The things you can do wrong, and right, in retaining and winning business

Angry contractor

Adams Hudson has shared a first-person story about the things contractors can do wrong, and right, in losing or winning business. You can read his first-person story here. It should be a wake-up call to anyone who cares about marketing and business development (though I have a suspicion that the people who would need to read it the most will either not bother, or just ignore the obvious messages here.

They are:

  • Never badmouth the competition to potential clients, even if they really are bad. The negative information doesn’t add to your good-will. (In Hudson’s case, it didn’t help that he knew the competitors personally through family relationships.)
  • Everyone having any customer-facing responsibilities should be informed, courteous and knowledgeable — and backed up by resources and support so they can accurately resolve issues or provide information as required. There’s no excuse for discourtesy, disrespect and not answering reasonable questions.
  • This doesn’t mean you have to give your store away with line-item price quotes for consumers or expensive detailed free estimates — but you should have clear explanations of your policies and certainly should be helpful in providing ballpark or general guidance, or insights into potential maintenance cost savings for different options.
  • There’s a lot of inertia and advantage to you once you win someone’s business. Hudson was ready to stay with the contractor who was breaking all the rules — even though he had a personal connection with the competitor — because he had done business with that organization previously. Marketing to win long-term new customers is a no-brainer then, because if you do things right, the lifetime value of the relationship far exceeds the up-front marketing and business development investment.

Finally, and perhaps most important, you should realize that you should never take your clients, employees or suppliers/sub-contractors for granted. The brand-building and marketing opportunities arise when you put the whole picture together and really create a holistic, positive experience everyone associated with your business. However the payoff is long-term relationships and much lower overall marketing costs.

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