From the web to blogs to Pinterest, your customers have access to more resources for project information and inspiration than ever before. So how do you stay ahead of increasingly educated customers who have unlimited information at their fingertips, and yet still need professional guidance to make the right decisions? Collaboration. Bring your customers along in the design process, recognize their knowledge and lead them to inspiration. This helps you build stronger relationships with your clients and leads to more efficient projects.
The following tips can help you better collaborate with your knowledgeable customers:
- Demonstrate your expertise on the latest building and product trends. Before your customers start working with you, they’ve likely spent hours reading about trends and tips for tackling projects. That means they may approach a job thinking they know what’s best. Showcase your experience and industry knowledge by guiding the conversation, being the first to bring up the answers and recommendations that your customers are probably already thinking about. This initiative positions you as the expert and helps you build strong relationships with your customers from day one.
- Match your customers’ preferred communication methods. Whether it’s in-person, on the phone or electronic communication, it’s important to match your customers’ communication methods. It makes staying on the same page with your customer easier, and demonstrates your ability to accommodate your clients’ needs. Regardless of the communication method, make sure you promptly respond to your customers’ questions and requests.
- Help your customers visualize projects. Take advantage of opportunities to help your customer visualize a project. This will help jobs run more smoothly from the start and reduce the chances of costly surprises due to miscommunication. ABC Connect with Pictureit, allows you to create virtual designs of projects using ABC Supply’s extensive collection of roofing, siding and windows, as well as stock imagery of over 80 popular pre-mapped North American home styles. These renderings can often help you close a sale quicker and easier because your customer can better visualize the end result of a project, making them feel more comfortable making decisions that move projects forward.
- Create opportunities to involve customers throughout a project’s lifetime. If you’re working with customers who feel like they are experts on a project, you may find that they hover over you or frequently check up on a project’s progress. To address this, consider creating opportunities to meet up with your customers to discuss the progress being made. You can also treat your supplier’s showroom as an extension of your office. Bring your customers in for a visit to show them product samples. This visit can provide a nice extension of the product visualization tools they’ve been looking at and give them the sense of ownership they need to feel comfortable with a project. Exposing your customers to product options that they weren’t previously aware of can also create opportunities for upselling or cross-selling products.
- Ask for reviews. Customers are increasingly turning to online review sites and social media to post about and look for recommendations on local businesses. In fact, a survey by BrightLocal* found that “88 percent of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.” This is an incredible number, considering most online reviews are posted by people your potential customers have never met.
If a project goes well, asking your customer for a review can be an important tool for your business’ success. If a project doesn’t go as smoothly as planned, do what you can to immediately acknowledge and remedy the situation to reduce the chances of your client posting negative reviews.
Your customers are more informed than ever before, so doing what you can to include them in the project, and giving them a sense of empowerment, can help them better trust you and your professional expertise.
Be sure to check back at www.abcsupply.com/blog for more tips on working with your customers.