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Great Way to Filter Through Leads and Get Better Remodeling Customers

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Wed, Jun 01,2016 @ 05:00 AM

Prequalifying Remodeling Leads

 

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?

How to prequalify remodeling leadsYou 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?

how remodelers can set a sales call agendaYou 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.

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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.

If you want some help improving your sales results contact me today!

 

Topics: Sales Considerations, Differentiating your Business, Earning More Money, Lead Generation, Prequalifying, Creating Referrals

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

Now Might Be a Good Time to Remodel How and Why You Do Marketing

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Jun 16,2015 @ 10:03 AM

Now Might Be a Good Time to Remodel How and Why You Do Marketing

marketing ideas for remodelersOn April 2nd, 2015 I presented a half day marketing workshop titled "Choosing and Targeting the Right Customers and Projects Types for Your Business". The workshop was billed as the keynote session for the Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC) annual trade show in Minneapolis.   At the workshop I shared new ways contractors can think about and do their marketing so they can attract their desired customer and job types. It’s what I call strategic marketing.   For those of you who missed the workshop here are some of the key points we discussed at the workshop.

 

BATC Builders and Remodelers Show information Take advantage of the timing 

The economy and residential construction are both picking up.  At the same time the majority of attendees agreed with me in that we are not yet confident that the pace of the current surge will be sustainable considering the uncertainties businesses and consumers still have about the economy.  With that in mind this is however a good time to take advantage of the surge to concentrate on developing market share in a strategic way.  It’s my opinion that most contractors would benefit from becoming a specialist in what they do and how they do it.  After all specialists typically command higher prices than generalists.  And, true specialists are always in demand, even in down economic times. Now is a good time to specialize, as long as you also work on branding to establish and maintain your position as a specialist in your desired market areas.

 

Here are some specific tactics contractors can consider and use to strategically build market share

Pick your customers, don't let them pick you:

marketing strategies for remodelersStop taking just any customers and jobs.  Be selective about who you will let become your customers.  For example why not only work with people who would say they are "working with" you, not those who would say you are "working for them".   Also, be selective about the project types you go after.   For example why not attract people who want high quality products.  If you sell using one markup across all cost categories the gross profit dollars earned on material intensive projects due to higher price point products is an easier way to meet overhead and net profit goals, both now and in the future, particularly when compared to selling and producing labor intensive projects.

Stop competing, differentiate:

I don't understand why contractors think they have to compete and or be competitive.   For most construction business owners competing means bidding. Home owners who seek bids are typically like auctioneers, except they are looking for the lowest price, not the highest.  And, rather than try to be better than your competition, why not seek to be different from your competition.  Being different attracts attention and consumers who want different also know they have to pay more to get different.  
One key to being different and attracting positive recognition for it is to concentrate on how you do what you do to demonstrate your difference, rather than work on what you do to differentiate.  One example of potential differentiation could include offering true Design/Build as an alternative to the traditional design-bid-redesign and bid again game. Another example would be helping prospects develop project specifications with the agreement that you will come back to present your proposal and solutions, but you will not leave them behind unless they sign your proposal and give you the required deposit.  

 

Being different comes with pros and cons

If you decide to use these example strategies many prospects will go away.  However, the ones that see value in your differences will become cogs in your new referral generating machine and will pre-sell the value of your differences to their referrals so you won't have to.  I call those types of referrals "layups".

 

Think of how you do marketing in a new way

marketing for remodelersThe old traditional marketing methods of trying to find prospects who want your services now and interrupting them to get their attention no longer work.  Today consumers are the ones deciding how they will find and qualify their project ideas as well as the contractor they will work with.  Instead use inbound marketing tactics that help consumers find your business.  This should be one of the two primary purposes of your marketing and can be accomplished on your web site using SEO tactics and good content on your site’s pages as well as your blog.  The other primary purpose of your marketing, particularly at your web site, should be to help prospects decide if what you offer and how you do business are right for them.  In other words your marketing should help them prequalify themselves so they either want to contact you or know they shouldn't.

