By now you will probably appreciate that pretty much all the questions you must answer have to be answered honestly; but they should also lead to some introspection. If you do that, it will improve the overall performance of your business.
These are all tough questions, and it is a rare business that can tick all the boxes. I am not suggesting otherwise. But that is what we all should be striving for; to tick all the boxes.
Later we will recap and discuss how you can remedy the situation if you find yourself falling short on any area.
Very few people will take the trouble to call your suppliers and tradespeople but this can be the one question that can make all the difference. If you manage this part of the process properly, and address it in a pro-active way, you immediately separate yourself from the pack. Most of your competitors will be only too happy to let the issue slide.
Don’t leave it to chance and impression.
Customers will make assumptions about your business based what they can observe. You can’t always control the assumptions they make. If the business seems large, for instance, they will usually feel more confident that it will have the resources and management skills to properly produce a quality outcome, but they could also just as easily assume that you are too large, and that they will simply be the meat in a sausage factory.
A tiny business on the other hand may leave them feeling disconcerted, worried you may not be up to the task.
They won’t even tell you it was the kiss of death, they will simply stop returning your calls.
You must manage your business image in a pro-active manner – don’t let people make random assumptions about you.
Did I mention management skills? Yes? That is what this is all about. Customers want to feel secure in the knowledge that they are dealing with a competent and reputable business.
Consider for a moment the home building market, and what confronts a customer when they are considering their options.
Most people don’t have anybody they can trust to build their home. They are forced to rely on any readily available information and customer reviews.
For many of builders, this equates to nothing … zilch … nada. They don’t have any customer reviews. There are no testimonials. Sometimes, even though they have been active in the building industry for decades, they don’t actually have any verified customers, because they have spent that time working for somebody else, servicing someone else’s customers.
Today, customers can readily access a lot of information about a builder, and often do.
Houston, We Have a Problem
Well, not you, the market. Even if all the above applies to you, be thankful that you now still have an advantage that your competitors don’t have. You at least now know, and understand, that there is a gap in the information customers can access about you.
This knowledge puts you in a position where you can do something about it. By pro-actively providing information about yourself, and addressing these questions in a manageable way, you not only fix the gap, but give yourself an edge against your competition.
Here’s how you do it:
Collect Supplier & Trades Testimonials.
The best indicator that a builder possesses good management skills is that they are able to consistently pay their bills on time. Tradesmen who get paid on time are always full of praise for the builders they work for. So, if you are paying your bills on time, go and talk to your tradespeople and suppliers.
Be sure to visit them on-site, or at their place of business, pop out your trusty phone camera, and tell them you are doing a tradesman/supplier survey and ask if they would mind if you tape a short survey. Then ask a short series of questions:
- How long they have been in the trade?
- In the case of a supplier; what does their business do and how long have they been doing it?
- What are the issues that irk them about working in the trade?
- How do they tell whether a builder is a good builder or a bad one?
- How you fit into that scheme of things in their view?
Be sure to ask your question clearly and then let them talk without interruption. If you get a large enough sample, you will have footage covering a broad range of issues, because different issues are important to different people Each issue is a snippet you can use in your testimonial video.
Then, on camera, ask them if they would mind if you used their image for marketing and promotional purposes.
That’s it, as simple as that.
You now have some useful raw footage of Trade and Supplier Interviews. All you need is some video editing software, there are hundreds of free ones out there. Ask your baby sister to help if you must.
How to Use That Footage
Because the questions are designed to elicit responses that go to the heart of what makes a good builder – quality work. you should be able to construct a narrative that goes something like this:
“It is difficult in this business when
… the plans are wrong …
… the wrong stuff is ordered …
… the builder didn’t get the right info from the client …
… you don’t get paid on time … etc. etc. etc….”
“I find that ‘joe blogs’ …
… is well organised …
… always double checks everything …
… has good people working with him …
… visits the site regularly and often … etc. etc.”
as result …
” there is no wasted downtime …
… You don’t have to redo things all the time … etc. etc. etc. …”
It should by now be obvious how you use the material. You select and edit them into a sequence that confirms a narrative; that you are an efficient and organised professional well respected by your trades and suppliers alike.
What Is A Good Builder?
Builders achieve quality finishes by extracting the best from their tradespeople and suppliers, who in turn are motivated to do so because the job is being managed efficiently, and they are being paid on time.
It is hard to find proper builder-tradesman testimonials online but the one below gives an idea of the kind of thing we are talking about.
You probably won’t end up with as slick a production, but that can be a good thing.
Here’s what you are aiming for:
You start by explaining how your prospective customer can tell if a builder is competent and capable of producing a quality result. You set the framework, by explaining how to tell a good builder from a bad builder. Then you proceed to demonstrate using the footage you collected that you are precisely that kind of builder by providing:
- Evidence of their ability to manage a job efficiently
- Evidence of their ability to attract and keep good tradesmen/suppliers without any irksome elements in the relationship. – motivates tradesmen/suppliers to produce the best outcomes possible
- Evidence of their capacity to pay tradesmen/suppliers on time.
You can do these using captions – or text; you can use narration over images of your work; or you can use footage of yourself narrating the introduction.
The you set up a sequence of bite sized video quotes of your suppliers telling prospective customers how you fit that profile.
Paste this prominently on your website, and you will find that it easily ticks the box for this seldom asked question. It is a question that should be asked and answered.
The next question to answer is;
If I build with you, what guarantee do I have that you will deliver, and won’t take advantage of my trust?