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Is Your Business Ready For The Expected Surge In Remodeling Spending?

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Fri, Dec 23,2016 @ 03:58 PM

Is Your Business Ready For The Expected Surge In Remodeling Spending?

Puzzle pieces on money-WR.jpgRemember back in 2006 before the great recession how much work there was for remodelers?  Remember how busy you were and how easy it was to sell your services?  And, back then, there was a good supply of experience workers and subcontractors.  Then the recession came and things changed forever.  Well, the remodeling economy has become healthy again and is predicted to get even better for the next year.  According to one article in Qualified Remodeler magazine the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies predicts an 8% increase in remodeling spending between now and the end of 2017.  That means a lot more work for remodelers, but only if they and their businesses are ready for it.

Below are three things to consider if you want to be ready to take advantage of the surge in sales predicted to begin in the first quarter of 2017.  How you address the third one could make or break your ability to take advantage of the surge.

 

Decide what your price point will be:

Raising remodeling pricesWhen demand for services picks up so does the market price for those services.  If you have been selling on price and as a result haven’t been making enough money to live the lifestyle you desire, both today and when you eventually retire, now is the time to start charging more.  And, in addition to raising your prices, be careful how much work you say yes to. The point here is to make sure you don’t pre-sell a whole bunch of work at your current margins.  If you do you will prevent your business from being available to sell and complete work when demand and therefore job prices rise due to supply and demand. Although having a good backlog of work can be comforting, coming to realize you could be making a lot more money may lead to strong regrets.  Also, keep in mind that material and subcontractor costs will also climb due to supply and demand.  Make sure you estimate direct job costs based on when you will actually do the work, not what it would cost if you were doing it today.

Related article:

Why Building a Backlog of Work Could Cost Some Contractors a Lot of Money

 

Be selective about customers and job types

Targeting the right remodeling clientsThe surge in spending will lead to a surge in job leads. This will afford remodelers the opportunity to be much more selective about who they will allow to become customers as well as what job types they will accept from those customers.  Remember, the customers you serve will be sending you referrals. Those customers hang around with other people just like them.  If you work for customers who beat you up on price and micromanage how you do business, their referrals will likely want to do the same.  To avoid working for the wrong customers first define the profile of your target client.  Then, armed with that information, make sure you also have a great prequalify process to help you filter through you leads.  When it comes to job types be selective there too.   If you have been doing so I suggest you stop allowing customers to buy their own materials.  It may save money for them to do so, but at the same time it costs your business if you cannot get any margin on those materials.  Instead concentrate on material intensive project types like kitchens and baths.  Earning gross profit by selling more and more expensive materials is much easier than trying to do so by selling and managing labor.

Related article:

25 Sample Questions Contractors Can Use For Prequalifying Prospects

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Get your production resources ready

Carpenters_with_nail_gun-wr.jpgSelling the work and selling it at high margins is one challenge.  But in my option that’s a much easier challenge these days than trying to find and keep enough quality production staff and trade subcontractors to keep up with the work, and complete it with quality. Don’t wait until you already need the help to start looking for them.  Instead, recruit good workers now and test them out to be sure they are right for your business and your business is right for them. During the winter months many employees are let go or laid off by contractors who lack good sales and marketing skills. This makes the winter a good time to look for prospective employees because there are more to choose from and because their options of available jobs are limited. Use the next few months to vet out the good ones and send the underperformers back out looking for jobs. Using this strategy it’s likely you will be able to produce the work you sell much easier while your competition has to do the best they can with the workers you passed up and or let go.

Related article:

Afraid To Hire Employees For Fear Of Running Out Of Work For Them?

 

Topics: Sales, Hiring and Firing, Business Growth, Prequalifying, Creating Referrals

Getting Prospects to Buy Remodeling Services When the Investment Cost is Higher Than the Return

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Jul 21,2016 @ 05:30 AM

How to Get Prospects to Buy Remodeling Services When the Investment Cost is Higher Than the Return

Remodeling ROI

 

 

One of the selling points of a home improvement project is its projected return on investment.  But let’s say you’re talking to a potential client and you’re making a presentation for a home remodeling project. What if the client points out that he can’t get a 100% or more return on his investment? How can you still get him to buy your remodeling services?  Read on for some strategies that can help you get them to buy.

