When you meet with a customer for the first time, you’re setting the tone for the remainder of your client-contractor relationship. Although it’s cliche, it’s important to keep in mind that you only have one opportunity to make a first impression.
Showing that you respect the customer’s time will set you apart from the competition and show professionalism. Customers are used to being let down by contractors (there’s a stigma, and -- let’s be honest -- it exists for a reason), so don’t fulfill those expectations by being disrespectful and late. You’ll immediately start out on the right foot with the customer if you’re on time (or even a few minutes early) to your initial appointment.
Keeping your customer information organized makes a huge difference in making a great first impression. Before walking up to the front door, review the information you’ve already been given about the customer and the storm damage work they need done. This lets the customer know that you pay attention and aren’t going to waste time asking questions that you already have the answers to. A customer file in digital form through a construction management software can be particularly helpful for this and all future interactions with your customer. If you keep digital records and store them on the cloud, they’ll be available anywhere to you and the rest of your team.
True, an inspection isn’t a black tie affair, but you can bet that your customer will notice if you are not fairly well groomed. You should have a uniform of some sort that you wear to let customers know at a glance that you are actually with the company you say you’re with. This can be as simple as a hat, jacket, or polo with your logo embroidered on it. If you can afford a professional vehicle wrap, decal or magnet, then that will also go a long way in making your company look more professional.
This probably goes without saying, but is sometimes easy to overlook. Tell the customer your name and the name of your company. Make eye contact and smile while you do this. If your hands aren’t dirty or grimy, then you might even offer a handshake.
Know who you’re talking to
Confirm the customer’s name (from your customer file) and make sure to address them by their name in conversation. This shows respect and lets them know you’re paying attention.
Review with them
Review the details you already know about the project with the client. Listen closely to their questions and concerns, and ask follow-up questions as needed.
Get to the point
Let them know what to expect from their visit and what you need to do to complete the inspection. If you’d like them to do a walk through with you during any part of the inspection, let them know ahead of time. Also tell the customer about how long your inspection will take and that you will discuss the final bid with them once the inspection is completed.
Confirm and clarify
Before beginning, ask is they have any questions or if there’s anything else they’d like you to look at while you’re up there.
A positive (or negative) first impression will make a difference, so make sure you’re setting yourself up for sales success.