Why Customer Education is Essential to the Sales Process

By corkcrm | July 20, 2018 | Start a Painting Business | No Comments

contractor customer education

Generally speaking, your clients don't know a whole lot about your industry. Sure, they know what they want, to some extent -- a new color scheme in their living room, a complete overhaul of their back deck. But do they understand what you're doing and, more importantly, why you're doing it? Probably not. 

After all, they wouldn't be calling you if this was something they could easily do on their own. They're hiring you because of your professional knowledge about the job. They're putting faith in your expertise. 

Nonetheless, there are benefits to be gained from educating the client on some of the specifics of the process. 

For one thing, this opens up a space for communication between you and the customer. Rather than forcing them to accept a price simply because you know what's best, you can rationalize the project cost by walking them through each piece of the job. Describe what you're going to do, how you'll be doing it, and what costs are factored in. Demonstrate that the service is worth every penny they're paying. For instance, if you use a special kind of paint, or you do the work more thoroughly than your competitors, now is the time to point that out. 

Focusing on client education helps to build trust, loyalty, and greater customer satisfaction. Without comprehending exactly why the job is going to cost x dollars and take x amount of time, many clients may start to grow wary. This can ultimately harm the relationship and prevent customers from seeking out a contractor in the future. You can foster greater confidence in your work -- and your industry more generally -- by providing a more comprehensive explanation of the work to be done. 

Likewise, in taking the time to educate the customer, you're strengthening the client-contractor connection. Talking with the client one-on-one doesn't just help them to learn more about the job; it also teaches them something about your personality and your ability to communicate effectively. As such, they'll have a better sense of who you are and what to expect throughout the duration of the project, meaning they'll be more comfortable hiring you.

How to Properly Educate Your Customers

Here are just a few ways that you can improve the customer education component of your contracting business.

Explain the jargon.

When you're a contractor, it's easy to forget that not everyone understands the industry lingo. So when you start referring to "chalking" or "backfill", there's a good chance the client doesn't have any idea what you're talking about. Going over some important words and phrases -- or putting them differently -- during the estimate is a good way to guarantee that everyone is on the same page. Otherwise, the client might not fully comprehend what they're paying for and why it's necessary, which could potentially cause them to get cold feet. Avoid this by using vocabulary that even the most inexperienced customers can understand, or by supplying some detailed insight on the industry's terminology.

Provide some resources.

Another great way to enhance customer education is to offer informational materials regarding your company, your services, or the industry. This could be something tangible, like a pamphlet or your business card; it could also be an electronic resource, such as a blog post or a downloadable e-book. Whatever you choose to do, give the client a chance to do research individually and at their leisure. This approach is especially useful when customers are interested but aren't quite ready to commit to signing a proposal. By making some valuable resources available to them, you can give the client some space while also offering up whatever information they need to make the decision.

Put yourself in their shoes.

When bidding a job, you should constantly be conscious of what might be running through the customer's mind. Try to see things from their perspective. If there's a chance your price estimate is higher than what they were expecting, take a moment to run through each element of the job and it's approximate cost. If it seems like there might be some lingering questions, do a little poking and prodding and see if there are any concerns that you can address. A big part of great customer service is anticipating the needs of your clients. This is best accomplished when you have some consideration for how they will feel and react during the bid. How do you work to educate your customers during the sales process?

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