With the Remodeling marketplace booming this spring and predictions of close to a 10% increase in remodeling spending this year over last there will be plenty of work out there for remodeling contractors in 2016. With the surge in mind I have been coaching my contractor clients to be smart about how they do business. I have been stressing that they should take advantage of this surge by being selective about the customers they choose to work with and by raising their margins now before they get too booked up and regret becoming unavailable. If this makes sense to you and for your business read on to find out how to do fewer sales calls but at the same time close higher margin deals.
Agree on an agenda before committing to a sales call
Before you even commit to a sales call get your prospect’s commitment to discuss and commit to an agenda for the first sales call. Doing so can help you control the sales call as well as how your valuable and limited time will be invested.
The agenda should include the things they want to accomplish as well as the things you want to accomplish at that first meeting. If you can’t or won’t agree to what they want to accomplish, or they won’t agree to what you want to accomplish, then simply let them know you won’t be able to help them.
These three things should be part of your agenda
After you hear and approve of the items they want on the agenda ask permission to share the items you want on the agenda. You can include anything you want on your agenda but make sure at a minimum you get a commitment to discuss these three things before asking them if it still makes sense to invite you over:
Can we talk about why you want to do your project?
You will need to know this info to create a unique solution and to have confidence in what you suggest to them when discussing options. You will also need to know this information to avoid becoming a commodity contractor by just giving them a price on what they thought they needed. You know, just like pretty much every commodity contractor does every day.
Can we talk about your budget for this project?
Let them know you will either need to get a realist budget from them in order to help them, or that you can let them know what they should assume for a budget. But, be clear that a requirement of getting together will be to discuss and decide if there is a fit between their budget and the scope of work they would like completed.
Can we talk about how you plan to make your decisions?
You need to get their commitment to discuss how they will decide about important project details as well as which contractor they will ultimately partner with. If you don’t know how they plan to make these decisions how can you possibly help them make decisions and why should you be surprised when they don’t or can’t decide?
If they don’t know how they plan to make decisions think of it as your job to help them figure that out. That alone can help differentiate you from the commodity contractors.
Setting the agenda shows you’re serious and filters out the commodity buyers
Many of my consulting clients are now using what I call “the agenda step” as a way to prequalify who they are willing to visit. By creating this agenda they essentially give their prospects some homework to do to get ready for the visit. After my clients get good at setting the agenda they experience much better close ratios and they all report selling to much better customers. They also report most of these better customers are also willing to pay higher prices.
After setting the appointment several of my clients even send a follow-up appointment confirmation email documenting the agreed agenda.
One more thing to keep in mind
Good customers who are willing to have honest discussions and are willing to pay more for “different” hang around with other people just like them. After successfully putting the agenda step in place at your business, like my clients, you will probably get referrals to more good customers who will pay more for different.