Contractor Shares His Sales Strategy, Justifies Why He Emails His Proposals
Guest Blogger: Milt Rye is the owner of Ethan Home Repair & Remodeling, LLC located in the Greater Seattle, WA area. Milt is a contributor to multiple construction resources, forums and discussion panels. Milt sent me the letter below to offer his difference of opinion to mine after reading my blog titled: Is A Contractor Really A Salesperson If He or She Hits Send?
I thoroughly look forward to your articles, regularly take advantage of your online resources, information, and recommendations, attend your seminars, and fully embrace most everything you “preach”. So thank you for your help in the ongoing success of my business.
That said, I am afraid I can’t totally agree with your premise that a contractor who emails proposals is just an “order taker”. I think the approach must be governed by many factors that are geared toward that particular customer’s needs and personality. A true salesperson, in my view, is someone who can relate best to their customer, instill confidence in them, and communicate in the manner and frequency in which their customer is most comfortable.
For large ticket, complex projects face to face presentations are generally preferred simply due to the scope of the project. But if I have done my job correctly up to the point of presentation, I should already have the job. I should have already established whether they can afford the project and if they have selected my company. The bid is just a formality. Price is WAY at the bottom of issues, as is the method of delivery. For most projects, we would have already met multiple times up to the point of presentation and that’s where I do my selling. Whether I email the quote or hand deliver it is immaterial in my experience of selling projects for over 15 years. I personally prefer a face to face meeting, but have found it unnecessary in most instances and base that decision on the customer and their personality. I have never been the cheapest bidder and tell people up front that I never intend to be. Yet my closing rate/ratio remains extremely high.
I find that our current speed of living in general is much faster than in the past and people get irritated with too many required face to face meetings. They most often prefer the email method so they can make a decision at 10pm after work is done, the kids are asleep and they can focus. Am I serving them or are they serving me? I always ask what their preferred form of communication is and then I respect that. If I have established myself as the contractor of choice, reflected in our discussions (phone or otherwise) that I have accurately heard them and understand their needs/wants, established a comfortable budget, and minded the details, why waste their time and mine with an unneeded additional meeting? Let’s do this!
I am sure many contractors use email as an excuse to avoid a face to face meeting because of fear of rejection or other issues, and to hide behind the computer. They rarely follow up and basically throw mud on the wall and hope something sticks. Maybe those folks were your intended audience for this article.
Others of us use email as one of many tools in the sales toolbox to great success and to close more deals, more often, and more profitably, than running all over the area chasing people for face to face meetings.
Thanks again for your commitment to contractors. I just think your approach on this article was too general and did not do justice to the topic.
If like Milt you disagree with something I post at my blog please feel free to let me know. Milt did a great job explaining his viewpoint in a respectful and thoughtful way. I must admit I agree with his approach as well. When Milt emails his proposal he is doing so to confirm in writing the agreement he has already made with his prospect who has agreed to become a customer. Milt is certainly not an order taker, but rather a great example for other contractors seeking to improve their sales abilities and results.