If you don’t know what’s been working in your business setting new goals for your upcoming year is going to be tough.
I find that the simpler the better so you or your technicians don’t get bogged down trying to use something that is cumbersome and awkward. We want our gear easy to use so there is no resistance to using it right. 🙂
Testimonials, especially video testimonials, should be a very important part of your marketing strategy.
Here is a video I recently shot for my Youtube Channel showing all the different gear that I have used over the years and what is my favorite go to stuff that I thought you might find valuable.
An AOB is a good way for scammers to take advantage and rip-off unsuspecting homeowners after a CAT type loss like Hurricane Mathew.
AOB stands for Assignment Of Benefits. And in some states can essentially mean that by signing one, an insured is giving away their rights to any monies that are released by their insurance company in accordance with their insurance policy to another person. In this case to a contractor who is supposed to fix their home after damages have occurred.
This can be a really good thing and make paying for services rendered an easier process for not only the contractor but the insured as well.
Unfortunately it can also make it very difficult for a good, reputable, qualified restoration contractor to get clients to hire them to do the restoration work that they so desperately need help with.
Several insurance companies are putting articles on their websites warning their insureds to not sign these forms and cautioning people to be wary of anyone coming to their door offering to do storm work for them. This is understandable under the circumstances but this will also make it increasingly more difficult to get your foot in the door as a contractor.
But if you make sure that you have a few things in place and step up your game just a bit you could be signing all the jobs you can handle.
Here are three things you need to make sure that you do to put your potential clients at ease and have them asking “where do I sign”:
1. Offer a guarantee on your workmanship. If you won’t stand by your work why should a homeowner hire you? Do not be afraid to stand behind your work. If you and your team are properly trained and have the right equipment to do the work and do it right, then you have no reason not to offer an awesome guarantee to put your potential clients concerns at ease. Take away the fear of doing business with you and your company.
2. Show them social proof. Bring a tablet with you that you can use to show a potential client what others have to say about you. Pull up your website, Facebook Page and your Youtube Channel. This will show them that you have credibility and that you have lots of happy clients that are recommending you to others. And what others have to say about you is infinitely more believable than anything you could say about yourself.
3. Ask them to tell you their story. People need to feel understood and cared about or they won’t feel like they can trust you. And if you are an out of state company that is coming in after a large catastrophe like a hurricane you will need to work harder than a local company to gain their trust and their signature. In the first few minutes of a conversation you need to ask them “can you tell me what happened”? Now that might seem silly when we know a hurricane just hit the area but its not. Everyones circumstance and story are different in some way. Letting them share their individual experience will give you a good foundation to start building trust and creating a connection.
Remember you are going to be dealing with people that are in shock and traumatized.
What they need most from you is understanding and hope.
And for the restoration contractor that provides both for their clients there will be huge success!
I often wonder if business owners ever ask their clients this question.
Think about it…
When was the last time you were asked by a service based business how you would rate them say on a scale of 1-10? 10 being AWESOME!
I am guessing your answer is probably never.
I’m not sure why they don’t ask us. I mean don’t they want to know what we want so they can give us more of it?? If they aren’t making us happy wouldn’t they want to know they aren’t??
I had one business tell me they didn’t ask because they thought it might open them up to more complaints…REALLY!!
That kind of mentality is business suicide.
In this connected world that we live in today you can bet your bottom dollar that if your clients are not happy with you or your service they are tweeting, Facebooking and texting about it to all of their sphere of influence not just there friends and family. So you had better be asking them to tell you first so you can do something about it.
It continually blows my mind when I dine out or when I am standing at a cash register and the person taking my money from me doesn’t look me in the eye or speak directly to me let alone ask me how my experience with them has been for me.
I don’t owe you my money. No one is forcing me to spend it with you it is what I am choosing to do. So I expect you to acknowledge me and make me feel good about handing over my hard earned money to you. I expect you to provide me with immense value and you had better stand behind what you sell me or I am gonna call you on it.
And when you do all these things that tell me you actually care and that I am not just a bank deposit to you, I will give you my loyalty for life. In fact I will tweet, Facebook and tell my entire sphere of influence and anyone else that will listen about my experience with you.
And I will do this because you will stand out as being VERY different than the others.
Because I will never forget how you made me feel like I matter and that I made a difference when I did business with you.
You might think I am arrogant and who am I to say these things and try to put these requirements on you and your business.
And why should you care what I think anyway right??
Because I am your customer…and possibly your biggest fan.
They said that they were struggling and had been for the past couple of years. Each month they watched as their revenue go lower and
lower and lower.
They were desperate.
At this point they have cut their overhead,layed off employees and even sold one of the vans they were using in their business.
They told me they have been doing everything they can to stay in business and keep their head above water. And yet their bank account just keeps getting lower and lower and their hours keep getting longer and longer.
“The economy is horrible and we are tired. Do you think if we took your class and added fire cleaning there is a need in our area?”
Ok I get asked this question all the time. And my answer is always the same.
