Business Articles - Sales

Are your selling cycles limiting your potential profitability?

I hear a lot of stories about the challenges you have in trying to close jobs or attract new customers. It's a tough economy out there and so we have to get more creative in differentiating our selves from the competition. What are you doing that makes you stand out?

Every bid/estimate is an opportunity

A lead is a customer putting their hand up and saying "I NEED HELP!". Sure, sometimes those projects are in their infancy, but that doesn't mean they won't eventually get done. Getting the opportunity to work with a client from the beginning of their project is an excellent way to help them develop a realistic budget and perhaps expand it.

A friend of mine had three contractors up to look at replacing his roof. He discovered the replacement roof was going to cost more than he was willing to spend. Those contractors followed up with him for a week or 2 afterwards, and he never heard from them again. Meanwhile, a roofer doing business in the area, dropped in on him every three months. Each time he would ask if my friend was ready to update his roof. When my friend said, "not yet", he would ask if he could check back in another 3 months. Guess who got the business almost a year later?

You don't have to undercut yourself to win the bid. Have you developed a relationship with your potential client? Did you listen to their concerns? Did they mention other projects or problems they have in the house? Is there a way for you to give them your 'expert' opinion on upgrades/other projects? Don't be shy in offering suggestions or improvements to a potential customer's project, even if you don't do that kind of work. You are the expert. What haven't they thought of? Show them that unlike your competition, you truly are an expert in your field. Refer them to a trusted subcontractor or supplier. Show them why your expertise will pay off in the long run; how discounts can sometimes equal disaster.

Are you:

- Following up for an appropriate amount of time? With small projects, even if you don't get the bid - call the client 3-5 days after and ask if they were happy with the work they received. Did they have any questions or concerns? This is a success tip from many of our pros!

- For any size project: provide them with a "handy" list of projects you do. Include maintenance work most homeowners don't think of. List time periods those should get done within, eg: Roof- 10 year, Air duct cleaning- yearly.

- Do you have an e-mail list? With client's whose business you have won, add them to an e-mail list where you can send them reminders for maintenance work or discounts you are offering.

So, what are you doing to win bids or create long term customers?

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