You show up to a prospect’s house and give them an estimate for some work. You know you’re probably one of three contractors giving estimates, but the prospect is evasive about who they’re going to hire. Then you never hear from them again.
Did their needs change? Were you overpriced? Or the worst thought of all; if those are the prospects who are calling you, what about the ones who aren’t calling you at all?
Competition — for some contractors, it’s a pain in the neck. You’ve got the low-cost providers who swoop in and seem to steal every project because they undercut all the other estimates. Or you’ve got those really slick bigger companies that look like a million bucks and can afford costly marketing.
But most contractors are in between—trying to earn an honest living with fair prices, but without the massive marketing budgets of larger companies. If that describes your company, you might be wondering how to out-compete the other contractors in your market, so you can win more business and grow your company.
Here are four ways that you can instantly out-perform your competitors:
No. 1: Improve your service: Spend more time serving and educating your prospects. Ask more questions. Provide them with useful information. Give them choices. Walk them through the steps to making a great decision for their home. Educate them on how to choose a great contractor and what they should be looking for to evaluate contractors against each other. Help the prospect see not just the one project they want an estimate for but how they can plan several projects ahead with your help.
And don’t forget the little touches, too: bring them coffee, ask about their pet, find out what they love about their home, use their name when talking to them.
No. 2: Have an impact in the community: Adopt a cause and make it a key part of what you do and why you do it. Select a local charity and contribute generously to it — both money and time. For example, donate a portion of all proceeds to a local charity, raise funds among your team members, and even have some of your team members to donate some of their time to the charity, if appropriate.
Your customers will love that you have a larger focus than just making money, and you’ll feel good (and even get some good public relations exposure, too).
No. 3: Ask for referrals: This is one of those steps that every contractor knows they should do, but they never do it. You can almost instantly change the game for your business by getting referrals from every customer. When the project is complete, ask the customer who else they know that you can help. Ask for their names and contact information, or provide an incentive to the customer for anyone they send to you to get an estimate.
However you do it, this is such a simple step, and it can dramatically improve your business if you only take a few extra seconds to ask. Don’t forget to equip your team with the words and resources to ask for referrals as well.
No. 4: Call back your old customers to do more work. I always say that “there’s money in your list.” You have a list of past customers who have enjoyed the work you did. Don’t ignore them or wait for them to call you. Call them back and proactively make recommendations based on what they hired you to do the first time.
These customers are more likely to buy from you because they bought in the past, and they are instantly more profitable because you don’t have to spend marketing dollars to get them. Plus, staying in touch keeps you at the top of their minds. Even if they don’t need your services now, they’ll be more likely to call you instead of your competition when they are ready.
Summary: Your competitors are working hard in the market. And, every time they win business that you didn’t, that’s money out of your pocket. Fortunately, you can out-perform even the biggest competitor with the deepest pockets, and you can start instantly and benefit from it this week by simply implementing these four strategies in your business today.
Do it now, before your competitor reads this article and does the same thing.
Mike Agugliaro is the “Business Warrior” and founder of CEO Warrior, a business consulting, training and mentoring firm, providing tested and proven methods to defeat the roadblocks that prevent small to mid-sized businesses from achieving their ultimate success. He has played a key role in building Gold Medal Services’ success, as co-owner of the company. For more information about CEO Warrior, visit www.CEOWARRIOR.com.