Get the basics right to win more business

Issue 8 2023 Editor's Choice, Risk Management & Resilience

Imagine you are trying to fit a camera on flaky plaster and sandy bricks. Without a solid foundation, the quality of the gear or your skills as a technician don’t matter. That camera is coming down, fast. Growing a successful business works the same way. Without understanding sales fundamentals as your foundation, it does not matter how good you are at your trade. Your business is not going to grow.

Charles Freedman.

The barriers to entry in security are not high. More people are adding CCTV and fencing to their repertoire every year. Cowboys will not last long in a space where customers trust you with their safety, but people doing ‘ok’ work may become your competitors. Understanding and applying sales fundamentals to your expertise can make all the difference between winning the work and growing the business – or not.

Be an expert

Understanding the ins and outs of your trade, and showing off this knowledge to customers is key to building trust with them. If you are meeting a customer and they ask you about the materials and techniques you will be using, give them an in-depth explanation to put their mind at ease and also show them that you understand what you are doing and why you are doing it. Customers will pay more for your expertise and experience, not how fast or cheaply you can do the work.

Speak their language

As the saying goes, communication is key, but it is not just about explaining your services clearly, you also need to understand the problems and their implications for your customers. This means it is just as much about listening and understanding as it is about sharing your message. People do not buy CCTV cameras, they buy safety and security for their homes and businesses. When proposing to customers, make sure you can link back options to their true needs and not just share the technical details of the equipment you would like to install.

Build strong relationships

Relationships are built from committed efforts made over time. It is no different with your partner, friends or customers. If you treat the job as a transaction instead of an opportunity to build a relationship, the chances of winning another one are low. Be a service provider people want to work with. That means being honest, reliable and transparent. You can do this by sharing a clear estimate, sticking to deadlines, and communicating openly with your clients. You will likely get repeat business from your clients, and they will be more likely to recommend your services to others.

Go the extra mile

Have you ever had a memorable service experience? What made it stand out? Who did you tell? As customer expectations increase and competition heats up, being different in a good way makes a big difference. It might be something simple like a glossy digital proposal or using job management software to update your customer across every step of their journey with you.

Make your clients feel valued and respected by being responsive, considerate, and focused on their needs. You will be surprised at how far that little bit extra can take you.

Stay ahead of the curve

No industry stands still, which means change is not just a luxury, it is essential. If you want to keep your customers, you need to keep your skills sharp, your techniques up-to-date, and your business evolving. This means staying current with industry trends, mastering new tools and techniques, pursuing certifications, and adapting to changes in the market. Whether it is the latest tech or software to run your business, make sure you are carving out time to explore and research what can give you the edge.

It is not just about what you are selling – but how you are selling - that will set you apart from the competition and set you up for success. Mastering these sales fundamentals is not just about winning jobs; it is about creating lasting relationships and building a sustainable business. Happy customers come back to you for future projects and refer you to others.

Charles Freedman is the CEO of ServCraft (, a South African-designed and built job management application for trade businesses.


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