THE MAGAZINE FOR PROFESSIONALS

3 Tips for finding new customers

Sherwin-Williams

Compass direction customerNew customers are critical to building your business, but what is the best way to go about finding them? According to one Sherwin-Williams survey of more than 1,700 homeowners, the key is to seek out the places where customers are actually looking for you. So, how do you that? The survey helped answer three critical questions contractors often have about marketing their business, and these insights could help any paint pro start building new customer relationships today.

Q: Where are my customers looking for me?  

A: 72% of homeowners said personal referrals and prior experience helped them find a professional painter. 51% talked to a friend, family member or neighbor before making a decision; 21% cited a previous experience with a painter. Surprisingly, online methods garnered very few mentions. It still seems that personal connections make all the difference when choosing a paint pro.

A contractor can acquire personal referrals in many ways. A post-job walkthrough is one effective approach. This face time allows for feedback, discussion about the overall work, and dedicated time to connect with the client outside of a normal business day. Walkthroughs also demonstrate your care and consideration for the job and the client’s satisfaction. Homeowners trust personal references above all else, so emphasize the power of word-of-mouth marketing by providing top-notch service on each and every job.

Q: What other ways can I build referrals to drive more business?  

A: The survey also noted that 14% of homeowners found their painter through another contractor, and 7% hired a painter referred by their local paint store.

Consider working with other contractors to help grow your new client base. Determine the area of expertise that makes you stand out from the crowd. Once you’ve identified your niche, build relationships with other contractors who focus on different specialties. Work together, serving as subcontractors to one another to bring in business that might otherwise go elsewhere.

Maintain relationships with other related, local businesses in fields like home design, flooring and furnishings. Interior designers can provide an avenue to assist customers in selecting colors and help you gain new clients. Tap into designers’ networks to further leverage the referrals for new business. Membership organizations, such as a golf club or homeowners’ association, can also lead to residential business.

Q: Can digital marketing help?

A:  Survey findings show that personal referrals and prior experience far outweigh online presence and social media when it comes to seeking out a quality paint professional.

However, when it comes to digital marketing, of the homeowners who do use contractor review sites, 61% turned to Angie’s List and 21% visited the Better Business Bureau. Of all the contractor hiring sites, HomeAdvisor (formerly ServiceMagic) was the most popular at 44%.

Should you abandon social media and online activity altogether? Absolutely not. Being active on social media will help customers keep you top of mind. They can also learn about your views about quality application and customer service. Consider using blogs to share your expertise, insights on painting trends, best practices, new product details and case studies. We recommend staying active on sites like: Houzz, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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