One of the challenges for small and midsize paint companies is the perception that others have of your business in the marketplace. It’s a catch 22 in many service businesses: you want your company to appear small enough to provide excellent service and care to the client, but large enough to handle any job request that is made.
The benefits of appearing larger than you are can be great. Having a company that is perceived as “large” offers credibility and validity that is hard to establish if the entire company is just you and a friend. The perception that one or two people are handling all the tasks from the painting to the bookkeeping and everything in between can give the customer the impression that there is too much potential for something to go wrong in the job. They might be asking, “How can one or two people handle all of this?”
If you want to grow your paint business by winning more jobs, winning bigger jobs, and working with more clients, then you have to change the perception that people have of your small company. You have to take the steps to demonstrate that despite having only a handful of people on your team, you are capable of doing the same high quality work on large jobs as significantly larger competitors. Here are five things you can do to start reframing the perception in the market from being thought of as a “small, boutique paint business,” to being thought of as a “full-service, enterprise level paint services provider.”
1. Change how you talk about yourself – In speaking with paint companies that are looking for ways to grow, I am shocked by how many talk to me about their plans for growth and then add the caveat that they are “just a little operation” or “a Mom and Pop paint shop.” As written above, calling your company a “boutique” or “small” is going to tell potential clients more about your company than anything else. There is nothing wrong with being small, but instead of apologizing for it, use it to your advantage. Having fewer employees means you are:
- Agile – A smaller team means you aren’t constricted by job type or specification. You can adjust very quickly if a job’s requirements change.
- Unencumbered by red tape – If a change is requested or needed, a small paint business often doesn’t have multiple layers of management needing to sign off on changing a work-order.
- Faster to respond – Your small company is likely able to work a job onto your calendar sooner than a large company that may already be booked in the near term, or needs a longer amount of time to prepare for a job.
2. Change how you present yourself – The quality of your branding materials speaks volumes about how others perceive your company. If your flyers are on thin printer paper and your phone number is spray painted on the side of your van, it is safe to say that the message you are giving is not one of professional quality. Conversely, a professional looking website and proposals printed on high quality paper convey the message that your company is serious about its reputation. If you don’t care what your company looks like to an outside viewer then it stands to reason that they might question how your actual paint work might look. Take a look at the company logo and information on this example below. Both the van and the logo are clean and professional looking.
3. Ask for a testimonial – Contact someone at your largest customer from the last year and ask for a short testimonial that you can use on your website and printed marketing materials. Ask if you can use the company’s name on the testimonial. If they decline, move to the next largest customer and repeat until you find a customer that will let you use their name in the testimonial. A well-worded testimonial such as this can work wonders in how your company is perceived:
“Sam’s Paint Pros did an excellent job painting our 20,000 square foot office park. They charged us a fair price and were able to start our job soon after the award. Our new development will be ready soon and we will be calling Sam’s Paint Pros again. – Megacorporation USA, INC.”
Having something from a well known company that states customer satisfaction on a large job is an excellent way to look bigger than you are. Other large potential clients will take it as a sign that you have the capability to work with larger companies like them.
4. Find someone else to answer the phone – Very few things will make your company look small as having the same person show up to do the work that answered the phone to learn about the job in the first place. For example, if Sam is using his cell phone to answer inquiries for Sam’s Paint Pros, then it is hard to imagine his company will ever move beyond repainting bedrooms and small office jobs. Whether it be a spouse or a friend or an answering service, if you want to win large jobs, you have to present your company as being bigger than just yourself. Having someone answer and say the following can work wonders:
“Thank you for calling Sam’s Paint Pros. How may I help you?”….”Oh, excellent. We would love the chance to speak with you about that job. If I could take your phone number I would be glad to have one of our project managers call you back as soon as possible. I think Sam himself may even be in the office today…”
It can be hard to change how you’ve done things in the past. But if you continue doing things that way, you can expect the same results. If you want to grow your business and earn more customers, you have to change things up! Click here to learn more about marketing your paint business. Winning more jobs and gaining more customers doesn’t have to be hard, but it does take thinking outside the box and putting your best foot forward!