In most businesses, retaining a current customer is substantially less expensive then gaining a new customer. The prevailing wisdom is that a customer you have worked with before is already familiar with the quality of your work and your pricing. If they are a returning customer then they already have attached a value to the service or product you offer. As a result, future transactions don’t require much haggling, as both your expectations and those of the customer are already aligned.
Conversely, acquiring a new customer can be a lengthy process that isn’t guaranteed to be profitable in the first place. You have to find a lead, understand their needs, and match your service to what they are requesting…all with the hope that your price will be agreeable once it has been presented.
As a result, it is of paramount importance that professional painters have an action plan for earning repeat business from existing customers. Here are four things you can do to make sure previous customers are calling your paint company every time they need services:
1. Educate them on your offerings – Whether your customers are individuals or commercial clients, it is all too common for them to not know the full breadth of a service provider’s offerings. And the only person that is going to educate them is going to be you! Perhaps they think you are only an interior painter and don’t realize that you also paint exteriors. Maybe they identify your factory as being limited to painting automobiles and don’t realize you are equipped to paint furniture as well. Whether you tell them directly or make sure your marketing materials include all the details, it is critical that your clients know all of the different types of paintwork that you and your team can provide.
2. Offer something extra – Everyone loves a deal, and while discounting prices to try and seem competitive can be a mistake, offering an extra benefit to a returning customer can be a great way to say “thank you” and drum up new business for your paint company. Don’t be shy about contacting prior clients and offering them a discount or extra service if they have a need for professional paintwork. For example, painting four rooms for the price of three or including molding and trim painting at no extra cost can let the customer know you value their business and are eager to work with them again.
3. Suggest the work yourself – As a paint professional, you have an experienced eye when it comes to seeing things that might evade others. If you are visiting a client or finishing a job, it is entirely appropriate to point out other areas that might need to be painted in the near future. For example, “I don’t know if you had planned to have those trailers repainted anytime soon, but a fresh coat would no doubt protect them from any new rust occurring. Let me know your plans, as we would love to do the work and you already know the result would be excellent.” Some professionals are hesitant to approach customers in such a direct manner. However, if what you are offering to paint would indeed be a benefit to the customer, then you are doing them a disservice to keep your mouth shut.
4. Underpromise but overdeliver – This is an adage not unique to a paint company, but one surefire way to impress customers and earn future business from them is to exceed their expectations as often as possible. Be conservative in your estimates and then work hard to beat them. For example, if you tell the client a job will take four days, they will be pleasantly surprised and impressed when you finish in three. There are few things that create repeat business as much as a client looking over a finished job and declaring that it looks even better than they were anticipating.
The best way to earn repeat business in any profession is to be reliably excellent in the work you do. Most customers are interested in finding a trusted supplier of services and sticking with that person. Mechanics, lawyers, dentists…no one wants to try out a new provider every time they need a service. Painters are no different. By educating your customers about the services you provide and doing a great job for them, you should be able to count on plenty of repeat business coming your way. Click here to learn more business tips about growing your paint business!