 

Your presentation should focus on the benefits they can get right away

  • Focus your presentation on the benefits that the homeowners will get once the remodeling project is done. For example if they’re considering an attic conversion, help them feel that the investment is worth it because they can get an extra living space and maybe use it as a bedroom. It’s surely more affordable than a new bedroom addition.

 

Treat the future return on investment as a bonus

Selling Remodeling ROIThe real returns on investment are the benefits they’ll experience as soon as the remodeling project is done. That’s what they’ll be paying for. As soon as they’ve realized that the benefits make the cost worth it, you can then tell them that as a bonus, they can recoup a good part of their investment when they sell their home in the future.

Of course, it wouldn’t hurt if you’ll mention it as if selling their home in the future will be out of the question with all the benefits that they’ll get to experience and love.

 

Condition the mind of the prospects to be appreciative of the price

What problems are going to be solved with the remodeling project? Will it solve the problem of lack of space, outdated fixtures, damages, etc.? Condition their mind in such a way that their investment is to solve these problems. Prospects will be more appreciative of the price when they’re conditioned to think that it’s going to solve their problems.

 

Focus on you as a remodeler

The National Association of Home Builders conducted a survey in the 70s that showed that price was 7th in the list of considerations of homeowners purchasing a new home or remodeling an existing one. The 1st on the list is the reputation of the company.

Sure, that survey was more than 4 decades ago, but it’s hard to think of homeowners not giving the company’s reputation prime consideration in their decision. Besides in a 2013 survey conducted by Houzz, 81% out of 100,000 respondents said that good reviews and recommendations are very important. In the same survey, 70% of the respondents said that expertise in their field is very important.

On the other hand, only 8% of the respondents said that getting the lowest cost option is very important.

Help them invest in you and not on your services. Point out to your credentials. Showcase your portfolio. Share the feedback that you’ve been getting. Address their fears.

 

Give them a detailed quote

Presenting a Remodeling proposal

You can’t just quote them without showing them what they’re going to get. Help them understand what they’re going to get. If they see a comprehensive list of needed products and services, they’ll be more open to the cost.

 

Help them lower the cost

If the cost is really important to them, you can help them lower the cost but not to the point of cutting into your profit margins. For example in a kitchen remodeling project, you can recommend painting the backsplash instead of tiling it. They can save thousands of dollars without you compromising your margins. It’s very different from lowering your overall fee and still sticking with tiling the backsplash.

Hopefully, these strategies will help you sign up prospects even if they’re having second thoughts due to the ROI that’s lower than the investment cost. To get a better understanding of the expected ROI of remodeling a home, visit Contractor Quotes to see the infographic on the topic.

 

Thomas Jepsen

 

Guest Blogger: Thomas Jepsen is the owner of the website Contractor Quotes which helps homeowners save time and money by putting them in contact with screened contractors in their area. Additionally, Contractor Quotes provides an array of articles on different kinds of home improvement.

 

Topics: Sales, Differentiating your Business, Customer Relations

Three Ways To Get Fewer Leads But Close More Remodeling Sales

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Jan 05,2016 @ 06:00 AM

Three Ways To Get Fewer Leads But Close More Remodeling Sales

Increase_sales-wrIf you have been getting business by providing free estimates for everyone who calls your business you are most likely wasting a lot of money making time. Are you really an expert in your industry if you have been letting those who buy from you tell you how to run your business?  If these things have been happening to you it’s time to recognize the value of your time and expertise.  It’s also time to limit offering them to only those who find value in what you offer, how you do so, and are willing to pay you well for your expertise. Here are three ways successful contractors reduce their lead flow, improve the quality of the leads they get, and sell more jobs at higher prices. Yes, it is true, read on!

 

#1: Describe your process on your web site and find ways to entice visitors to check it out.

Do you have a define process for how you do business?  If not, create it. If you do have a define process document it with words and pictures and put it on your web site.   By explaining how you do business on your web site you can save a lot of time and make more money because:

You won't have to explain it to everyone you meet, over and over again. If they have not yet checked out how you do business when they call your office send them a link to the "How we do business" page at your web site. Additionally mutually agree to when you will then call them back to see if they still want to meet with you.

contractor web site marketingBecause the information is presented in writing at your web site prospects won't be able to interrupt you as the typically do when you try to explain your process to them at live sales calls. If written well they will either recognize that your process works as a solution for them, or they will know why it’s not right for them. This can help you eliminate defending your process as you try to explain it to them live and in person.  If they don't like your process after checking out your web site they won't waste your time.

