It’s no secret that the trade industry has undergone a large number of very rapid changes over the past few months, from trades of all kinds being entirely run remotely, to strict social distancing rules affecting every worksite across the country.
Regardless of the different circumstances we find ourselves in, one factor stands above all else as crucial for the continued livelihood of our trade industry – future business success.
Not success in terms of whether tradies are still able to work after the crisis, as many have continued to do so throughout. But rather if there will still be enough work for them to do when this is all over and more importantly, whether the sector itself will begin to grow again after this worldwide event.
Where a traditional economic crisis brings with it a certain degree of lost consumer confidence, Coronavirus has, without a doubt, given further rise to fears about spending money on projects – fears that will have real impacts for everyone working a trade today. This is why the key to business success in any trade industry is reliant on looking at how we operate every day and focusing on what customers want and need from our businesses.
Here are a few tips to get you on the right track:
Re-evaluate how customers are spending their money in your industry
One of the keys to business success post-COVID-19 begins by understanding that no tradesperson can just assume that their business will continue as usual. While there may be a rush on essential trade services once we return to normality, this does not mean there won’t be a second wave of lost consumer confidence incoming.
As people tighten their belts against a souring economy, they’ll no doubt begin to convince themselves that they can wait another month to get a tradesperson out and this could have a disastrous effect on professionals in any industry.
This is why it’s important to sit down and think carefully about where your business stands in your market, and what makes it essential to people’s everyday lives. By focusing in on what people need most post-COVID-19, you can ensure that they come to you first.
Now re-define what your service means to your customers
Leading on from our first point, a great way to increase business success during tough times is to look at what your customers rely on in your service. You’ll quickly discover that there are a number of key reasons why they transact with your business initially and why they return as a repeat customer. Repeat customers are obviously very important, so use this as an opportunity to also consider customer retention and how you offer repeat customers additional value for their continued loyalty. According to current research, increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can lead to profit increases of anywhere from 25% to 95% depending on your industry, which can have a massive impact on your business success in the long run.
Tough economic times mean fighting for every new customer that comes along and the safest bet for your business success is to make sure that as new customers find you, they see the best that your business has to offer right away.
Achieving this is actually a lot easier than you’d think. One strategy we firmly believe in is to ensure you promptly respond to and follow up on every potential opportunity. This approach will instil a level of confidence in your targeted customer and positively impact their overall decision-making process, as they see that you’re making an extra effort to engage with them personally right from the get-go.
Next, re-design the systems you use to quote and capture customers
This point has a double meaning, as it refers to both the physical, as well as the interpersonal methods you use to bring in work.
- Physical systems concern whether you can quote and accept work from clients remotely, as social distancing may still be necessary even after some lockdown laws are lifted.
- Interpersonal systems concern whether you’re up to date with the latest COVID info and can assure your customers that both you and your employees have their health and safety at the top of your priority list.
Unfortunately, the days of handshake deals and in-person quotes may not return for some time. So, having a solid look at how you can quote on jobs and sell customers on your service via distance is a must for business success now and into the future.
Re-develop your methods of keeping new and existing customers based on the changes you’ve already made
Retaining customers is just as crucial for business success as bringing in new ones.
However, when making broad adjustments to the way you operate, you can’t just assume that existing customers will clue into what you’re doing and accept your changes without some resistance.
The key to operating a successful trade business has always been winning long-term customers who repeatedly call you first because they know exactly what they’re getting from your service.
Which is why if you’ve implemented any of the changes we’ve listed above, your clients need to know about what you’ve done and that it was done with their best interests in mind.
And jumping on this now can actually help win you more customers in the long run.
As other businesses scramble to put their post-COVID19 plans in place, buyers will look to you confidently as they see you’re already out of the gates and a good distance ahead of your competition in this regard.
Lastly, re-discuss changes with your team to ensure business-wide buy-in
As we’ve already mentioned multiple times so far, the key to business success in troubling times is restoring confidence in customers by providing a stable service that they can depend on.
The more confident and clearly lead by post-COVID-19 business strategies your team is, the more confident your customers will feel working with you.
If customers can actively see that you and your team making the best of the bad times and thriving, they’ll feel more comfortable transacting with you, and your business success will grow as a result.
Above all else, remember that whether we like it or not, change has arrived at our doorstep and the true key to future business success is to ensure that as times change, we change with them.
Looking for more ways to grow your business success and adapt to change effectively? Check out another one of our articles on bringing more customers into your business with easy to apply marketing tactics here.