A dynamic first meeting with a homeowner is a promising start to a project, but even a smooth introduction does not mean the customer is ready to immediately sign a contract. After an appointment, it is important to continue to be proactive and build trust with a homeowner, so when they are ready to begin they will choose your business.
There are a few things you can do to build trust with homeowners and close the sale. Consider the following tips after your first consultation.
Create a System to Follow Up After the Meeting
During this turbulent time, it can be easy for your estimate to fall to the bottom of a homeowner’s priority list. Create a system that helps ensure you follow up with every person you meet. You might begin by asking if the homeowner has any questions about the estimate. Additionally, you can get an idea for their goals and potential hesitations. Continuing the conversation can help them discuss factors that might be holding back their progress on the project.
Set a reminder on your calendar after your first meeting, so you can effectively follow up in a timely manner. Even a simple text or email can be an effective way to check-in, and reassure the customer that you are happy to answer their questions.
Building Trust Takes Time
If you are sending a proposal after your first meeting, time is of the essence. Be diligent about sending your follow up materials as soon as possible. To increase homeowner insight for contractors, we survey our homeowners on a weekly basis to learn more about their home improvement preferences and pain points. In our most recent survey, we learned 63 percent of homeowners will compare 3 or more quotes before selecting a contractor. It is important to remain top of mind with a homeowner during this competitive process. Being delayed in sending your proposal or materials can create doubt with the homeowner and set the wrong impression. In another survey, homeowners were asked what attributes of a contractor’s sales process would make a homeowner least likely to hire them. We learned 21 percent of homeowners said lack of communication.
Being proactive with sending your estimate, and responding to questions, is a powerful way to show your expertise and dedication to their project. A timely response communicates volumes about your reliability and sets the tone for high customer satisfaction. Homeowners feel confident in moving forward with a project when they know they are working with a trustworthy contractor— and it all starts with communication in the beginning.
Keep Your Estimate Simple
As you are creating your proposal, make sure it is easy for a homeowner to understand and digest. The top response from homeowners about what would make them least likely to hire a contractor was an unclear or confusing quote and bid. It is important to ensure your customers clearly understand the costs of their upcoming project. When you provide transparency and quality early into the working relationship it naturally builds trust. Make your proposal easy to review. Clearly outline included products and services, be transparent with details about the pricing, and provide your anticipated timeline for completion. For example, an itemized quote helps the homeowner see how you calculated the cost of the estimate. This proposal might include the following costs:
- Labor costs (usually listed as a per hour rate)
- Material costs
- Permit costs
- Disposal and dumpster expenses
- Installation charges
- Fees for subcontractor services
- Miscellaneous line items that might be necessary for the project
Even though it takes a bit of time to itemize the proposal, it is worth the effort to set you apart from other competitors. Every small detail adds evidence to show that you are confident in your services and you always do what you say you are going to do.
Stand Out in Your Industry
As we mentioned, most homeowners will compare multiple estimates ahead of selecting a contractor for their project. Not only is the initial consultation a time to win over the customer, but you can build trust with ongoing communication as well. Ultimately, the goal is to stand out in your industry, and demonstrate how you go above and beyond to meet the needs of your customer.
As you maintain consistency, it builds a cooperative relationship that not only closes the sale—but can lead to referrals in the future. Focusing on customer satisfaction is the foundation that affects the success of your business right now, and in the years to come.