Related article: If One Of These People Asks, Can You Explain How Your Remodeling Company Does Business?

 

#2: Charge for creating specifications and a fixed price proposal

Another thing to explain at your web site is why estimates are free but a fixed cost proposal from you requires paying a fee.  Think about it.  An estimate is just a guess. Any experienced contractor should be able to provide a best guess estimated cost range for project types he or she has past experiences with.  In a logical way explain why you charge to go past a free estimate.  If they still call you selling your services to create the proposal will be much faster and easier.  If you want some guidance on what to write read on below. If you don't have a web site read on anyway to find out how you can still do this live and in person.

If they want a fixed price why not help them recognize what it will take to get to a fixed price. Help them discover, say and agree that plans and or specification will be needed before you or any other contractor can determine a fixed price for them. Help them identify whether they will need plans to visualize the project before being able to confidently commit.  Help them decide if they need help finding and differentiate between product options and their price points. Help them recognize the effort and hours you and your trade partners will need to dedicate to preparing a proposal for them.  If they recognize the need for these things you can then ask them if they would like to discuss your design and specification process; as well as how you charge for it.

Related article: Tips For Contractors On Ball Park Pricing and Charging For Estimates

 

#3: Require a return visit to present your proposal and get their decision

Remodeling sales tips to close more salesEven if you are not ready to charge for them, before committing to preparing plans, specs and a proposal make an agreement with your prospect. Let them know that to prepare a proposal for them you require coming back to sit down with both of them to review, discuss and get a yes or no decision on your proposal and about working with your company.   Remember, you will have more time to do this because by being more selective you will be creating fewer estimates and proposals. Those who won't meet with you probably aren't interested enough in working with you anyway.  Perhaps they were just hoping for more free ideas from you before hiring the cheapest contractor or performing the work themselves. If they won't commit to meeting with you to review your proposal that's one less you have to do; freeing you up to concentrate on those prospects who respect you as a professional and value your process.

Related article: Is A Contractor Really A Salesperson If He Or She Hits Send?

 

I know there will still be lots of non-believers after reading this article.

By committing to fewer estimates and proposals you will gain the time you need to put together and present proposals that differentiate your business from other contractors. By being different you will attract clients who want different.  Consumers who want different know they have to pay more to get it. Those who don't want different buy from the commodity contractors who sell on price

It was definitely my experience as a contractor that the three pre-qualification tactics I suggest here help reduce leads, increase lead quality, and at the same time increase sales.  Please help me out. If you have had success using similar strategies please share your successes here. I am hoping that third party endorsements from those of you who have experienced similar success will help me win over a few more believers!Subscribe to the Design/Builders Blog

Topics: Sales, Estimating, Differentiating your Business, Marketing, Prequalifying, Plans and Specifications

Checklist for Getting Ready to Hire Your First Remodeling Salesperson

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Jun 30,2015 @ 07:00 AM

Checklist for Getting Ready to Hire Your First Remodeling Salesperson

checklist-wrI have been working on the content we will be sharing with the attendees participating in our Construction Business Owner Education and Peer Group Program scheduled to begin in Bedford, MA in September at Middlesex Community College. One of the very important things that hands-on contractors who seek to become construction business owners need to get ready for is bringing on sales staff to help the owner sell an adequate volume of work as the business grows.   Below is a 10 item checklist contractors can use to help them get ready for this critical step in the growth of their businesses. From my own experience of hiring my first remodeling salesperson many years ago number 10 is the most important.