 

Final Thought- Marketing shouldn't just be limited to creating leads

At the workshop I also shared one more new way to use your marketing; to advance the sales process.  Consumers want to gather information and ideas about their project, but they want to be sure they are getting accurate and useful information.  Savvy contractors are now using the content at their web sites to educate consumers before they call to setup an appointment with a contractor.  This saves both the prospect and the contractor a lot of valuable time.  In addition to offering project and product related information, you can also educate them about how and why you do business the way you do. Sign up to join our mailing list  This can not only speed up the sales process, it can also help clearly differentiate your business and therefore improve the quality of your leads.

 

 

Topics: New Business Realities, Contractor Training, Success Strategies, Sales Considerations, Differentiating your Business, Marketing Ideas, Web Site Related, Marketing Considerations, Customer Relations, Business Planning

Contractors, Is Your Pricing Really Fair?

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Fri, Apr 10,2015 @ 06:00 AM

Contractors, Is Your Pricing Really Fair?  

Fair pricing for construction servicesI often hear contractors say they offer fair pricing.   When I ask them what they mean by that most really can't provide a logical answer, or their answer is subjective. It got me to thinking about what fair pricing really is.  I came up with three considerations I think make a contractor's pricing fair to their customers, but also to their business as well as their employees.  Let me know what you think.

 

#1: Your markup is established using math, not a Wild Ass Guess (WAG)

Your pricing will be fair if the markup your company uses to price your projects is based on a budget that identifies your true overhead costs for running a professional operation and a respectable net profit.   I suggest if you run your business, but don't work in the field, you shoot for a salary at 10% of your produced volume as well as a 10% net profit for the risk of being in business.  Remember, if you don't work in the field your salary is considered overhead.  If you do work in the field be sure to split your time and related salary appropriately between direct job costs before markup for your hammer swinging activities and the balance for your time under overhead for your business management efforts.

Your overhead will be fair if you include enough money to properly manage your business, market to the right customers and adequately staff your office so you’re not a slave to your business.  Therefore, your price will be fair if your markup is fair. Click here to read an article on how to calculate your markup using simple math.

 

#2: You pay and treat your employees as professionals

Fair pay for construction workersI would suspect most contractors work for customers who have good jobs offering decent pay for the job performed, workers compensation coverage, benefits like vacation and holiday pay so they can enjoy life, health insurance so they can stay healthy and retirement contributions so they can save for a comfortable retirement.  I bet if their employers took any of those things away from them “it wouldn’t be fair”.

Therefore your pricing is fair if it includes enough money to offer those same things to you and your employees.   Perhaps remodeling prospects who don’t think paying enough so you can offer those things aren’t being fair to you and or your employees when they hire contractors who pay their employees under the table or as 1099 subs.

 

#3: When consumers buy from illegal businesses they aren’t being fair to any of us.

Home owners who work with illegally operating contractors aren’t being fair.   If contractors ignore RRP requirements, that’s their choice, but it’s not fair to legal business, or to those who end up getting lead poisoning as a result.   When they buy from unlicensed contractors when licensing is required, or purposely do the work without a building permit, that’s not fair. And when they knowingly work with contractors who operate this way, then sue them because they can, that’s not fair either.

If you and your business comply with these things and many others such as OSHA regulations and payroll taxes at your business, and charge appropriately for them, it is my opinion that your pricing is fair.

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Are my article and my opinions fair? 

Question_of_the_day-wr

Let me know what you think. Did I miss some things you think should be considered regarding fair pricing?  Do you disagree with my thoughts? If you don’t share your opinions, maybe you’re not being fair either?

 

 

 

Topics: New Business Realities, Margin and Markup, Sales Considerations, Business Considerations

How to Keep Bubba From Bidding On Your Plans and Specification

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Apr 02,2015 @ 08:33 AM

How to Keep Bubba From Bidding On Your Plans and Specification

Protecting plans and specificationsDon’t you just hate it when a prospect you expected to do business with gives your detailed plans and or specifications to another contractor?   That’s bad enough, but isn’t even worse when they give the job to the other contractor and that guy would never have been able to offer the work or price the job without your specs?

