In our last article, we talked about how to review your client’s performance for the past year. If you haven’t read it yet, take a few moments to review.
Talk to Your Clients
Once you’ve reviewed your client’s history for the past year, take the time to reach out to them for the coming year. You’ll want to take your time with these calls, so reach out to schedule a time to talk on the phone, or meet in person.
While you may have formed ideas about your client’s past performance for the year, don’t let your initial assumptions be your only guide to the conversation. Instead, start out by asking them about how they see their business. Ask:
- How do they feel their business is doing?
- Are they excited about the coming year, or concerned about a lack of projects?
- Do they anticipate having future bond needs in the coming year?
- Are they considering projects that will require them to qualify for a larger bonding line?
Once you’ve gotten the answers to these questions, you’ll have a more complete understanding of your contractor’s business for both the past year and their goals for the upcoming year.
This will allow you to talk to them and understand their business challenges on a deeper level.
Once you’ve done that, this is the time to take what you’ve learned and share it with them. Remember, the goal isn’t to assign blame; the goal is to help them improve their business.
Here some examples:
“Hey, I noticed that the last few times you submitted your application, you had some issues with how you allocated resources in your income statements. That’s something that bonding companies look at. It may be worth talking to your accountant about how you can process them more effectively. If you don’t have an accountant, I know someone that my other contractor clients recommend. Even if it’s just once or twice a year, it can make a big difference.
“You know, the account managers from the bonding company mentioned that they had a hard time getting in touch with your business references. I know you do great work, so it might be a simple matter of asking them for updated contact information, or asking project owners from more recent projects if they would be willing to serve as a business reference.”
“I was looking at your bond requests from the last year, and I noticed that you submitted for a lot of smaller jobs that didn’t net much of a profit. I know we all want to stay busy, but have you thought about taking on fewer projects so that you can give more attention to projects that you can use to grow your business?”
You may be able to provide them with insights that can help them as well.
“I don’t know if you know this, but I have a couple of general contractors starting projects, and they’re going to need subcontractors with your skill-set. If you have availability, do you want me to recommend you to them?”
“I noticed that you’ve been having trouble getting bonded for some projects because of your credit score. I know a great bonding company that works with contractors in your situation. They don’t require collateral, and they offer some great services that can help you to manage your financials.”
The more you know about your clients, the more that you can help them strengthen their businesses. The more that you can help them with their problems, the more they’ll see how valuable a resource you can be for them. That helps you build a stronger relationship and drives future loyalty.
Talk to Your Bonding Companies
This is also a good time to reach out to your own bonding companies to see if you can improve those relationships, and prepare for the coming year.
Have there been issues affecting your ability to effectively bond clients over the past year? Slowdowns in the communication chain that have caused unnecessary delays? Do you feel that your bonding companies don’t have a complete picture of your clients?
This is the time to iron out these issues. Catalog your concerns, and present them to your bonding companies in a friendly, organized manner. If your relationship with your bonding companies is positive, take the time to show them you appreciate their work on behalf of your clients. Also, ask your bonding companies if there are new options available in the coming year that you can take advantage of.
Regardless of whether they have a bond need, Cinium’s Project Accounting service can provide contractors with the team of experienced construction accountants. This can help them get their finances organized so that they can make the best possible impression.
Ready to put Cinium’s experience to work for you? Schedule a free consultation today, or give us a call at (855) 4-CINIUM.