Last week I shared an interview I did on The Designer Show on how, as a contractor, you can stop being treated like a commodity and get in the driver’s seat in the sales process. This week, I’m doing a deeper dive into how to nail your sales process by including 4 key elements that will make all the difference.
When a customer first calls, one of the best things you can do is manage their expectations. From the very first phone call, let them know what your process is, and what they can expect in this first phase of getting to know one another and identify the scope of the project. This is where you begin to build trust and confidence, and have you stand out from the competition. This is where you begin to really drive the sales process.
Tip: When you’re done explaining your process, ask them if they are OK with that – then wait for an answer. People will say yes ninety-nine percent of the time. Getting agreement on things like presenting the bid in person or by Zoom or Skype is an essential piece of giving you a greater chance of actually closing a sale.
SCREEN FOR RIGHT FIT AND STOP WASTING YOUR TIME
Unfortunately, some clients might be “tire-kickers.” They aren’t necessarily really interested in doing business with you, and really can’t just be pushed aside. Ask questions in your initial conversations with a potential client that help you understand if they are a “right fit.” Are they just looking for a lowball price? This is something you’ll want to establish early on.
One of the best ways to ensure that a client is a good fit for your company is to start by setting a minimum size project you are willing to complete. If a job isn’t profitable, why do it?
Create a matrix that could be used to rate a potential project opportunity:
- Set a goal for the minimum size job you’ll take
- Define what makes for an acceptable location
- Identify if the timing works in your schedule
These are just a few examples, and you get the idea.
Tip: If the rating doesn’t meet your criteria, you politely say that you don’t think it’s a good fit and offer to refer to another contractor. The homeowner, by the way, is always grateful for the honesty. And it will save you precious time by not bidding a job that doesn’t meet your requirements.
ASK POWERFUL QUESTIONS THAT MAKE YOU THE PREFERRED CONTRACTOR
Knowing how to ask questions is the cornerstone of a good sales process. When you take the time to truly understand a prospect’s needs by asking the right questions, you will understand what they value most and ultimately be able to provide superior value and experience. You’ll be able to stand out from the competition and be known as a trusted resource to your prospects and clients.
In my Sales Process Toolkit, I give you examples of some powerful questions you can ask at each stage of the sales process.
Tip: When you begin following a more ‘scripted’ process, it will no doubt feel clunky and awkward. That’s the way it is for most of us when learning a new habit. You’ll likely find that you’ll need to change up the questions to better fit your communication styles. Before long, however, the process will begin to feel natural. You’ll become consistent. You’ll start getting better information from the customer.
KEEP YOUR AGREEMENTS – YOUR MOST POWERFUL TOOL
Keeping your word, doing what you say you’ll do when you say you’ll do it, is the foundation of your reputation and identity as a contractor. In an industry riddled with dishonesty and subterfuge, you want to be known as someone who can be trusted.
Tip: If you do nothing else I’ve shared with you here other than this one thing, you’ll increase your close rate, and you’ll have people clamoring at your door to work with you. You’ll get tons of referrals from happy clients; and you’ll stand heads above the competition.
IT’S ALL ABOUT CLARITY…
Clarity breeds confidence, and confidence lets us take more powerful actions. This applies to you AND your customers. When you’re clear—whether clarity takes the form of knowing the customer’s pain, challenges, needs, and desires, or knowing the clear scope and budget—it’s easier to take control of the process because you’ll know what you’re doing. Having a solid sales process will let you do just that.
p.s. Using the tips I’ve shared above and using my Sales Process Toolkit will have you closing more of the RIGHT jobs.
p.p.s. If you want to learn more about making a consistent profit and increase cash flow in your business, then check out my book, “The Profit Bleed – how managing margin can save your contracting business.”