Does your construction business pride itself on word of mouth to get new business?
Perhaps you think that because you’re offering a great quality service or products, and making sure your customers are always delighted at the end of the day, that your work will speak for for itself -and of course, to an extent that’s true.
Don’t get me wrong – word of mouth is amazing, and if your company is getting business from referrals and people saying great things about you, you’re definitely doing something right. I’m even sure that in the past, many successful businesses have built great names for themselves using word of mouth alone.
Unfortunately, it simply doesn’t work quite like that anymore, and I’m going to tell you why word of mouth can only get you so far… as well as what you should be doing instead.
1. People do their own research
Over the past few years, buyer behaviour has changed dramatically. These days, everyone’s on the internet and doing their own research. You’ve probably noticed that when you do get approached by customers, that they’re much more informed about the types of products and services you offer.
As a by-product of this, far fewer people are simply asking their friends and family for referrals and going by that advice alone. Instead, they’re looking up businesses in their area and trying to find the right solution that fits their own specific needs.
Sure, this may not apply to small jobs such as requiring a plumber to fix a leak, or a roofer to fix a broken tile, but for the jobs where customers require any amount of research, the chances are they’re going to be searching online first.
2. Your customers have questions
The biggest reason word of mouth alone no longer works is that your customers have questions, and they want to know that they’re making the right choice for them based on the answers they can find online. So, if you don’t have a resource (like a blog) available to answer those questions, they’ll look for someone else who will.
That’s why companies like Dave’s Construction are leaving their competitors behind in the dust, by taking the time to address the common question and concerns their customers really want to know. What does this do for Dave’s word of mouth? It amplifies it.
3. Trust is never a given
Never has been, never will be. These days, with widespread stories about cowboy builders and roque contractors, construction companies are having to work harder than ever to earn the trust of their customers.
Taking a friend or neighbour’s word that your company is second to none just isn’t enough anymore, so if you’re still relying on word of mouth alone, how are you going to earn that all-important trust? You can’t – or at least, it’ll take a lot more work, and you can only begin to do that after they’ve contacted you.
However, if a customer has heard amazing things about Dave’s Construction and does a search online to see all of Dave’s helpful content that answers his or her questions, it immediately establishes trust and helps build a connection with that customer before they even contact Dave for a quote!
4. Word of mouth works both ways
Another common problem with word of mouth is that it can work both ways. Think about it this way: if Dave’s Construction did a top notch job, the house project was completed on time, and the customer was ecstatic about the quality of the workmanship and the attitude of Dave’s staff, they might tell their friends all about it.
That’s exactly what Dave wants to happen, and of course that’s particularly important in the construction industry.
However, if just one of Dave’s workers has a misunderstanding with the client, or if things are delayed due to an equipment failure that’s out of Dave’s control, and the client is generally unhappy, they’ll be all too ready to spread the word about all the problems they had, and discourage others from using Dave’s company.
5. There are no guarantees
And no way to measure results. This means that you can’t possibly a) ensure that your best customers are going to go away and spread the word about your brilliant service – despite all the hard work and effort you’ve put in to the job, and b) even if 4 out of every 5 customers did this, how would you measure it?
You can’t. Nor is there a logical way to predict what kind of results you’re going to get from this method, as it’s wholly unpredictable. For instance, Dave’s last customer, Simon Watts, might have been over the moon with his extension, but what if he doesn’t know anyone else who needs Dave’s services?
Or perhaps his friends will ask him if he knows anyone who can fit a new conservatory, but he doesn’t immediately associate that with Dave’s Construction because he doesn’t know that’s a service Dave also offers? Trust me, these things happen.
Let me introduce you to inbound marketing
An alternative way to win your customers’ trust – and let them come to you – is a method known as inbound marketing. And it’s your secret weapon to success.
It’s all about creating helpful, quality content that addresses your customers’ questions at every stage of their buyer’s journey, so that you no longer have to rely on word of mouth, friends or referrals to get the leads and sales your business needs to grow.
For more information, read my blog post ‘5 Reasons Why Construction Companies Need Inbound Marketing‘.
I hope you’ve now reached a better understanding of why your construction business shouldn’t rely on word of mouth alone. Perhaps you already had a good idea of some of the above, but wasn’t quite sure what to do about it, in which case you may find my blog useful – it’s full of helpful tips and advice to help you get started.
If you do have any specific questions, feel free to leave a comment on this blog post – I’ll do my best to answer as quickly as possible! After all, I’m here to help.