 

Contractor’s Checklist: Getting Ready To Hire Your First Remodeling Salesperson

  1. Make sure you already have a Marketing System already in place that generates enough quality leads for you and your new salesperson before you hire.
  2. Make sure you have decided on and have already implemented a Standardized and Documented Sales Process so previous customers and their referrals will enjoy a consistent experience and you can manage your new salesperson’s use of your system.
  3. Make sure you do a budget to determine the Markup and Margin you will need to sell and produce at to cover the cost of your new salesperson as well as the additional business overhead that comes with the changes.
  4. Hire a remodeling salespersonEstablish Sales Goals and a Performance Based Compensation Strategy you can share with candidates as you interview them and your business will use once they are hired.
  5. Make sure your financial system is setup as needed so you can accurately measure produced gross profit margins on sold jobs. It should also be set up to help you and your new salesperson accurately calculate sales commissions earned.
  6. Make sure you have the ability to perform Estimated to Actual Job Costing so you can be sure jobs are being properly estimated by or for your new sales person. Commission based sales compensations plans are impossible without this ability.
  7. Be clear on who will do the Estimating and how it will and needs to be done (formatted) so your production team gets what they need to build sold jobs on their own.
  8. After you do all of the above write a detailed and clearly explained Job Description for your new salesperson position so you can use it to attract, evaluate and manage your new hire.
  9. Have Quality Audit Forms ready to go that you can use to capture feedback about your new salesperson’s performance from the prospects who do not buy as well as the customers who do buy.
  10. Establish the “Go-No Go Criteria” you will use so you have predetermined how as well as when you will make the absolute decision to keep or replace your new hire.

 

As I indicated above I decided number 10 proved to be the most important consideration after debriefing my learning experiences with hiring a first salesperson. As one sales seminar speaker once quoted at a seminar I attended early in my career:

“Never carry an employee longer than his/her mother did!”

 

 

Topics: Sales, Remodeler Education, Success Strategies, Recruting, Business Growth, Sales Considerations, Breaking $1Million

Sales System Considerations for Remodelers Looking to Break $1Million

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Fri, Jan 23,2015 @ 06:00 AM

Sales System Considerations for Remodelers Looking to Break $1Million

Passing $1Million in RemodelingWell before attempting to break past $Million in installed sales remodelers and home improvement contractors should already have an established and tested sales system in place.  The system should be well defined. Those involved with selling, as well as supporting the sales department at your business, must be trained and held accountable to using it correctly and consistently.  

It’s also imperative to get a salesperson other than the owner in place and productively selling well before passing the $1Million threshold.   Doing this is important because the owner's time will most likely be pulled away from sales for more important activities as the business grows.  

Here are several important sales system related considerations for business owners looking to break past $1Million in installed sales.

 

Decide on how fast you want to grow your business  

Growth can't happen without sales, sales won't happen without talented sales staff, and having enough quality leads won't happen without a strategic and effective marketing plan in place.   All three of these things must be worked on consecutively and put in place as soon as possible to support a fast pace of growth. Remember, the biggest cause of remodeling business failure is growing the business faster than the systems needed to support that growth.


Choosing a sales system for remodelersDecide what Sales System you will use

I suggest you choose a known and proven sales system and sales trainer you feel will be a good match for your desired brand as well as your target customer type. If you are preparing to grow your business I recommend the owner take the training first. Then, after the business owner embraces the system new sales staff can be sent to the same training and trainer.

 

Put sales goals and metrics in place.

The markup your business uses to price projects should be based on two interdependent factors: the volume of business you plan to do and the combined cost of overhead plus planned net profit. By creating sales goals for the business, as well as each individual salesperson, you can track against those goals to be sure you will meet your planned volume of sales. Also, by having individual goals for each salesperson, you can support them and hold them accountable to achieve the goals and or decide you need to find their replacement. Hitting the goals will be important because coming up short on installed sales will mean you will come up short on the gross profit dollars you needed to earn to grow your business.   Your financial system should be designed to support measuring sales volume by salesperson and determine their commissions earned.

 

Summary: Remain committed to using the system!

Remodeling Sales system considerationsI want to stress that consistency of and with your company's sales approach will be really important as the business grows.  Without consistency it will be difficult for the owner to become a sales manager, or transfer sales management to someone else, because each sales person may approach selling in a different way.   And, without consistency of sales approach, repeat customers and their referrals may not experience what they expected when a new salesperson visits them. Plus, by having a consistent sales approach that successfully helps prospects buy the right solution, you can market the advantages of that sales system with confidence prospects will experience what they expect if they respond you your marketing.

 

(Note: This is the eighth article in a series of articles written specifically for remodelers who want to successfully break past doing $1M/year in installed sales.  Click here to see a list of all the published articles in the series.)

