We are absolutely getting beat out on jobs. Even with referrals we are losing bids to a competitor who is doing shoddy work, making mistakes on estimating, installing the wrong materials and billing clients for significant upcharges. Obviously we need to be doing a better job selling ourselves. Help!
Thoughts of the day: Figure out if you’re calling on the right prospects. Help prospects discover your value through questions. Make sure you’re working with prospects who will do more than collect bids. Ask your referrals to get involved in more than vouching for you.
It’s not enough to take pride in your work. You also have to be able to get across your advantages, while focusing on opportunities that favor your company. Every prospect makes a unique buying decision. Every seller has something unique to offer. The closer the match between what you offer and what the prospect wants, the easier it gets to make a sale.
Save time and energy. Ask questions to figure out which prospects are worth your while. Don’t assume anything.
Does the prospect value quality?
Cares about quality equals keep going, since that’s what you’re hoping to sell. Thinks quality doesn’t matter equals look elsewhere for a potential sale.
How much pricing flexibility does the prospect have?
Lots of flexibility equals buyers have control and can make decisions to acquire something they want. Limited flexibility equals make sure you can do the job in the price range specified, or get out now.
Will the prospect take time to learn about what makes a job good or bad?
Willing to take time to learn equals prospect will invest in building a relationship, gaining knowledge to make an informed buying decision. Unwilling to take time equals prospect is likely to make a mistake and choose poorly, which might not bode well for you as you try to inform the prospect about what goes into quality.
Does the prospect have any experience with shoddy work or bait and switch pricing?
Since you’re selling the opposite of shoddy work and pricing that changes at the end of the job, you need to find prospects who know they can get burned.
Once you’re past the basic questions, dig deeper. Think about your best customers. What attributes do they exhibit? What is it about your company that they value?
Pick a list of a dozen good customers. For each one, list five things that caused you to rate them as good. Look for common themes. Build questions that help you discover if future prospects think or act the same way.
Favor buyers who want to get to know you. Who makes the final decision? Who has to live with the solution? Who will act as technical expert? When can you meet with them?
Conserve selling time and energy. Hone in on prospects who want you to explore the fit. Otherwise, think about moving on before you get burned. Practice living in the land of “facts” instead of the land of “perpetual hope,” when it comes to deciding where to spend your selling time.
Finally, if an existing customer believes in you enough to refer you, that’s a great endorsement. But it’s not enough. Make them aware of any bidding tidbits you’ve learned that could help to boost your standing. Ask referrals to tell your prospect specifically why they selected your company over the competition, relating their decision to the prospects’ hot buttons. And remember to check in with your referral sources to find out what they have coming up for future work.
“Hope Is Not A Strategy: The 6 Keys to Winning the Complex Sale” by Rick Page.