Here’s a quick look at the simple process I share with my coaching clients to help them remove themselves from that frustrating way of selling.

 

Consideration #1: Do they already have them or do they need them?

If you have a good sales process and approach you can find out if your prospect has or even needs plans and or specifications. Simple projects may not require elaborate specifications to price them.   If your prospect’s project needs specifications to properly price it, and or if your prospect needs specs in order to make a buying decision, you will have to decide whether you will leave the specs if they do not buy from you or you will take them with you when you leave.

 

Consideration #2: Do they see a value in your expertise?

The next time your prospect needs plans and or specs to make a decisions try asking them something like this:

Remodeling sales advice“Will you need help discussing and specifying the details and products to be used in your project in order to make good decisions about your project and how much money to invest in it?”

 

Assuming they say yes, you could respond with something like:

“That makes sense. If I were to help you do that could we set up a time for me to come back and review what I put together for you and get a decision from you about working with my company or not?”

Again, assuming they say yes, you can now let them know the information will remain your company’s property if they choose not to work with your company.

If you choose to not leave your proposal with prospects unless they commit to your company, it is imperative this policy be discussed with your prospects during the initial sales call. Your policy should not become a surprise to them when you come back to present your proposal. Surprising them will likely erase any trust or confidence they have in you and your process.

 

You are presenting, not emailing proposals, right?

 

Confirm your policy inside your proposal

Construction proposal adviceHere is some sample language you can consider using inside the remodeling proposals you create for prospects. This information is for your reference only. Be sure you have it reviewed by your own legal council before using it.

 

Sample text:

This proposal and any related plans and specifications shall be for the exclusive use of; and will remain the property of “Construction Company” until a Construction Contract agreement for the proposed work is reached between both parties. The acceptance of this agreement will require the owners’ signature(s) and payment in full of the specified deposit.   If this proposal is not accepted at the time of presentation, owner(s) are welcome to view all plans and specifications at the contractor’s office at a mutually agreeable time.

 

This language is best used at the beginning of your proposal so you can remind your prospect about your policy very early during the proposal presentation meeting. If they have a problem with your policy, the one they should have already agreed to, you can discuss their concerns and both of you can decide whether it makes sense to continue presenting and discussing the rest of the proposal.

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Need a new sales process and or a sales coach for yourself or your sales staff?  

Send me an email now. I’d be happy to set up a time to discuss what you are looking for and let you know if I can help.

 

 

Topics: Contracts, Sales Considerations, Estimating Considerations, Plans and Specifications, Creating Referrals

Selling Bathroom Remodels? Talk to Homeowners About These 3 Important Aspects

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Sat, Feb 07,2015 @ 11:51 AM

Selling Bathroom Remodels? Talk to Homeowners About These 3 Important Aspects

Selling bathroom remodelingBathroom renovations make homes more modern, but the return on this investment is lower compared to other home remodeling projects. The average amount recouped from a mid-range bathroom project (those costing around $16,000) upon selling is 70 percent of total costs, according to Remodeling magazine. Kitchen remodeling projects recoup about 80 percent of costs, as do siding and windows replacements.

Contractors can do themselves and their clients a favor by helping them decide on the particulars of their projects to maximize ROI and aesthetic value. Homeowners are more likely to close deals with contractors looking out for their best interests versus one simply looking to make a profit.

 

The Money Conversation

Selling bath remodelsMost homeowners already have a budget in mind for their bathroom renovation. This is where a contractor's expertise can win the trust of prospective clients.

The National Kitchen and Bathroom Association recommends bathroom renovations cost between 5 and 10 percent of the home's total value. The bill not only includes materials and labor, but back-end expenses like supplies, legal services and secretaries. Thus, homeowners should feel comfortable and confident paying $25,000 for a bathroom remodel in a $250,000 home.

