Working as a siding contractor has many benefits that make the job enjoyable. However, many siding contractors overlook the importance of communicating with the customer, and they end up making serious mistakes time and time again in their approach to clients. What may seem like a minor faux pas can actually cost siding contractors hundreds of thousands of dollars down the line! In essence, these little mistakes can result in lost projects, unhappy clients, and bad reviews, which can all affect a siding contractor’s business.
In theory, the process shouldn’t be too complicated: Homeowners need new siding and siding contractors help them. In reality, the art of closing a deal with homeowners and builders actually has a lot of elements at play. These seven mistakes are so common that most siding contractors don’t even have a clue that they’re doing them over and over again!
The good news is that once a siding contractor becomes aware of these mistakes, they’re all fairly easy to fix with a little extra effort and attention.
1. Talking Too Much and Tuning the Customer Out
Sure, making a sale often involves a pitch, which means that the siding contractor needs to be able to tell the customer about what they can offer. However, talking too much can quickly cause you to lose your audience, and this can happen in a number of ways. Talking too fast may confuse customers, while talking too long can cause customers to become bored and disengaged with the topic. On the other hand, many customers may feel like they aren’t valued or important without having some level of participation in the conversation.
Listening to the customer and involving them in the conversation is so essential to the project because it provides an opportunity for you to establish a working relationship. By listening to their interests, priorities, and concerns, you can have a better understanding of what they need to be comfortable and complete the project successfully.
2. Making Assumptions Instead of Asking Questions
Naturally, listening to the customer is also vital to understanding the unique goals of the project. After all, not all customers — and not all siding projects — are the same! Some may be focused on aesthetics, while others prioritize cost savings. Still, others may need the siding installed in a certain time frame. Never assume that one of these elements is the customer’s priority. Instead, ask questions to help clarify what the customer’s precise goals are for the siding installation.
3. Not Knowing Product Details
So much about the service industry is building trust. In many cases, contractors build trust with clients by showing their expertise on the products that are available. That’s why being unfamiliar with certain siding products or installation techniques is a major mistake.
Even if you don’t specialize in a certain siding material, you should always be familiar with the options, styles, and techniques that are available so that you can give an honest opinion about products when customers ask. And if you’re unsure about technical aspects, let the customer know that you will find the answer for them and follow up as soon as you do. This level of knowledge and commitment to the industry is what strengthens a customer’s trust in your expertise.
4. Staying Stubborn Instead of Adapting to the Customer’s Needs
Many siding contractors develop a specialty over time, such as fiber cement installation or assistance with cost calculations. However, never let your idea of the project get in the way of the customer’s expectations for the project. For example, even if you truly believe that a certain siding product is the best for the architectural features on a customer’s home, they may be more concerned with cost savings than style.
Always listen to the customer’s goals for the project and then adapt your selling approach to those targets. This customized attention can stop your siding pitch from sounding robotic and rehearsed, and it lets the customer know that you’re putting their needs first and adapting to their priorities.
5. Waiting By the Phone Instead of Following Up
Customers have tons of options when it comes to selecting a siding contractor, so there is no guarantee that your first conversation has sealed the deal. Instead of waiting for the customer to contact you, always follow up proactively. This lets the customer know that you’re serious and dedicated to the job.
The way in which you follow up may vary, depending on how your conversation ended. If the customer seemed hesitant about certain products, consider following up with a more extensive catalog or gallery of similar products. On the other hand, if the customer seemed ready to get the project going, follow up with an official contract and ask what else they may need before the project kicks off.
6. Not Creating a Clear Timeline and Trajectory
Not creating a clear timeline for the project is a massive mistake that often costs contractors time and money. Not only do you need to agree on a timeline for the siding installation, but you need to be explicit with the next steps needed from the customer to get the project going.
Whether that means signing the contract, setting a date to visit the building site, or submitting a deposit, be clear and forthcoming about what is needed and when. Clients are busy! The easier you can make it for them, the easier it will be for you to coordinate and complete the siding project without any delays.
7. Creating Too Much Pressure
Finally, resist the urge to pressure potential clients into signing a contract or selecting a certain siding product. Gentle encouragement can be helpful, but excessive pressure can generate anxiety and uncertainty about the siding project — which is the last thing you want to do! Excessive pressure can also jeopardize your credibility as a siding contractor, as it may cause customers to question why you’re so desperate for the job. The best way to close the deal is to be both persistent and patient, so that customers feel confident in their decision to hire you.
By correcting these seven common sales mistakes, siding contractors can expect to enjoy much more success with their approach to projects.