Business Articles - On the Job

Are Your Prospects for Real?

Are Your Prospects for Real?

Getting a Sales Pitch that Zeroes in on the Best Customers

For any contracting business, time is money. So it only makes sense that contractors take a good look at how they are spending their time and whether this time is being spent well. Staying busy just for the sake of staying busy may make a day of work appear satisfactory, but if the financial returns are not, then it's time to consider where the time is really going. Since time is money, it's a costly mistake to let time go to waste. In addition, the true feeling of accomplishment that comes from a workday that has definitely paid off will boost any contractor's confidence beyond simple financial gain. A good sales pitch goes a long way in determining what prospects are worth the time and effort. Consider the following:

Talk to the Right People

Too often, earnest attempts at obtaining good leads come to nothing because the lead prospects are people who couldn't make a buying decision even if they wanted to. If a contractor is dealing with a corporation, it is important that they spend as little time with lower ranking staff members as possible. This is because middle managers or entry-level personnel rarely have the power to make money decisions or have access to company funds. For example, if a plumbing contractor has contacted a large housing developer, it would be good to do a little research ahead of time. An excellent idea would be to ask other contracting associates if they have ever worked for the home builder and who in that company can get the ball rolling on big decisions. Another idea is to use the Internet and Google the building company. Most companies have a section on their web sites with profiles of senior management which will give a contractor an understanding of who does what, background information, and sometimes even direct phone numbers or email addresses. This way, the plumbing contractor can use an actual name when requesting to speak with senior management, which will give any caller more credibility instantly.

Is the Prospect a Possibility?

Even if the greatest masonry contractor in the city is calling on a homeowner, it doesn't make much difference if what the homeowner really needs is an electrician. Many sales pitches lead with elaborate and impressive facts about customer satisfaction and professional experience and can take up minutes of time. A sales approach should include questions or breaks that allow a potential customer to respond with interest or input. If there is no space for the customer to explain their needs, the result can be a frustrated contractor, an annoyed prospect, and no sale.

This is one of the reasons that marketing efforts like advertisements or online referral services can be a great timesaver. Customers with actual needs are much more likely to respond positively when a contractor explains the terms of their services. Also, a potential customer with an immediate or current contracting need will often be more flexible on sometimes difficult issues like pricing. The matter of money will always be one of the most significant issues that a prospect considers. Fortunately, if the customer is dealing with an immediate problem like a big broken window, is dead set on top service, or simply doesn?t want the hassle of a long contractor search, they may pay more than they budgeted. Since this can be the case, a contractor's approach should include questions or comments that will reveal if one of these scenarios is possible. The rest of the time, contractors should get ahead in the game and make sure that a customer can afford or is willing to pay for a service. With this stage of prospecting process, contractors also need to make sure they are making an excellent case for their services, since they may be able to sway a customer that is not completely sure about their service contractor needs.

Learn from the Past for Future Payoffs

For more effective marketing in the future, a great idea is to document what past prospects have been successful, which were potentially interested, and which were duds. A homeowner will always have plumbing needs and good service by a service provider one time can lead to more work requests in the future. If a prospect's response was "Not right now," a follow up three months later may pay off with a new customer. Even rejections should be noted so that time is not wasted on them during later marketing efforts.

Finding Order

With the techniques detailed above, a contractor can create a sales pitch that is effective, getting heard by the right people who are ready and able to make the transaction. Think of this kind of pitch as a sequence or series of steps that gets you closer to the truth about a customer. Once you know what they are truly about, you can spend the best part of your workday in the most profitable way possible.

Join our Network

Connect with customers looking to do your most profitable projects in the areas you like to work.