5 Ways to Distinguish Your Contracting Business from Your Competitors
If you are one of the many contractors in your area who are competing for the same type of work, then you know that marketing and promoting your business as well as practicing professional and ethical practices are paramount to its success. Is your business a startup? Then you’ve got a long way to go to establish both your credibility and your company’s reputation. If, however, you are well established, you know that there is never a time when you can let your guard down. About the time you get comfortable, some up-and-coming hot shot will devise a clever scheme to pull your existing clientele away, thus, draining your revenue. One of the main factors to your success is setting yourself apart from the pack. If you’re willing to do things that no one else is doing and create your own path you will find unexpected success while accelerating your business growth and expanding your market.
- Stop Competing
Ever notice how people who compete are always looking at what someone else is doing? They’re waiting for the competition to make the next move, so that they can take someone else’s idea and leapfrog it. Competitors rely on one another. They are, in essence, co-dependent. The problem is that they never really distinguish themselves. Companies become carbon copies of other companies who, in turn, fall in line behind the true innovators. Those innovators knew long ago what the secret was to leading the pack. Stop competing and go your own way. Create your own world and your own identity. Don’t worry; you’ll have lots of clients and even more followers.
Questions to think about:
- What is your brand? Is it instantly recognizable or does it look too much like every other brand?
- What are you doing for your customers that no one else is doing?
- What does your business model look like?
- What is the unique long-term vision you have for your company?
- If a potential client asked any of your crew members how your contracting business is different from any other would they provide a canned response or would they be able to give a unique answer?
- Become Flawless in Your Customer Service
Impeccable customer service not only gains more clients, but it also creates loyalty from current clients. So here’s a quick no BS list of things you should be doing right now:
- Train your crew to be responsive, courteous, and respectful to clients on-site.
- Don’t waste time with a client. Always be prepared before every single interaction.
- Follow up on every phone call in a timely manner.
- Communicate everything clearly and consistently.
- If it’s within your power, meet all deadlines. Do not set a deadline that you know you can’t guarantee.
- Admit and correct mistakes as quickly as possible.
- Always smile and be courteous even if your client is not.
- Learn the art of interaction on the phone, via email, text, and face to face.
- Never ever be late to an appointment. If you are late call ahead and do not provide an excuse. The client could care less about excuses.
- Wherever you think the expectation is in customer service, always go one step further.
- Leave a positive last impression. There are a million ways to do this.
- Keep Your Eye On the Horizon
In every industry there are trends. Trends can be in the form of technology, best practices, styles and designs, new products – the list goes on. In every trend there are at least three types of business owners:
- Those who follow trends. They’re always late to the party. By the time they even hear about a trend in any category, it’s already old news. They’re getting the scraps.
- Those who stay on top of trends. They’re early to the party, they already knew about the details, and they knew what to wear. They stay on top of trends, read magazines, find new resources, and keep their nose in the market. Their head’s in the game and above the water; yet, they may not find the success they’re truly looking for, although they’re on the right track.
- Those who create trends. They’re hosting the party and inviting all of their friends. They’re innovators. They’re always asking, “What if?” They’re never content with the status quo. They’re leading the pack. They’re getting the lion’s share of the market and the revenue. They rarely have to worry about job security.
At this point in your business, which one are you?
- Strengthen Your Online Presence
In the year 2017, if you don’t have a strong online presence, then you don’t exist. Period. Here’s a quick test: Go to Google and type in your company’s service and the city. Where is your company ranked? If it’s not at least on the first page (if not the top five), then you may need to review your marketing. Here’s a 2017 digital marketing guide for contractors.
As the owner of your business, at least educate yourself on the basics of web content (text, written words). Even if you’re not the one running your website, you need to know why it’s not doing as well online as it should and understand what it would take to reach more visitors.
- Become the Authority in Your Niche
Being the go-to person for all things contracting can seriously boost your market and have clients waiting in line to receive your services. Being the authority in your niche doesn’t mean you know everything. It means that you can provide information from a wide range of credible sources and then make it readily available online for those who are searching. A good place to start is by blogging. If you’re not good at blogging, then hire a ghostwriter who is good at research to blog for you. Another effective way to do this is to start making instructional “how to” videos or other informational videos. In the Millennial age, media (photos, videos, audio, etc.) is the number one way to reach your audience and grow you market. If you want to go face to face with your clients then partner with a local home improvement store to hold workshops on the weekends. This way, your audience can see you in action.
How does being the authority benefit you?
- Your company website (or social media page) is now an informational hub where people visit regularly to get answers.
- You are now the leading information provider, i.e., authority, in your field (even if you have to fake it ’til you make it).
- You have established uncontested and unquestionable credibility.
- You now own your market. Your visibility turns you and your company into a household name.