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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Some painting contractors have enough business in their area to stick exclusively to painting. Others  find that additional services help to fill up their calendar, especially during the winter months.

Click here to learn how to maximize your marketing dollars and make a new service really matter to your existing  customers.

 


Monday, November 23, 2020

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 Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com.


Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Technology is supposed to make life easier.  That was the promise, right?  Technology was supposed make it easier to contact people, make it faster to get things done and make our products perform better than ever.  Instead, it seems like technology has made it easier than ever to dodge calls, build things cheaply and hack email accounts.  What went wrong?

In reality, technology can speed things up – if you’re using the right tools.  Here are three ways technology can save painting contractors time and earn them money.

#1 – CRM software


Short for Customer Relationship Management, CRM software makes it easy to keep all of your customer information in one place.  The best CRMs for painting contractors are easy to search, keep up with job details (including financials) and, unsurprisingly, are built specifically for contractors.  A recent article in American Painting Contractor Magazine discusses the most important parts of a CRM in detail, and provides an overview of some of the most popular contractor CRM systems.

#2 – Quoting Software


Have you ever gone into an estimate, took some quick room measurements, offered a quote, and then had second thoughts about your price?  Have you worried that your estimating process didn’t look as “professional” as bigger painting companies or franchises in the area?

Several companies make estimating software specifically for painting contractors. It makes it easy to give fair, accurate and professional quotes.  The software asks you important questions about the job and builds a comprehensive quote based on your answers.  When you provide the completed estimate to the customer (either on paper or in an email) they’ll be able to see exactly what they’ll be paying for.

Take a look at Painter’s Estimating Program, Paint Pad and Estimate Rocket to learn more.

#3 – Digital Marketing


Because of the way that consumers now choose local services, digital marketing is a must have for painting contractors.  If you’ve got a great website, solid online reviews and your service area is clear to potential customers, it can bring you business with little added work on your part.  But if you don’t have those things, you are missing out on the big opportunity to earn business from people who go online searching for the services that you offer.

Your best bet is to go with a marketing company that specializes in painting websites.  They’ve already done the work to figure out what painting contractors need on their site to search well, so you won’t have to pay for all of that research.  They’ll also know how to make sure you’re properly listed on Google My Business and can help you get your online reviews where they need to be if you want to be among the first search results.

To learn how ProPainter Websites can help your company get more business online, call us at 919-424-6121 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com.


Monday, October 26, 2020

Customer loyalty can be difficult to achieve for painting contractors. To prevent a race to the bottom on prices, work hard to stand out from your competitors in a way that matters to your customers.  Click here to learn how.

 


Sunday, October 25, 2020

Local marketing has always been a cornerstone of small business.  But it’s turned into a buzz phrase.  The odds are pretty good that no Google employee has ever worked in your town, yet here they are trying to sell you local marketing services.


In fact, if you type local marketing into Google, there are other billion-dollar companies that want you to buy their local marketing services, including Facebook, Hubspot and Podium.  What do these places know about your town?

Probably not very much.

But local marketing doesn’t mean what it used to mean.  Small businesses didn’t have access to big media twenty years ago. Local marketing meant local – advertising in local media, sponsoring local events and mailing flyers to local residents.

Online activities have at least somewhat replaced all three of those.  Radio listening has given way to online music streaming or podcasts.  Local events are advertised online.  And mail volume is way down, in part because Facebook messaging, email and online bill pay is so much faster.  Google and Facebook have become the gateway to your local residents.

Unlike old media, these companies make a ton of money on small businesses.  Google made more than $140 billion in 2019 on ads, and most of that was paid by small and mid-size businesses.  That’s because, unlike older national media, Google can let every company target who they want.  That doesn’t just mean targeting specific towns – you can target only married people, only people who have visited certain websites, or only people who have just moved into town.

The bad news is that these ads are expensive.  The good news is that you don’t have to buy them!

Local Marketing Strategy

A good local marketing strategy is different than it was twenty years ago, but that doesn’t mean it’s changed completely.  Personal recommendations are still one of the most effective marketing techniques, whether those recommendations happen in person, over the phone or online.  It’s still important to be part of your community and sponsor local events or activities like Little League teams.  Delivering flyers to residents is still effective for many businesses, although it might be an uncomfortable experience if you’re not a natural salesperson. (Mailing flyers or postcards, on the other hand doesn’t generate many calls for most businesses).

All of these old-school tactics are still important.  But your online presence also needs to be a major focus of any local marketing campaign.

That doesn’t mean paying Google for ads – it means placing high in the search results because you have great online reviews and an active website that specifies your business’s service area.  It means showing up in Facebook feeds because you’re providing valuable tips that help your customers solve problems.  In short, the best way to show up when your customers search for “local painter” is for Google and Facebook to know that you are an active business and that your website is going to provide value to their customers.  It’s going to answer their question.

So when you’re putting together your local marketing strategy, don’t let these companies fool you into dumping all of your time and resources online.  And definitely don’t spend it all on ads.  Instead, spend that time and money making sure that the content you’re putting online answers the questions potential customers are asking:

  • Who provides painting services nearby?
  • What kinds of services?
  • Do they have experience with jobs like mine?
  • Do they do good work?
  • Have their customers had a good experience with them?
  • Are their prices fair?
  • How can I reach them?

Answer these questions, and you’ll get local marketing results online without having to buy pricey ads.

To learn how ProPainter Websites can help your company find new customers online, call us at 919-424-6121 or email us at Team_PPW@ProPainterWebsites.com.

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