“Communication works for those who work at it” – John Powell
One of the lessons from the interviews I’ve been doing as part of the 100 Contractors Project is that successful companies (and individuals) seem to share one common trait; they consistently communicate at a high level.
What makes them high level communicators you might ask? It’s the fact that they view proactive communication as vital to their continued growth and ongoing success.
This excellence in communication is not only with clients, but with staff, strategic partners, and when building new business relationships.
Because email is such a critical tool for managing our business relationships, I’ve identified 5 types of email that these high performers use to consistently grow their business. Take a look and see where you can use their strategies in your business.
1. The Expectations Email
Did you just land a new client? I’ll bet they are a bit curious as to how the project they’ve hired you for will actually unfold. Why not remove the mystery by sending them an email that details what they can expect from you. An expectation email can be part of a new client onboarding process.
Here is a good formula to use when composing an expectations email: Reiterate/Define/Inform
Reiterate project scope, milestones, details from conversations, as well as projected start and finish dates.
Define how you will communicate throughout the project, what your invoicing schedule will be, and how you will handle unexpected events or requested change orders along the way.
Inform them of who will be showing up to perform the work (names of people on your crew, subcontractors, etc), and all of your contact information even if you are sure they already have it.
2. The Status Update Email
Contractors have a reputation for being bad communicators. In fact, lack of communication that is often cited as a reason why client/contractor relationships deteriorate. It makes a noticeable difference when you build better communication into your project delivery process. Status update emails elevate your level of customer service.
The frequency of status update emails depends on the size of your project. Once per week is a good rule of thumb. The key is to be brief, clear and consistent. You’ll find regular status updates head off misunderstandings before they become problems and bring accountability, transparency, and trust to your client relationships.
3. The Intro Email
The bigger your network, the better your chances of receiving more project requests. Introduction emails to other companies and professionals are a great way to build a larger referral pipeline. Introductions to people that serve your customer types, and target areas, gets you on their radar and exposes you to new networks. These are networks you otherwise would not have access to unless you proactively reach out to build these professional relationships.
Aligning with like minded businesses is a productive, and often untapped, business development resource. Introduce yourself and your services to one new contact per week (then stay in touch after a connection is made) and watch your opportunities grow.
4. The Thank You Email
This is an email that comes from a place of gratitude. Look to send this type of email as frequently as possible by actively seeking to express appreciation. Send a thank you email to a client that just hired you, a crew member to recognize outstanding performance, to a subcontractor that recommended you. Or even someone you’ve delivered a proposal to but decided to hire someone else. You can never go wrong by showing your appreciation.
5. The Top of Mind Email
Like all the email types on this list, a top of mind email is not a one time email but part of a well planned email campaign. It nurtures relationships with the people you’ve done business with and serves as a reminder of your company and services.
A top of mind strategy should follow the 80/20 rule. Give value 80% of the time, and offer your services (or remind people of them) 20% of the time. Top of mind emails are a long term play but extremely powerful when delivered consistently over time.
*If you want to discuss implementing a well crafted Top of Mind email strategy for your business, get in touch. I manage campaigns for different sized companies and it consistently proves to be a valuable business development tool when done correctly.
Each type of email on this list serves a different purpose on it’s own and is an important part of a communication mindset.
Proactively incorporate them into your business. You’ll not only be known as a high level communicator, but you’ll get to reap the benefits that come with that reputation.
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About the Author: Wayne Lamarre is a construction marketing expert, speaker, and business development consultant, who specializes in helping contractors go from good to great. Contact Wayne to add fuel to your construction business.