 

read blog articles about breaking 1 million

Topics: Margin and Markup, Sales, Business Growth, Sales Considerations, Creating Referrals, Breaking $1Million

Contractor Shares Sales Strategy, Justifies Emailing His Proposals

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Sep 30,2014 @ 06:00 AM

Contractor Shares His Sales Strategy, Justifies Why He Emails His Proposals

Milt Rye

 

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?   


 

Shawn,

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.

Sales strategy for contractorsFor 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.

 

Selling remodeling to busy clientsI 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.

Regards,

Milt Rye

 

Note:

Contractor opinionsIf 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.  

Thanks Milt!

 


Topics: Sales, Differentiating your Business, Guest Blogs, Opinions from Contractors

Is A Contractor Really A Salesperson If He Or She Hits Send?

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Aug 28,2014 @ 06:00 AM

Is A Contractor Really A Salesperson If He Or She Hits Send?

Helping contractors sell

 

If as a contractor you take the time to go out and meeting with a prospect, then you simply email or snail mail your proposal to the prospect, I don’t think you are really a sales person.  If you do this I think you are an order taker.   Now there may be a few exceptions to this.  But, before you rationalize why your situation is an exception, ask yourself this question first.  Is your justification for emailing your proposals really a “reason” or, is it an “excuse”?


I will offer one exception.  

If you are a contractor who gets his or her work by being the lowest price; then emailing is OK.  Essentially you are a commodity.  You are no different than any of the other contractors the prospects has met with.  People who buy on price only need to know about your price, not about your value.

Is being too busy to properly sell an excuse or the reason you are not earning enough money?


Are you selling your price or your value?

Let me be blunt and right to my point.  If you email your proposal (price) to a prospect you are probably confirming with your prospect that you and your business are simply a commodity.   By not presenting your proposal you have lost the opportunity to accomplish these very important sales goals:

  • Sales advice for contractorsAnother opportunity to differentiate yourself, your business and your solution and become a trusted advisor.
  • The ability to address objections, questions and concerns.
  • The ability to make changes or clarifications so your prospect can buy with confidence.
  • The ability to ask for their business.
  • I am sure you could add a few more here yourself if you really think about it.

 

Let me offer a simple analogy

Why contractors can't sell

 

Let’s pretend you are a carpenter who needs a job so you can pay your bills and feed your family.  Let’s also pretend I just happen to have a job opening right now for a good carpenter.  You call me up to ask about the job.  I tell you I’ll be in my office this afternoon and offer you can either email me your resume or come on down with it and we can chat.  What would you do?  If it was me, and I needed to feed my family, I’d ask what time I could come by.

 

Summary

Selling remodelingIf you are having challenges selling jobs and or getting the price you need to earn a good living and save for retirement, and you have been hitting send, I suggest you start presenting your proposal and price. In fact I suggest, before you commit to do the estimate and prepare a proposal, you schedule a specific date and time with your prospect to come back and present it.  That way you will save yourself a lot of time doing estimates and proposal for people who only see you as a commodity.


Topics: Sales, Differentiating your Business

Three Ways To Handle “Your Price Is Much Higher Than The Other Guy”

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Aug 14,2014 @ 06:00 AM

Three Ways To Handle “Your Price Is Much Higher Than The Other Guy”

Why is your price so high

 

 

Any contractor who has worn the salesperson hat has experienced the “Your price is much higher than the other Guy” objection.    Some contractors freeze up when they hear this, perhaps falsely assuming all prospects are only seeking the lowest price.   On the other hand there are contractors who look at objections as opportunities.  These contractors, rather than see the objection as ending the sales call, see it as an opening to take advantage of.   A no may mean no, but an objection means “I am still thinking about it and haven’t made a decision yet”.


Next time a prospect tells you your price is higher than someone else’s try these tactics to keep the conversation moving and see if your prospect could justify paying more.  Notice I said “tactics”, not responses.  If you memorize the responses you may miss out on understanding why the tactics work.   The response is not a tactic, just a way to accomplish the tactic.   Make sure your responses sound like they are coming from you and fit the context of the conversation you are having with your prospects.  

 

How remodelers can address the price is too high objection

 

Tactics contractors can use to address the higher price question

Tactic #1- Find out if you are you being compared to a business the prospect would never hire?