If another contractor is offering to do the same job for far less, emphasize to the prospective clients that they will ultimately get what they pay for. When contractors lower final costs simply to close deals, they are cutting costs elsewhere to make up the difference. Always provide detailed, itemized estimates, so prospects can compare your market-value offer to bargain-basement options.

 

No Rearranging

Some ambitious homeowners may envision moving the toilet where the tub once was and adding a second sink for a his-and-hers effect. But unless they have an unlimited budget, it's not a good idea.

Janice Costa of Kitchen & Bath Design News told HGTV that the quickest way to make final costs skyrocket is relocating the plumbing. A new sink in a different location means a new hot water pipe must be added. A new toilet waste pipe can add upward of $1,500 or more to the final bill. Moving the vent stack—which regulates air pressure in the drainage system for multiple-story homes—could add up to $10,000 to the final bill. Keep the existing plumbing to keep costs down.

 

Choosing Materials

Since most bathroom remodeling projects require ripping into the floor, new tile is inevitably going to be part of the job. Safety-conscious homeowners—particularly those with elderly family members—will want flooring that looks good and mitigates injury risk.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are 85,000 bathroom slips and falls resulting in hospitalization every year. Tiles with textured surfaces and matte finishes are best to prevent these types of injuries. Smaller tiles with more grout lines are also recommended.

how to sell bathroom renovationsA common theme for master bathrooms these days is removing the tub altogether in favor of a spa. Of course, there are caveats when it comes to installing an indoor hot tub—for starters, they are large and difficult to get indoors, and many must be installed on a ground floor due to their weight. In addition, there could be problems with humidity levels when the spa cover is removed and floor damage if the unit leaks, according to Hot Tub Works.

When choosing faucets and fixtures, the quality comes down to the material they're made of. Brass is the most expensive but also the most durable, particularly in homes with hard water. Zinc-alloy faucets will corrode eventually and need replacing. Chrome-plated faucets are durable but require a lot of maintenance to maintain their shine. Avoid faucets with plastic cores altogether.

Homeowners know contractors need to make a profit. But the more information you give them upfront, the more they'll entrust you to do the job.

 

Brian WilkinsGuest Blogger: Brian Wilkins is an Arizona State University journalism grad who has worked as a radio broadcaster and banking industry professional. He is an independent journalist, blogger and small business owner who loves life. He lives off-the-grid and has not owned a TV in more than six years.

 

Topics: Managing Allowances, Sales Considerations, Guest Blogs, Plans and Specifications, Design Options

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

The Advantages Of Design Build For Remodeling Clients

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Jun 24,2014 @ 06:00 AM

The Advantages Of Design/Build For Remodeling Clients

couple looking at plans wr

 

Selling Design/Build isn’t easy. Many consumers haven’t heard about it and most of those who have really don’t know that much about it. If you want to sell Design/Build, or for that matter sell any product or service, you must let the buyer  know what benefits it will have for him or her.

Rather than put on a dog and pony show for your clients, take time to uncover their real concerns, underlying motivations and project requirements. Then share with your clients those advantages of the Design/Build process that address what you have uncovered, provided you are confident in taking on those responsibilities. As more contractors and consumers come to understand and realize the benefits of the Design/Build process, selling and buying the concept will become easier for everyone.

To be successful with Design/Build consider the client’s advantages and the Design/Builder’s responsibilities described within this article as interdependent.

 

Single Source Responsibility

Perhaps the most appealing and easy to recognize advantages that Design/Build offers are the convenience and comfort of one-stop shopping. The client looks to a single entity to take full responsibility for design, construction and satisfactory completion; delivering the project on time and on budget. As a natural consequence there is less finger pointing because as ideas are generated, all team members make decisions with a cooperative approach. This means greater efficiency, cooperation instead of conflict, and a better project for the time and money invested. When this team approach works well, it fosters an enjoyable and mutually beneficial way of doing business for the client and the Design/Build team of professionals. As the design phase of the project moves forward, all parties get to know each other while working out and establishing the terms of the relationship. This establishes trust as well as a mutual respect for the realities of living through a project, long before the dust takes over, rather than trying to do so while the dust is created. These advantages are often removed or compromised if those involved, including the client, work separately of each other during the design stage.

