Welcome back to Leader Talk! In episode 38 we had the pleasure of chatting with Tauran Black, owner and CEO of Tradie Design Co – a social media phenomenon for tradies!
Tauran is dedicated to helping tradies grow their business through navigating their brand identity online and offline. In this world driven by media and branding, Tauran is passionate about guiding the trades industry through simple and smarter designs.
In this chat, we spoke about the great benefits to investing time and energy in getting to know your clients and building your brand online. Tauran speaks about how to go above and beyond for your business.
Authored by Tauran Black, owner and CEO of Tradie Design Co.
When I began Tradie Design Co seven years ago, I was 18 and had just left school. I wasn’t sure what it would turn out to be. The amount of people that told me “No” at the beginning or advised against this move was unbelievable. Yet, I knew I had not only found something I loved to do but something that would benefit many businesses out there.
Tradie Design Co was a business I created after becoming inspired by my friends in the construction industry. I saw a gap in the market and knew I could benefit a lot of businesses out there by creating a great, functional website. As I began working, I didn’t gain my clients by giving ‘salesy’ pitches to businesses or tradies. I spoke to them as friends. Understanding your clients and reaching out to them with a genuine interest in providing meaningful help will take you further than any sales pitch.
My business became what it is today through perseverance. I didn’t realise it was such a competitive space when I first started. The first few months and years were simply me trying to keep my head above water – and I know the same can be said for a lot of small to medium businesses. Finding powerful, free online tools and creating a quality product was how I managed to build a successful business. How I gained success isn’t unique for me or my business, anyone can do it.
What I learnt when I first jumped into the space of website design building, was that many small to medium businesses either don’t have a website or don’t understand the difference a great one can make. A website can be a game-changer for a business. Think about your own shopping habits. How big of an impact does someone’s website make on your purchasing decisions? Usually, quite a lot. Investing in and creating a great website is an asset every business should be looking to have.
Speak to your clients as if they were your friend
Gaining clients can be a tricky process. What I have found is just how important it is to talk to your clients as if they were a friend or colleague. The goal of every interaction should be to build a strong relationship, not to gain a sale or make a profit.
In the beginning, I heard a lot of “No”. You have to have a thick layer when it comes to this type of rejection. It left me rattled at the start but now I understand that it has nothing to do with me or my business, and more so with a lot of other factors in and outside of my control. The most important thing to remember is that this happens to every business. No small to medium business starts with immediate success – everyone experiences some level of rejection.
Additionally, it’s critical that you understand your clients. You need to know not only the best way to speak to potential clients, but also when you should speak to them. For me, tradies are very busy during the day, but they all generally have a similar schedule. You can’t believe how quickly they reply in their breaks compared to when they are working. The same goes for me contacting them after work. Sometimes, potential clients are not getting back to you, not because they don’t want your services but because you’re contacting them at the wrong times.
Always seek to provide and deliver value to your clients. If this means having slightly higher prices or a longer time frame, then do it. Many small to medium businesses can feel like they need to undersell their skills just to gain a competitive edge, but I would advise against this. Providing quick and cheap services isn’t sustainable.
At the end of the day, clients are working with you (no matter what industry you’re in) as they want the best quality product or service possible. Would you return to a business who supplied a bad product or service even if it was cheap? Probably not – and you would definitely not recommend them to anyone else.
If you’re focused on value and providing friendly customer service, you can’t go wrong. All my clients are my mates and yours should be too. If you’re passionate about what you do and delivering great products or services, then you should care about each and every one of your clients.
Building a great website is simpler than you think
I can’t emphasise enough the benefits of having a great website. There are generally two types of people that need a website; a business that needs to gain work and a business that needs to display the work they’ve done. Both types of businesses can gain more clients and brand recognition if they have an awesome website.
Unlike a social media page or any other marketing content, a website is always sitting there and generating leads. A website creates a brand for your business and a presence online, wherever someone is in the world. People can look it up at all hours of the day, in almost any country in the world.
One of the most important parts of any small to medium business website is including a reviews section and a great contact page. Reviews go a long way in converting leads into clients, but I’ve found a lot of my clients find it difficult or are anxious to ask for reviews.
Asking for a review shouldn’t be a scary or embarrassing process. Instead, it should be a core part of your business process. After every job you complete or product you sell, you request a review. Most of the time, if you’ve done a great job and have built a strong relationship, clients will happily leave a review. Ask your clients directly for a review on your Google Reviews page. You then can copy and paste it to use on your website or social media, or you can embed a Google Reviews carousel onto your site.
The other important aspect of a great site is your contact page. Everything on your website should be steering clients into requesting a quote or getting in contact with you. Each element of your website’s design is purposeful, deliberate, and there to convert leads.
It’s so important to have a website from the get-go and investing in a great website design could be your competitive edge that gets you more clients.
Utilising the power of social media to make a splash
One area of my business that has helped us become so successful is utilising social media. If it wasn’t for Instagram, I’m not sure where we would be. Instagram for us is like a mini website. We keep our Instagram feed looking just as clean and professional as our website.
The best part about Instagram is the lead generation it offers us. Social media does work. Instagram provides you with simple tools that are entirely free, so there’s no reason not to use it.
It also offers you another platform to speak and interact with clients. For us, if we get a lead, it’s critical that you continue to follow it up. What I see a lot of small to medium businesses do is gain a lead and not follow through on it – they let it go stale. If you gain a lead, you should be talking to that person on every available channel. This is how you convert clients and build relationships.
Just like with your website, you should be displaying your reviews on your social media pages. According to a survey by Yellow Pages, around four in ten consumers follow a business or brand on social media. This is a lot of people that your brand can potentially engage with and nurture leads.
Social media is every small to medium business’s secret weapon. You should be taking it just as seriously as your website.
Going above and beyond
The best bit of advice I can provide small to medium business owners is to always go above and beyond for your clients. You want to build strong relationships with everyone you work with. This sometimes means you need to do more for certain clients than others.
For me, I often get requests about changing a logo, colours or font on a website or in their branding. I could charge them, but why should I? If I know that something will only take me a few minutes to complete, then I firmly believe that I should do it for free or at a minimal cost. At the end of the day, the client and our relationship are more important than a one-off payment. This is simply because clients hold a lot of power in the future work you receive.
A lot of work I receive as a small to medium business owner is through referrals. Clients I have worked with will tell their friend or colleague about the great service I provide, and they will come to me looking for help. This is why it’s so important to make sure your relationships with your clients are strong – because they will get you more work! In fact, research by Forbes found 60% of marketers say referrals generate a high volume of leads.
Being a small to medium business owner can be challenging. You will receive a lot of rejections before you start succeeding. It’s important to always continue to persevere and treat every client as if they were your friend. Maintaining strong client relationships is the key to any small business’s success.
It’s also important to create and invest in a great website design, that’s also complimented by your Instagram feed. Use the tools available to you and reap the rewards. Our business wouldn’t have achieved the success it has if it wasn’t for our Instagram page.
Treat your clients well and produce valuable products and services and your business will succeed. Remember to always go above and beyond.