The Golden Rule of Business Success: Know Your Customers

Getting to know your customers is key to earning their business and their positive reviews....

Getting to know your customers is key to earning their business and their positive reviews. Whether you’re giving an estimate on foundation repair or chimney sweeping, these are the things you should know with each and every project you take on.

Whatever services you offer, the most surefire way to be successful in selling it is to have a clear understanding of what your customers are looking for. That doesn’t just mean what service, qualifications, or even price, though. Customers are looking to hire contractors that really understand what they’re looking for, how they’re thinking, and (put simply) who they are.

That may sound easy at first but really grasping who your customers are and what they’re thinking when you’re trying to sell your services can be a huge step-up on the competition. In fact, some established sales professionals insist that knowing your customer is the “Golden Rule of Selling”. Unfortunately, it’s also a huge challenge if you don’t know the right points to focus on when you’re first speaking with your prospective customers. That's why we’ve put together a quick overview of the things you should always know about the homeowners you’re giving an estimate to.

Know the Project


An obvious and obviously important point, get in-depth when you're talking about the project that you’re going to be performing. While knowing what job a customer is looking to have done, what materials they’re looking for, and what time frame they’re looking to have it done in is absolutely key, that’s not all there is when it comes to knowing the project.

During your conversations with the customer try to get a feel for how they feel about the work and tailor your responses to that mindset. If they’re bored with their old paint job, play up how exciting and customizable their options are when they hire you to do their interior painting. If they’re stressed and frustrated that they have to pay money for a broken furnace, be reassuring and understanding and focus on how quickly and conveniently you can get the problem solved. And while you’re at it, get to...

Know the People


After a few years of working in this industry, it’s easy to go into an estimate thinking of the homeowner you’re speaking with only as a lead that you’re trying to turn into a job. But getting to know the person you’re speaking with not only makes you more likely to get hired but also helps you better determine if the job is worth taking on.

Basic demographic information like the name, work, and family details of your prospective customer are great touchstones to call upon in future conversations that make you appear more caring and involved than nearly all of your competition. Better still, they naturally open the conversation to learning more about how many other contractors the homeowner has spoken to, what they thought of those they did talk to, and what they say their budget is versus what their actual available budget is.

These details considered together help to provide a wealth of information which would otherwise stay unknown and could end up losing you the job without knowing why. Keep in mind, however, to avoid posing these questions like they’re part of some survey in your head. Slip them naturally into your conversations with the homeowner and do your best to guess what isn’t provided.

Know the Postgame


We’ve mentioned before how a well performed service can serve as a perfect launchpad for future business. What you might not know is that customers are far more likely to share negative stories about companies than they are to share positive ones. With that in mind, getting a read on how the customer is feeling about you and your work at all stages of the project is the best possible way to help keep your negative reviews to a minimum while giving you a closer connection from which to ask for positive ones.

If you get a sense that your customer isn’t satisfied with your estimate, your work routines, or your finished result, make time to speak directly to them about how they’re feeling about the work and how you could make the project even better for them. Even showing this level of attentiveness and care is enough to defend your company’s reputation and earn you positive reviews and referrals in the future.