Many home owners collect bids from contractors even though having met with them they would never hire them.  Then they still use that contractor’s bid as a point of reference.  This is like comparing the cost of a Ford to a Dodge pickup truck even though you would never buy a Ford.  To find out if your prospect is making a false comparison try asking something like: “Is there a reason you haven’t already hired that other guy?”  Depending on their response you might want to move to tactic #2 below

 

Tactic #2- Find out if they are still looking for something they haven’t yet found

How consumer choose a contractorFor many home owners choosing the right contractor to work with is just as important as the quality of the workmanship.   Consumers who have already done remodeling and had a bad experience with a contractor are great candidates for this tactic.  The purpose of the tactic is to get them talking about what happened last time, how it affected them, and how they will feel if the same thing happens again.   With this prospect first ask something like: “Is there a reason you aren’t working with the contractor who did your…?”  If this reveals you are on the right track says something like “Why haven’t you already hired one of the other contractors you have met with so far.”   Then, depending on their answer and the context, consider saying something like: “Were you hoping I could do something different than the other guys?”  Now, at least with this prospect, you’re back in sales mode!  Move to tactic #3.

 

Tactic #3- Help them discover that getting something different comes with a different price.

No one wants to pay more than they have to for anything.  Take gas for example.  It’s a commodity; you can get the same thing all over the place so why pay more for it if you don’t have to?  If you have been successful with tactic #2 above, to get tactic #3 started ask something like: “But you probably couldn’t justify paying more to avoid those disappointments, right?” 

If they say no, or they say yes, ask them the same thing: “What do you think we should do at this point?”  By asking this question you will either give them opportunity to pay more and close the sale, or you give them the opportunity to say it isn’t going to work so you don’t have to be the one to say it.   Using this tactic can help you avoid the risk of being accused of not wanting to work for them.

 

Think about this next time you are worried about your price and your prospect’s reaction. 

How to get good referals from remodeling customers

 

People who buy on price hang around with a lot of other people just like them.  When you get referrals from customers who buy on price it’s likely their referrals will want to buy on price as well.   When you get referrals from people who are willing to pay more to get something different, it’s likely their referrals will pay more to get different as well.  You just have to help them discover the difference they are looking for.  

That’s why you need to learn tactics; not memorize responses!


 

Topics: Sales, Differentiating your Business, Prequalifying, Creating Referrals

Content Marketing Options For Contractor Web Sites

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Jul 17,2014 @ 06:00 AM

Content Marketing Options For Contractor Web Sites

Content marketing for contractors

 

Content marketing has become a great way for remodelers to attract prospects to their web sites.   By publishing content that your target customers would liking be searching for, and optimizing that content for SEO purposes, a business can help those prospects find and visit their web site.   Just getting them to your site won’t ensure a sale, but if you can get them to your site you can use additional content to help keep them there.  Content marketing alone won’t turn those prospects into customers, but if you can keep those visitors on your site you might be able to accomplish two very valuable marketing and sales goals.


Two goals for content marketing

How contractors can use content marketingThe fist would be to pre-educate prospects about your business, your products and or services, and how you and your team do business.   This can save a lot of time during the sales process.    By pre-educating them at your site on a variety of considerations using additional content, you will not have to spend as much time doing so at a live sales call.  Busy contractors can speed up the sales process and gain more time for other business activities if they invest in publishing the right content.

The second thing it can help you accomplish is prequalification.   Contractors can’t and shouldn’t assume every prospect will buy from them.   By using the right content at your contractor web site visitors can actually prequalify themselves.   If they like what they see and read, and they determine that what you offer and how you do business makes sense for them, they will likely contact you.  On the other hand they may decide yours is not the right company for them and move on to find a different contractor.   This too saves the contractor a lot of valuable time because the contractor will be spending less time qualifying and more time helping qualified prospects who are much more likely to buy.


Content marketing methods you can use

Content marketing can be done in a variety of ways including blogs, white papers, infographics, photos and many other mediums.   The infographic below offers a matrix of content marketing types.  PRWeb says they created this matrix to show how different types of content can appeal to different consumers and offers facts or suggestions about each. The top shows the different types of content, while the bottom explains how those pieces of content can be used.

Not all of them will be practical for all businesses, but it’s good to know what your options are and what other businesses may be using to do their content marketing.   Also, as your business grows you may want to eventually take advantage of additional content marketing methods to improve and or increase your marketing results.