There is ALWAYS a huge need in the restoration industry for good, carring, highly skilled, organized, compassionate companies to handle and process Contents Cleaning jobs all over the world.
The problem with companies wanting to get into Contents Cleaning is they don’t realize what a gold mine of revenue they have at their disposal and if they aren’t properly trained and ready to handle the work they could ruin a golden opportunity before they even know what they have.
The cool part about cleaners getting into Contents Cleaning and Restoration is you already have a lot of the supplies and equipment
you need. So the startup cost can be quite minimal.
I did tell them that to me it didn’t sound like they were trying to save their business. It sounded like they were going out of business
the slow and painful way.
Don’t let this happen to you.
If you are struggling in your cleaning business or just tired of being the one behind the wand and in the truck 10 hours a day then you need to do something to change that.
The great part about Contents Cleaning is you can have others doing the work for you while you supervise and oversee things.
You don’t have to be the one behind the wand so to speak to be making money.
I hate to see a good cleaning business struggling when there is such a need for them in the industry.
And fires happend all the time they aren’t depedant on the economy.
If you would like to find out more about adding this very profitable and systemized division to your cleaning company checkout our upcoming class dates and let us show you the way to higher profits.
You would think that building a relationship with a client would be easy and come naturally to most businesses but it does not. In fact many businesses are terrible at building relationships.
Because they fail to do the one thing that they have to do in order to develop a good, solid, long lasting relationship and that is to make a connection.
A client wants nothing more than to feel that their needs, wants and concerns are cared about and that they will be cared about in the process. A client isn’t stupid either. They will know if you are just going thru the motions or if you are genuine. They can tell if you really care about them or if you just want their check to clear. The motto “fake it till you make it” won’t work for you in this instance. Your client has a choice and you want to be their choice every time hands down.
Think about it. How many times have you walked into a business and felt like you mattered? An even scarier question, how many times have you walked into a business and knew immediately that you didn’t matter at all?
There are companies small and large that do this beautifully.
You know the ones.
There is the coffer shop that has your drink made before you even step thru the door. The car wash that remembers your favorite fresh car smell and makes sure that the driver’s seat is always put back in your favorite spot before you get in to drive away. And even the online store that ships your orders to you next day for free.
You go back to these places and would never consider going anywhere else because you have a connection with them and know that your needs, wants and ultimately your happiness matters to them. That you matter to them.
So how do you make a strong, solid, long lasting connection?
1. Create Outrageous Value~ Give your client over the top outrageous value. Deliver above and beyond their expectations and deliver more than you promise to the point that they think WOW every time they interact with you or your business.
2. Ask Them What They Want~ Don’t sit and wonder what your client wants or needs or worse yet think you already know. Check in them to make sure you are both on the same page. Ask them what they want from you and then give it to them.
3. Listen When They Talk~ You client knows better than anyone what you need to do to connect with them. So ask them constantly. Check in verbally often and then take action on what they tell you. If you don’t they will know you really do not care and they will feel you aren’t listening to them.
4. Atmosphere~ Make sure that the culture and atmosphere in your company makes your clients feel welcome and cared about. Even if your business doesn’t have a retail store front and you only talk to clients on the phone this is vital. Atmosphere is portrayed in your dÃ©cor, cleanliness, tone of voice, words, smile, actions and location of a retail establishment. Be sure it says you matter.
5. Education Based Marketing~ Your client is not a mindless drone. They are a person who wants to be able to do the right thing and make an informed decision when it comes to spending their money. So it is your job to inform them why your business is the best place for them to spend their money and there is no better way to do that than to educate them about your product, service, etc. and what they need to be looking for from you. It’s a great way to ethically brag about yourself and your business while creating reciprocity with your clients.
6. Be Ethical~ Creating a strong company culture that always puts ethics first. If you want a relationship and connection with your clients then they have to know, like and trust you. Never waver on this. If a client feels treated badly and lets face it, this can happen in the best of businesses, fix it immediately. Once you have lost a clients trust it can be all but impossible to earn it back.
Gone are the days of transactions in business. Clients are way savvier than that and demand that you earn their respect and their money by being in a relationship with them. And the good news is that there are so many terrible businesses out there doing just the opposite that they actuallyÂ make it quite easy for someone like you that cares and wants to connect to swoop in and be the hero.
If you nail this in your business you will be guaranteed success and never worry about competition again.
Before we can talk about the difference between the client and the customer I thought we should look up the definition of each.
And this is what I found:
A Customer:A person or organization that buys goods or services from a store or business. A party that receives or consumes products
A Client: One that is under the protection of another :dependant on.
This really fits how I describe the difference between the two. You see a customer is a transaction and a client is a relationship.
Customers are what we get when we take a persons money and do nothing to create a connection with them and not worry about ever getting them to spend their money again with us sometime in the future.
A Client is what we create when we make a connection and build a relationship with a person or business that can benefit from using our products or services. It’s what we get when we get to know the person who may someday hand us over their hard earned money knowing that we will be there for them and take good care of them. A Client is what we create when we create an experience around the relationship we build with them.