 

Cost Control

Advantages of design build for consumersTrust is the key consideration here, and can become the client’s most valued benefit.  Provided that a realist budget is established and agreed upon prior to entering into a Design/Build agreement, the Design/Builder takes on the responsibility of protecting the budget as design happens. Do not sell this as an advantage unless you are confident that you and the client agree on the scope of work. Savings and or budget control are then achieved through better planning. The Owner can exercise his desired degree of control over design, with the added advantage of knowing the cost implications of each decision as it happens. In the client’s eyes, the trust will be broken if he or she sees the Design/Builder as the cause for going over budget. It’s their money, not yours. To avoid this perceived breach of trust, before you offer or entertain alternate design ideas that will increase costs, ask your client for permission to spend more than the agreed budget.

Promising your clients cost control must be backed up with design and construction expertise, as well as the company systems required, to know what should (or will not) be included and how much it will cost. By having this ability, professional fees such as engineering or surveying are kept to a minimum as they can be determined before beginning design of the project. The client benefits by having a guaranteed maximum price that is set as soon as the scope of the project is determined.

download shawn's free sample design build retainer agreement

Quality Control

Quality of the design and construction of the project can happen by default if the Design/Builder’s team is working “together” to meet the client's performance requirements. The architect, engineer, and contractor are able to focus on the project, with an emphasis on quality, rather than protecting their own individual interests. The lines of communication are simplified and the chances for misunderstandings are reduced. The construction expertise of the contractor and the design expertise of the design professional are melded together to produce a greater value for the owner than that which might be realized if both were working independently, perhaps in a vacuum. Additionally, quality is maintained by the discovery of most problems before starting and the implementation of real solutions.

 

Quicker Delivery Time

Design Build speeds up construction

 

The client saves time and trouble by dealing with a single source for all matters rather than separately with a contractor, an architect, an engineer, and subcontractors. Bidding periods and redesign time are eliminated. Overall time to design and build the project is substantially reduced because design and construction activities overlap. The contractor can proceed with early procurement of critical materials and scheduling of labor and subcontractors for greater effectiveness. This means the project can be on the contractor’s production schedule sooner.

If it is necessary to meet client’s deadlines, Design/Build lends itself readily to "Fast Tracking", where construction begins while detail drawings are still in process. The project can be completed in less time because work can begin before all the elements of the design are complete. For example the foundation can be completed to beat the frost, while the selection of windows and doors and how they will be detailed have yet to be completed. This fast tracking can reduce the owner’s interim financing costs and will permit the owner to occupy the project at an earlier date.

 

Topics: Advantages of Design/Build, Defining Design/Build, Sales Considerations, Design/Build Process, Differentiating your Business

Marketing Strategies For The 5 Stages Of A Remodeling Consumer's Buying Cycle

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Jun 19,2014 @ 06:00 AM

Marketing Strategies For The 5 Typical Stages Of A Remodeling Consumer's Buying Cycle

Marketing for remodelers

 

In a previous blog I wrote about how a contractor’s web site marketing can be used to speed up the sales cycle.   In this blog I offer specific marketing strategies remodeling contractors can use on their web site during each stage of a remodeling consumer’s buying cycle.  These strategies will help prospects figure out what is important to them and whether or not your business is the right one for them to work with.  These strategies will also help them get there a lot faster and save the contractor lots of time!

 

Awareness stage:

This stage is about driving traffic to your company web site.   The goal should be to make your visitors aware that your brand exists and of the products or services you offer. It’s also about helping them discover that they have a particular problem or need, which your company is qualified and able to help them with.  In this stage you publish blogs, articles, videos, and other regularly posted content that has been optimized using SEO tactics so they can find your web site using key words.


