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How to get customers to trust you

Building Profits Through Customer’s Trust

Do your customers trust you?  I’m willing to bet that you have some customers that trust you highly, and others that don’t.

I know this is the case with my handyman business.  Some of my customers have told me they can’t wait to recommend me to their friends and hire me for future jobs.  Others, I can see it in their eyes that I’m just another contractor trying rip them off.  You can’t please everybody, but I know I could have made a stronger effort in some cases.

The real question is, what did I do differently to make some customers trust me?

In this post, I’ll discuss why your customers’ trust should be at the heart of your business plan.  I’ll then share a few tips on how you can easily gain and keep the trust of your customers’.  By doing a few small things, you can really separate yourself from other handymen.

The benefits of Trust

When you have gained the trust of a homeowner, it opens so many doors for you.  Not only can you plan on return business, but they will recommend you to friends and family.  When there is an issue with their home, even if they know you don’t handle that kind of issue, they will call you first.  This is huge.  You are basically their go to person for any home improvement or repair.  They have so much trust in you that they know you will lead them in the right direction.

Trust will also bring customer loyalty.  Even if they know they can get something done cheaper, faster, or easier with someone else, they will still choose you.  You no longer have to join the the price wars with your competitors, because there was no contest to begin with.  You’ve got their loyalty, but not before you’ve gained their trust.

Another great benefit of having your customers’ trust is that they are less likely to question your price.  Since you have already done jobs for them, given them a reasonable price, and delivered a quality product, they have no reason to think you will do otherwise this time around.  Therefore, the sale is already made and now you just need to get to work.  Nice.

6 Easy Ways to Gain a Customer’s Trust

There are literally hundreds of ways that you can build trust with a customer, but I’m going to focus on some easy, somewhat obvious, and effective ways with this list.  As easy and obvious as they are, you’d be surprised at how many people fail miserably at them.  A little effort in this area will go a long way.

  1. Be established.  By this I mean get a uniform, have a website, get vinyl decals on your truck, have business cards, and just look like a professional.  People will think you’ve been around for a while and you will gain trust immediately.  This is super important when just started out.
  2. Explain yourself.  When you provide a quote, make sure and tell them exactly how and why you will do what you do.  Go through the major steps and explain the materials needed and potential issues.  As you do this, the customer may not even follow half of what you say.  That’s ok, because you’ve just accomplished 2 things.  You’ve shown that you know what your doing and justified the quote you provided.  When you quote a drywall fix and the customer realizes that there is much more to it than slapping one layer of mud and then painting it, they be less likely to question the price and your trustworthiness.
  3. Bill what you quoted.  I guarantee you will under bid several jobs.  We all do it and it sucks when we do.  When this happens to me, I tend to find myself figuring out ways to charge more than I quoted or cut corners to make it worth my time.  However much you want to do this, DON’T.  If you want your customers’ trust, bill them what you quoted and not a dime more and keep your quality standards.  I’ve actually had 4 customers pay me more than I billed them because they thought it was too cheap!  It was, but I guarantee I have their trust.
  4. Be on time.  If you say you’re going to be at their house at 9 am, be there at 9 am.  If you show up at 9:15, you’ve already taken a step in the wrong direction.  You’ve already failed to follow through once, now how are they suppose to believe anything else you say?  Be on time, it’s too easy not to.  If you can’t be on time, give them a window of time when you expect to arrive.
  5. Call them by name.  I have to admit that I’m terrible at this one.  I can forget a name before the person even finishes telling it to me.  When I do actually remember a name, I make sure to use it, however.  It makes the customer feel more important when you call them by name.  It shows that you care (even if you don’t), and they aren’t just an avenue for you to get more money.
  6. Listen.  Here’s another one that I need to work on.  It’s alway’s a good idea to impart your knowledge on your customers to show you know what you’re doing, but make sure and listen to what they have to say first.  They need to feel like they can effectively communicate with you without being cut off or ignored.  If they are telling you a story about their life, ask questions opposed to talking about yourself.  People love to talk about themselves.  Take this opportunity to really listen and build a little trust.
This list of trust builders may seem obvious to you and maybe you think you are already doing them, but most of us can improve on at least one of these items.  I recommend consciously going through them before you interact with your next customer and then evaluating the situation after.  How did the customer respond?  What could you have done better with the next one?
Putting in the effort to refine our sales skills as handymen is a must.  Not only do we need to be handy with home maintenance and repairs, we need to be able to sell our services.  Luckily the competition is pretty weak in this area.  Another opportunity to dominate!
So, do you have any unique ways of gaining trust?  If so, please tell me about it by leaving a comment below.  Or, if this article helped you in any way, I’d like to hear about it.
Thanks for reading!
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  • Miguel December 16, 2013

    Dan, this has got to be one of your better posts. I’m a bit surprised you don’t have more comments. What you’ve outlined here is true business gold.

    I tend to automatically not trust businesses/people who want to sell me something or offer me a service. However, if they ever gain my trust then I’ll stay quite loyal.

    If we want to consistently earn $60-$70 per hour we have no choice but to gain and retain a customer’s trust.

    • Dan Perry December 17, 2013

      Thanks Miguel! And you are absolutely right, if you want to charge a premium, trust is just so critical.

  • Phil November 22, 2015

    I like to have people tell me what they want to accomplish, write it down, listen to their concerns, and then look at the project. Explain solutions to what they want, and show them them the price for everything you can do for them. You can always make the job smaller, if needed.

  • Richard Barnes January 26, 2016

    Dan, Great article on building customer trust. I have one more item to add. Always be honest with yourself and with your customer. If you can”t do the job let the customer know.

    • Mo'Mann October 3, 2016

      Richard is correct, it’s important, to be honest about your abilities / inabilities. My worst nightmare is to lose a client due to knowingly getting in over my head. Most of our clients appreciate us knowing our limits. Honesty is a trust builder.