Written by Ari Greenbaum, co-founder of conXpros
I have worked with home improvement companies for close to 15 years. The number of contractors that forget the importance a first impression has on their ability to win more jobs, never ceases to amaze me. Whether it is the way they answer the phone, the email address they use, or the choice of attire, often contractors drastically reduce their chances of success. Although you may feel professional, if you do not look professional, your customers may be judging you unfavorably. In business, often judgements of the book are made by the cover.
Making a positive first impression is paramount. The good news; it is very easy to impress a potential customer. Here are 5 tips that you can immediately apply to your business (if not already doing them) that can be game changers!!
1. Get a professional email address
- Get a custom email account: There are many services that offer a custom email account for a small monthly fee (as low as $5 per month). These services allow you to create an email with a domain that is for your specific company. You will need to already have a url for your company, but this is the most professional way to represent yourself and your business electronically. You will be able to set up one or many email addresses with a name and your domain. For example, firstname.lastname@example.org. I
have found the Google product of G Suite the most effective and simple, but there are other options out there as well.
- Create an email address with your company name: This can be done with any email service (G Mail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc). Simply create an email that uses your company name. Sometimes this may be difficult as names may already be taken by other users. Make minor changes in an attempt to get an email that makes sense. For example, if your company is ABC Roofing, Inc., getting email@example.com may be challenging. Try abc_roofing@ or abcroofinginc@ or other close variations that will accurately represent your company name.
2. Your personal number should only be personal
Every business should have a dedicated phone line for business only!!! We live in a time where technology makes this so simple. There are many phone services that offer a business line which can be utilized from any mobile device. Some even have extra features such as virtual receptionists (IVR), call recording, etc. There are many affordable options such as Vonage Business, Grasshopper, Ring Central and others that allow you to create a business phone line and have it active within minutes. Vonage and Ring Central are suitable for companies of any size, while Grasshopper is best suited for an owner/operator situation. Prices can vary from $35 per month and up based on your needs, but it is an investment worth making. This solves the problem of making a terrible first impression by answering a business call like you do with friends and family. Additionally, you can more easily separate your personal from your business life (something many business owners should do).
3. Answer your phone like a business should
Now that you have a dedicated business line, you must answer your calls like a business. I call contractors regularly that answer their phone with “hello” like they would with a friend. Sometimes this is the result of poor business phone etiquette. Other times it is the result of having one single phone
number (on their mobile device) that is used for both personal and business dealings. It would be virtually impossible to know that it is a business call coming in to vary your greeting from the way you would with a friend, you don’t have a crystal ball. We have already addressed the single phone number issue above. However just having a dedicated line is not the complete solution. If it is a business line, a caller should know that as soon as you pick up their call. Here are some simple suggestions, but you can put your own spin on it as long as the goal of a professional greeting is kept in focus:
- “This is Ari from ABC Roofing. How can I help you?”
- “Hi, this is Ari from ABC Roofing.”
- “ABC Roofing, how can I help you?”
4. Record a professional voicemail greeting
Calling a business and receiving the generic computerized greeting can easily hurt your image in the mind of the caller. Even having a personalized voicemail greeting such as “this is Ari, leave me a message”, misses the opportunity to make a good and lasting impression. Here is a basic and simple suggestion that you can use to update your greeting to callers for your business voicemail:
“Hi, you’ve reached ABC Roofing. Sorry we can’t take your call right now, please leave a message with your name and phone number, and we’ll return your call as soon as possible. Have a great day.”
This seems so simple, but it is missed by many companies and business owners every day.
5. Dress for success
When we were in the process of opening our office here in Roswell, GA we had 2 different electricians come to give us quotes for work we needed done. One showed up in a plain polo shirt (no logo for the company he was from) and slacks, and the other with a company issued uniform. Who do you think we hired? Even though the second company’s quote was higher than the other, we felt more confident that they were a professional company that we could rely on. Funny thing is that the first guy was referred to me from the supplier of our office furniture, and the one we chose was found on our own. Your customers are no different than we are, they also judge you by your appearance of professionalism. Gear up for success!!! There are many options to create and order company branded shirts, hats, jackets, etc. They are not very expensive impression a proper uniform gives your customers is worth the price alone.
You likely can keep it local and find a company that offers these services, here are some online options where you can get custom gear made with ease: Custom Ink, Logo Software, and Rush Order Tees. There are many others, shop around and find one that works for your needs. Regardless of where you get the gear, GEAR UP!!