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Please, Don’t Treat Me Like Family

Roof construction site
To tell people how great their service is, a lot of contractors say, “We treat you like family.”

You probably even say this (or something similar) somewhere in your own marketing.

Well, yesterday I realized that treating your customers like your flesh and blood could be the WORST thing for your business.



I’ll elaborate…

Yesterday I came home for lunch. I made a sandwich and plopped down on the couch.

I turned on the television, and Judge Faith (one of TV’s 857 court shows) was on.

The case is something I see all the time on these “court-room dramas”: A case involving a homeowner and a contractor.

And when I say “all the time,” I mean it.

It seems like every episode of Judge Faith / Judy / Alex / Whoever has a case involving a client-contractor dispute.

This particular client-contractor case, however, kept things “in the family.”

A woman was Hugesuing her brother, who was a handyman. She hired him to complete some roof repairs and paid him the full $4,700 UP FRONT.

HUGE mistake.

Turns out, the brother was a lazy sleazebag.

He started her roof project, and then took on another job for someone else. He began neglecting his sister’s project and told her he would “complete it in time.”

Five months later…

The woman’s roof still wasn’t done. The brother was nowhere in sight. The shingles he never installed were still on the roof… and started to MELT from the sun!

Meanwhile, the brother put up a fence and redid the kitchen… at HIS house.

The sister finally had enough and hired someone else to do the job.

Then she sued her brother for the $4,700 she paid him.

treating customers like family doesn't always mean good service
Needless to say, the sister won the case. The judge awarded her $3,500 (she subtracted $1,000 for materials and $200 for labor).

But that’s not the most interesting part…

During the episode, the judge sarcastically asked the brother why he thinks he’s being sued.

His response: “Because my sister is a nut.”

Yikes.

If this is how contractors treat their family, I certainly don’t want the flesh-and-blood treatment from whom I hire.

What’s the point of telling you about this courtroom family drama?

Well…

If you say you “treat customers like family”—or anything else to indicate you provide great service—you better back it up.

Tell people EXACTLY how you treat your customers. Then follow through on those claims on every single job.

Here are a few examples of true “family” treatment:

  • Moving your customers’ potential “breakables” for them before starting work.
  • Having a strict “no radio, no swearing” jobsite policy to make customers feel more comfortable.
  • Providing your personal cell phone number to customers and tell them to call any time—day or night—if they have questions.
  • Require no money up front (a GIANT show of trust).
  • Giving your customer’s dog a treat when you show up to the jobsite every morning.
  • And, oh yeah… providing kickass installation.

There are a dozen and one other things you can do, both big and small. But you get the picture.

Don’t just say you “treat people like family.” Show people how you walk the talk.

Homeowners put up with jerk contractors like the brother in this court case constantly. It’s why contractors get the (dis)honor of being on the BBB’s “Most Complained About” list every year without fail.

Simply telling people you treat them like “family” means nothing to your prospects. Bad contractors say it all the time, so your prospects have zero reason to believe you… unless you provide ample evidence to back up your claim.

So GET SPECIFIC.

Precision is one of the “3 P’s” of a powerful, profit-producing Identity.

That means not only saying you do something well… but informing prospects exactly how you do it. (And then—the most important part—following through during the actual job.)

Otherwise, what you’re saying is white noise… and your prospects will see through you faster than Judge Judy.

P.S. This page contains a ton of info about our Identity services. Read through it, and think about how YOUR marketing would benefit from a powerful, prospect-pulling Identity. Then reach out to us—we would LOVE to help you with your marketing needs.

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