Research stage:

Marketing to remodeling consumersOnce a potential customer knows they have a need they’ll begin researching options for what they can or should do to fill that need. During this stage of their buying cycle you’ll want to provide them with white papers, checklists, and or e-books. The strategy should be to provide more in-depth content that describes the problem(s) they have and outlines step by step solutions—which your company just happens to be able to help them with.  This is also the lead generation stage. By keeping track of who downloads information from your site you can separate the consumers who are genuinely interested in what you offer and how you can help them from others who are just casually browsing your site.

 

Comparison stage:

This is where the prospect begins actively seeking out a solution to their problem and a contractor to do business with. They’ll be looking at your brand, but they’ll also be looking at other companies to see what options might be out there for them. You need to help them decide whether what you and your business provide will be the best solution to meet their needs and purposes.    At this stage you should provide them with case studies. Properly written, case studies explain how other people in the same situation went about solving their problem. 


Purchasing stage:

selling remodeling to consumers

 

In this stage the prospect is finally ready to take that last big step. To help them choose your company think of content you can provide to give them that little extra push in the right direction. What do other consumers have to say about your company? Why is working with you a good investment? To give your case studies credibility include past customer testimonials about why they chose your company as the best one to help them.

 

Repurchase stage:

If they choose your company and become a customer keep in mind the importance of keeping them as your customer. After completing their project keep in regular contact with them through periodic e-mails and newsletters to make sure they remember your company and the full list of what you do.  The goal is to make sure they think of you the next time they want to buy and know already that you can help them.  My experience shows that the most successful remodeling and construction companies are the ones that maintain relationships with their past customers.   Keeping your current customers is far less expensive and much easier than finding new ones all the time.

 


Topics: Sales Considerations, Marketing, Web Site Related

How A Contractor’s Web Site Marketing Can Speed Up The Sales Cycle

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Jun 17,2014 @ 06:00 AM

How A Contractor’s Web Site Marketing Can Speed Up The Sales Cycle

Web site help for remodelers

 

With the right marketing strategy and tools a contractor can turn his or her web site into a lead generation machine as well as a selling tool.  That's right.  Think of your web site as not just a place for consumers to find your business, but also a place where you can help them buy.

 

 

Make it a place where they can educate themselves

Educate them about your business as well as the many things they will need to consider about their project and about choosing the right contractor to partner with for their project.  By helping them do this at your web site two different outcomes are possible. 

  1. Attracting remodeling customersOne might be that they realize your business is not right for them.   This can save you and them a lot of time because you won’t need to get together in person to figure this out.  
  2. On the other hand, because of your content, the right prospects for your business will be much closer to making a confident buying decision by the time they ask you to come out and meet with them.

 

Every consumer has their own buying process

Research shows that consumers spend anywhere between 38-114 days doing their research and due diligence before they make the decision to go forward on a significant investment.   If you think of their buying process as their buying cycle, broken down into definable stages, you can strategically align the content of the marketing on your web site with what your target customers need to help them as they move through these stages and their research. 

Here are the typical stages of a remodeling consumer’s buying process:

  1. Awareness stage: remodeling buying cycle
  2. Research stage
  3. Comparison stage
  4. Purchasing stage
  5. Repurchase stage

In this follow-up article I explain how to strategically market to these consumers during each stage.

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Keep in mind that due diligence will be personal to every consumer. 

selling remodeling to womenNever assume what they should do or tell them what to do.   A key to this strategy is to offer options within your marketing and clearly explain the differences between them so prospects can confidently make their own decisions.   Remember, it’s all about them, not about you.   Helping them along and being a resource, rather than telling them what to do, will make you stand out as a trusted advisor.  Often times, because they are typically the main decision makers when it comes to purchasing remodeling, this strategy works particularly well with women.  Think about it.  How did it go the last time you told a woman what to do!  It’s about options and helping them compare them.


Summary

To help speed up the sales cycle with your prospects your goal should be to help them buy, not sell them something.  Put yourself in your prospects shoes.   Would you want to be sold?



Topics: Sales Considerations, Differentiating your Business, Marketing, Web Site Related, Prequalifying