It’s important for any business to build trust with potential customers, but it’s especially important for service-focused industries like residential painting contractors.  If you can build trust in those first discussions with potential customers, your close rate will be higher.  And if you can build a connection with a potential customer that goes beyond just trusting you to do the job as promised, your margins will also likely be higher – most people don’t want to squeeze every last penny out of a small business owner they really like.

But right now it’s harder than ever to build that trust.  Most salespeople would agree that sales is easier face-to-face, in part because the customer can put a face to a name.  Putting a mask to a name just isn’t quite the same.

Building a real relationship with a customer takes more than just a conversation about square footage and paint types. It’s built in part with non-verbal techniques like gestures, posture and facial expressions that most people don’t even realize they’re using.  You get absolutely none of that over the phone, and for many painting contractors, that’s the main form of communication with their customers right now.

All of this just means that you’ve got to work harder to use the tools you do have. Here are three things you can do to build trust with a potential customer, whether they’re six feet away or six miles away.

Provide Certainty

Even during normal years, reliability is one of the most important elements of earning trust.  But people are desperate for certainty right now.  If you present yourself as a person that they can count on to help them reliably check one thing off their list, it will do wonders in helping you turn a phone call into a customer.

This isn’t just about safety (although if you say you’re taking safety precautions, you need to be doing those things when you show up at their house).  It’s about when you’ll start and when you’ll finish.  It’s about confidence in the products you prefer or recommend, and being able to explain why you prefer them.  It’s about following through on any promises you make about getting back to them with information or questions within a certain period of time.  If you seem uncertain about timing, pricing, or any of the processes you use to keep customers safe and houses clean, it can quickly cost you a customer in these chaotic times.

Provide References

When customers are trying to find a painting contractor they can trust, they want to hear from your other customers.  But they probably aren’t going to call and ask you for references directly.  If they have lots of time, they might ask their friends.  If they don’t have much time, they’ll probably take a look at online reviews.  But the odds are good that you’ll never learn about the paint job at all if they can’t find someone to vouch for you before they ever talk to you.

That’s why personal references and online reviews will always be one of the most important ways to build trust.  And just because you aren’t giving post-job walkthroughs to many of your current customers doesn’t mean you should stop asking them for those references and reviews.  It just means you might have to add some socially-distanced ways of doing that to your process, such as emailed or text requests, if you haven’t already.

Winter is a tough time for painters in colder geographies.  But if a second stimulus check does end up getting mailed out to everyone in the United States, there’s a good chance that many people will use it to renovate the house that they’re stuck inside of for more time than they’d like.  You want to make sure your business is in a position to earn that extra business. Having a stellar reputation is an important part of that!

Provide Results

The most important part of building trust is following through.  Of course, part of that is providing a great paint job, on schedule, within budget.  But it’s also important to take the time to reach out to every customer and make sure they’re happy with both the paint job and the professionalism of the service they received.

If they aren’t, do what you can to make it right.  Sometimes, your most loyal customers are the ones who were dissatisfied with their initial experience but blown away with the response they got after the fact.  It might take some time or money to turn those experiences around, but turning a one-star review into a five-star review will pay for itself many times over in the long run.

To learn how ProPainter Websites can help you earn more house painting business, call us at 919-424-6121 or email us at