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Six Steps to Develop Loyal Customers!

George Hedley

The ultimate goal for contractors is to find customers who will only get proposals and bids from your company, won’t shop your price, award you negotiated contracts and give you work based on your trusted relationship with them. Loyal customers want to give you contract after contract at your price. To make this happen takes a step-by-step plan. With so much competition, there are lots of quality choices for customers to choose from. So why should they only hire your company?

Customer Loyalty Requires Time and Commitment!

Remember when you were first dating? To get to know the other person, you spent lots of time talking, having fun and doing things together. Afterwards, you would call and talk for hours, send flowers and keep in touch on a regular basis. Building relationships take commitment, time and constant contact. When you don’t see each other or stay in touch, the relationship withers away and vanishes over time.

Building loyal customer relationships works the same way. Think of it as dating. Without phone calls, gifts, thank-you cards or time together, there is no long-term ongoing relationship. The memory of doing an excellent job is quickly forgotten when competitors continue to offer more than you provided at a lower price. The best loyal customer relationships are built over time in what I call relationship building sessions. These are times together with customers having fun, eating meals, attending ballgames, playing golf or doing something enjoyable together. This is how you date customers to build loyalty, not by just being a great contractor.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Get!

Customers want to do business with people they trust and know. Customers build trust with contractors by first receiving an impression or referral of the contractor’s reputation. Next, the contractor is low bid and does a good job. And more importantly, has a chance to get to know them better in a personal way. This opens the door to a second date if the contractor is persistent, follows-up and actually asks for the next date. This is where most contractors fail. They never ask for another date and hope their good work will get them another chance at the dance. Just like dating!

Look at your calendar, marketing plan or sales program. Do you follow-up with potential loyal customers? Do you make them a priority and try to see them at least every three months? Are you persistent or do you give up after one try? Do you take time to invite customers to lunch or a ballgame? How much time do you spend dating your customers to build trusted relationships and loyalty? Once you realize you’re in the relationship building business and make written plans to date customers on a regular basis, your company will grow and make more money doing business with loyal customers who want to only hire you.

Once you realize you’re in the relationship building business and make written plans to date customers on a regular basis, your company will grow and make more money doing business with loyal customers who want to only hire you.

6 Steps to Build Loyal Customer Relationships

1. Make Customers Your #1 Priority!

Spend at least 33 percent of your time with customers in face-to-face relationship building sessions. This includes meals, sporting events, industry meetings and sitting on boards of community organizations. Put customer time into your calendar. Make it a priority. The only way to build customer relationships is in a relaxed setting where you can really get to know the person.

2. Help Customers!

People want to help those who help them. Look for ways to help your customers make more money. Before you meet, try to identify how you can help them be successful. Come prepared to share a business tip or trick that will help their bottom line. Send articles and other important information to help your customers make a profit at least four times a year. When you send things to help your customers, you reinforce your relationship with them.

3. Constant Customer Contact!

Think how you cultivate personal relationships and build true friendships. Trusting relationships are built over time with lots of one-on-one contact, conversations, experiences and fun. In business you get distracted with constant pressure of getting projects built. It isn’t natural to take time required to build deep customer relationships.

Put customer relationships first by tracking business relationship time. Make a list of all your customers from the last three years. Put them in categories: loyal customers, repeat customers, old customers, new target customers and referring parties. Next, rank them on their potential to become loyal. List them in order and make sure you spend more time with the highest ranked customers.

4. Spend Time with Top Customers!

You now know where to concentrate your customer relationship time and which customers are your top priorities. Keep track every time you meet with customers and make a commitment to see them at least every two to three months. Don’t forget, your goal is to convert potential customers into new and then repeat customers, and repeat customers into loyal customers who only use your company.

5. Be in the Right Place at the Right Time!

Lucky people seem to always be in the right place at the right time. By making customer relationship time a priority, you’ll land jobs just because you made it easy for customers to ask you questions and advice on projects they are currently working on before they go out to bid.

6. Show You Care!

The number one reason customers stop working with companies is an attitude of indifference. Customers want to know you care about them, their business, challenges and them as people. Keep personal files on each of your customers. Track their family, schools, hobbies, goals, vacations, activities and major life events. Before you meet, refer to it and then ask them questions about their personal life. This caring attitude will set you apart and solidify your relationships.


George Hedley, CSP, CPBC, is a certified professional construction BIZCOACH and popular industry speaker. He helps contractors grow, make more profit, build management teams, improve field productivity, and get their businesses to work for them. Visit www.hardhatpresentations.com for more information.