 

small business content marketing infographic wr

 

Looking for help with content marketing?

If you’re interested in using content marketing at your web site but are not sure how to get started with it, let me know if I can help.   By working together I can help you better understand how and why to use it, and help you create a plan you can then present to your web site designer for getting it done.  I can even help you get the content written if you can’t or don’t want to do it yourself.

 

Topics: Sales, Marketing, Marketing Ideas, Prequalifying

Sell Naked, Then Put Your Clothes Back On To Get Your Product Samples

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Sep 10,2013 @ 06:00 AM

Sell Naked, Then Put Your Clothes Back On To Get Your Product Samples

Selling naked

 

 

I bet the title captured your attention and curiosity.  I’m glad because I think selling naked is an important consideration if remodeling contractors want to (1) differentiate themselves and their businesses from other contractors, (2) be strategic about who they will get referred to in the future and (3) make more money in the process. 

I recently discussed selling naked with a great group of remodelers who were attending an event call a “Remodeler Summit” sponsored by Marvin Windows and Doors and held at their Warroad MN Training Center.  During the two days I spent with these remodelers I shared the theory of selling naked and used what they learned about Marvin products and product options to help them take advantage of the three benefits I listed above.  The discussion went over well so I thought I’d share it here on my blog with you.


First some set up and then we’ll discuss 1, 2 and 3

Don’t take me literally and show at up your next sales call without any clothes on.  When I refer to selling naked I am suggesting that you do not take any product samples in with you when you go to a sales appointment.   Rather, before you bring anything in to show your prospect, spend time to find out what your prospect wants, why they want it and what they need to see to confirm you have what they want.  Then, if you have the right sample or information in your vehicle, go get exactly what you have that you feel will serve your prospects’ purposes and desires for why they are remodeling to begin with and try to close the deal.  If you have to get something other than what you brought with you, don’t try to close the deal yet.  Schedule a return visit to do so as soon as possible.

 

Marvin Remodeler SummitMarvin Windows Remodeler Summit Attendees, August 2013


This strategy is important because prospects only need one reason to say no.   If for example, they want a high performance window product, but you start out showing them a low end product, (or vice versa) they might just shut down right away.  They might be thinking the window sample you brought in is the only one you sell and as a result they may think you will try to convince them to buy something they don’t want.  That’s a reason to say no!

 

Differentiate yourself and your business from other contractors

Selling naked will definitely make you stand out!  Doing so forces the salesperson to have a thoughtful and meaningful conversation with the prospect. On the other hand most contractors make the false assumption that their prospects only want to save money.  This may be true, but what if they want the new windows to help them save money after they are installed.  That being the case they may want more expensive windows. For example, baby boomers may want windows that will last them through their retirement years without the need to replace them ever again in their lifetime.  Or maybe they want windows that will help them reduce their energy costs for heating and or cooling when they are on a fixed retirement income.  Also, if they haven’t considered the long term benefits of a better window, selling naked helps keep their attention on the discussion you are having instead of the product sample. 

They may not know it yet but you are doing them a favor by selling naked!

 

Be strategic about who you will get referred to in the future

getting good referals as a contractor

By practicing the art of selling naked you will, over time, start to see a change in who buys from you, and even more importantly, who you get referred to by those who buy from you.   People who buy on value rather than price usually hang around with other people just like them.   Use selling naked to help you find prospects and sell to customers who want solutions rather than low price.  Selling naked can help you find people who value a trusted adviser, people who want someone who can help them buy what they really need, not try to convince them of what they need.  If you do get referred be sure to ask the prospect what the referring party said that motivated them to contact you.  That’s probably a great place to start when you show up naked at their home!

 

Make more money in the process

When I owned my remodeling business it was always my experience as a salesperson that when prospects really understand their options for solving their problems they spend more money than they originally thought they would.   Armed with good information they stay away from the low cost options.  If, as a contractor, you markup up all your labor and materials by the same markup percentage, then material intensive jobs bring in more gross profit than jobs with a low cost for the required materials.  Selling a more expensive window and or adding options to windows that help make them solutions to the prospect’s purpose in replacing their windows means more money on every job, often without needing any more labor to do so.

 

Sell Marvin Window options to make more money

Is your prospect buying new windows or a better view?


Topics: Sales, Success Strategies, Creating Referrals