George Hedley owns Hedley Construction and Hardhat Presentations. He is the author of The Business Success Blueprint Series available in eight workbook and audio CD sets. He is available to speak on his proven system to build profits, people, customers and wealth. Construction company owners are invited to attend his two-day "Profit-Builder Circle" boot camp held regularly. E-mail to receive a free copy of his book entitled Everything Contractors Know about Making a Profit, signup for his free management e-newsletter, visit his online bookstore or receive more information. Visit his website at http://www.hardhatpresentations.com/.
ideas and solutions to make our business more profitable. And he is fun to be around. By the way, he is also the owner of one of the largest flooring companies in the United States. But he focuses his time developing loyal customers by getting to know them as people. Consider these questions about marketing and selling to your top customers:
- How much time do you spend with your customers?
- When was the last time you took customers to lunch or a ball game?
- When was the last time you sent a thank you note to a customer?
- What do you do to get to know your customers?
- What is your system to build customer relationships?
No Trust = No Sales!
When you get to know your customer, you begin to build trust. Trust is earned over time. The more time you invest in a relationship, the more trust is built. When you have a trusted relationship with customers, they want to do business with you. This trust is built during face-to-face time in relationship building sessions. Relationships grow when you are together having fun or discussing ways to help each other. These are best during a meal or at an event away from day-to-day activities of building a project. Think of a close friend. You build friendships by spending time with each other frequently doing fun things together.
The three steps to create a trusted relationship with your customer are:
- Familiarity-time getting to know your customer
- Awareness-making customers aware you care
- Frequency-lots of face-to-face time
To develop trusted relationships, your marketing and sales system must include time with your targeted customers in relationship building sessions. Frequency is the most important factor to build relationships. Create a "Customer Contact Chart" to keep track of your top twenty customers with which you want to create trusted relationships.
- Loyal Customers
- Repeat Customers
- New Targets
- Referring Parties
Keep track of each of your top twenty customer targets and track the following:
- $$$ - Rank by sales volume and profit
- ROE - Return on energy to keep customer
- Customer - Customer name and information
- Contact date - Date of face-to-face appointment
- FTF - Face-to-face appointment
- F - Food
- E - Event
- M - Mail
- O - Other
Your goal is to see your top twenty customer targets every two to three months. This will insure you maintain relationships that result in getting a majority of their work. The balance of your customer list should be contacted at least every two to three months via the mail. Send out something to your entire list to keep your company at the top of their mind. This will show you care and get them to call or refer you work when the need arises.
Remember, the goal of contacting your customers is to get them to call you. Stay in touch by sending customers things that help them grow their business. Mail magazine articles, postcards of completed projects, ten tips to build faster or project checklists. These ideas can be created quickly with little expense. My marketing and sales budget is $5 per customer per quarter. For every 100 customers on my "Customer Contact Chart" we spend about $2,000 per year. This breaks down to $500 for mailings and $1,500 for face-to-face relationship building sessions. This is a great investment of time and money and a small price to pay to create loyal customers who will pay us top dollar to do their work for them.
Marketing and sales systems are simple to maintain and generate big results. All it takes is a commitment to do it! Get started building an excellent company based on installing marketing and sales systems.
Construction Business Owner , August 2006