So ask yourself…Do I have customers or clients in my business?
I hope you answered the latter. If not you need to go back to the drawing board and create a system that enables you to turn those customers into relationships.
To really get the magnitude of this topic you really need to think about the lifetime value of a client vs. just having a customer.
Let’s use a pest control business as an example. Say an average client will spend $150 a year on services keeping the bugs away. And let’s say your average client is with your for 10 years and refers another 5 clients to use your services. That is a lifetime value of $9000.
Now let’s consider that you treat this client like a customer instead and they only have a transaction with you not a relationship and that one transaction goes badly. It is estimated that customers will tell twice as many people about a bad experience than a good one. So that means that by having this person or business as a customer not a client you just lost $16,500! As you can see having customers not clients has an exponential effect on your bottom line. Now if you are a Restoration contractor you can add another zero or two to this equation.
Not to mention is costs a lot more money to get a client than to keep one. Let’s talk about keeping a client.
In order to get a client you need to build a relationship in the first place. To be able to keep a client and have them referring their family and friends you need nurture and care for that relationship on a regular basis. The way we build relationships are thru experiences.
“People may not remember exactly what you said or did but they will always remember how you made them feel” Tony Hsieh
The question then to ask yourself is how are you making your clients feel before, during and after doing business with you?
Do they feel important?
Do they feel that you care about them?
Do they feel like they can trust you?
These are such critical questions that we all as business owners need to explore. Do we have the customer or the client?
A book that I would highly recommend you put on your must read book list is The Starbucks Experience by Joseph A. Michelli. This book has the principles to help you turn the ordinary into the extraordinary for your clients who will love you for years and years to come.
The best way to make sure your client is happy is to ask them. Every business should be gathering feedback from their clients. A really good way to do this is to ask for a testimonial at the end of every experience with your company.
You can do this in a variety of ways. It can be gotten in writing or maybe even in video format. Video is my favorite because it is so powerful to see and hear people talking about how fantastic your company is rather than reading words. This can be difficult to get as some people are just too shy and don’t want to be on camera in which case a written testimonial will suffice.
There are two reasons why getting a testimonial are so important. One is you will have social proof that your company is a rock star and that your clients are happy with your products or services. The other is you will definitely know if you are doing everything right for your clients and more importantly what you are doing wrong.
Why is knowing the wrong more important?
Because then you can fix it. You can’t fix what you don’t know is broken right?
Too many businesses just assume that they are delivery what their clients want and don’t ask them. Getting a testimonial is also very powerful for your Team or Staff as well. If your Team members know that they are expected to gather a testimonial from each and every client asking how their experience was don’t you think they are going to be very focused on taking extraordinary care of their clients so they gat a raving review?
This is also very powerful for your clients especially if you and your Team let them know at the beginning of your relationship with them that you will wow them with an exceptional experience as you plan on getting an outstanding testimonial from them at the end. This is a great way to set the tone for the client right in the beginning letting them know that you plan to wow them. It also let’s them know that you care and that they are not just money going into your bank account. Their feelings matter to you as the owner and that is how you make a connection.
Once you gather these testimonials you need to read each and every one of them. If there are improvements to be made do them immediately. If you and your Team are doing certain things that your clients love then do more of them.
Trust me this will set you apart from the majority of businesses today. Think about it. How many times have you been asked by a business that you just gave your money to if you had an extraordinary experience with them? I’ll bet not too many. Most businesses are afraid to ask because the answer might me I’m not happy. How powerful is that to know? It may be more important than knowing what you are doing right. Because you can be doing 5 things right and doing just 1 wrong thing may be what’s turning your clients away.
I would be willing to bet that some of the answers that you get will shock you. You have to remember that you are not your client and what may be important to you they may not really care about. But what you will also find out is the little details that really do matter to them.
It’s important to not create work for your clients in this process. Make this an easy thing for them to do. Have a written set of questions for them to answer with an area at the bottom of your form for them to just share any thoughts with you that they would like to.
Here are a few examples of some questions to ask when gathering testimonials:
- What product or service did you buy from Xyz Company?
- Would you do business with Xyz Company again?
- How did you hear about us?
- What were one or two important benefits that you got from Xyz Company?
- How could we have made your experience with our company any better?
- Will you recommend our product or services to others?
- Anything else you would like to share about your experience with Xyz Company?
These are just few examples but I think you get the idea. You want to also have an opening sentence or two explaining why their feedback is important as well as a thank you statement at the end.
The little details that you will derive from these testimonials will help you create the most amazing experience yet for your clients.
This is so important for us to be able to make a real connection with our clients especially in restoration work. We deal with our clients at a very emotional and difficult time in thier lives. They have never needed our understanding, compassion and to know that we care about them then right now.
And that is where the magic happens.
In the little details that make your client feel special, taken care of and like they matter to you. You can give them hope that things will be normal again soon. These details may be something that you would never think of on your own and you wouldn’t know if you didn’t ask.
And the not knowing could be the difference between your success and your failure to give your clients a WOW! experience.