attract clients right now?
There is a simple way: set up a payment plan that works for them. Fortunately, in the United States, there are several options you can look into.
Don’t be shy: get help to help yourself
The perfect example is EnerBank USA; one of America’s most popular home improvement lenders. With their help, you can create an effective loan program for your customers. Such programs allow you to charge clients a low monthly rate or offer them a same-as-cash loan, both of which are more popular than paying out of pocket.
In fact, according to the World Financial Review, providing such flexible payment options has been proven to increase sales, customer satisfaction, and loyalty. No matter how you look at it, this is a win-win situation.
5. Customize your marketing
When it comes to marketing, there is no one size fits all solution. Each customer segment requires a different marketing strategy. As such, you should never blindly copy what another contractor is doing. Instead, you should strive to identify your main customers and understand what medium and content they respond most to.
For instance, if your clients prefer print media, you opt to distribute flyers or advertise in the local papers. Of course, digital marketing is strongest. Email marketing costs you nothing and has a high response rate.
Social media is a must-do. Post regularly, engage with followers, and always seek out their feedback.
Pro tip: How To articles and videos are popular.
Since around 52% of internet traffic comes from mobile devices, it would do you some good to make your website mobile-friendly.
But, your best bet is Google My Business. List your business as soon as you can. Include everything that makes it easy for clients to connect with you, from your location to your out-of-hours contact numbers. Give them a reason to make contact by adding reviews.
Make it easy for clients to choose your company
While attracting new clients (and keeping existing ones) takes some work, it can be done. With dedication and a willingness to try new strategies, you can get more clients to go after you — even during the pandemic.
Obviously, the trick is to make them want to hire your construction business. In other words: get word out that your work is good, that your business can be trusted, and that you care about excellence.
How can you achieve this? Our top recommendations are:
- Get your company name out there by requesting referrals from your clients.
- Build trust by including positive reviews in your marketing.
- Advertise that you reduce project risk by having insurance.
- Celebrate and showcase your successful projects.
- Make it easier for clients to make their budgets work with payment plans
And last but not least, remember to put creating good customer experiences at the center of all that you do. With 88% of companies now doing this, it is clear that customer satisfaction is a major driving force in any successful business.