There are probably a number of reasons why you became a contractor. Maybe you loved working with your hands; maybe you loved helping people; maybe you took over the family business but can’t imagine doing anything else.
There are a lot of reasons why contractors become contractors but I’ve never heard a contractor say, “I became a contractor because I loved selling stuff to people.
Selling: The good, bad, and ugly
Selling is such a key part of being a contractor: you have to sell homeowners on why they need projects done. And, even though your services are ethical and delivered as best as you can, it can sometimes feel slimy to try to persuade and convince a customer to buy.
Selling can often create a misalignment in your work: you’d probably rather just go in and do a great job and have a happy customer at the end rather than sitting down at the customer’s kitchen table and trying to convince them to invest in their home.
Unfortunately, when there’s a misalignment like this and when you don’t love this aspect of your work, you’ll struggle at it and you’ll delay doing it and you might even not close as many deals as you’d like to because of how slimy sales can feel.
But as long as you’re a contractor who has services to sell, you’re forced to endure this part of the job in order to get to do all the parts of the job that you enjoy… right?
If selling feels slimy to you, you’ve probably been taught to do it all wrong. Sure, it might have worked for someone else but when you learned to do it, you probably learned to do it their way… in a way that felt okay to them (even if it didn’t feel okay to you).
Here’s the good news: you can stop selling; you can do something that feels far more aligned with who you are, and you’ll end up closing more deals in your Contracting business, too.
Stop selling. Do this instead…
If you think of selling as trying to persuade and convince a customer to buy from you, stop thinking that way. Don’t just change how you think of selling, change how you think of your work.
Step 1. Always begin with a mindset of serving. As a contractor, you serve people. You help them. You provide them with a safer, more comfortable, and more beautiful home. That is a service you provide and customers want it—and they need your professional expertise to get it. So, your very existence as a contractor is based on serving people with something they want and need.
Step 2. Educate. When it comes time to sit down with the customer at their kitchen table, don’t think of this as a time to convince them of anything. Instead, think of this as a time to educate them. Your job here at the kitchen table is to show them what their options are. Chances are, you know they have several options… including services you offer and maybe even services that someone else (including a competitor) offers. At the kitchen table, educate them on what they need to know about each option (perhaps your options are better; perhaps a competitor’s options are better). Give the customer the tools to understand how to make a great decision.
Step 3. Facilitate a Decision. You’re at the kitchen table… you’ve educated the customer… now it’s time to facilitate a decision. In selling, you make the decision and try to convince your customer to take action on that decision; but in this new method, you’ve educated the customer and now you simply help them make a great decision… their decision. Customers need help because they might be focused on the price or they might be distracted by the overwhelming number of options so it’s up to you to help them see what their most important decision-making factors are. Do they want a solution that gives them a safer and more comfortable home? If so, how do they get that? Help them to keep the most important thing at the top of their mind but let them make the right decision for their family.
When you do this, two things happen:
1. You may actually send some deals over to your competitor because the customer will realize that your competitor has the right option for them. That’s okay because your customer will be shocked at your willingness to serve them no matter what and they’ll tell their friends and family about the experience.
2. You will ultimately close more deals because you transform the traditionally unsavory experience of the sales conversation into a serving conversation where the customer feels that they are in control and fully understand how to make the best decision for them.
Enjoy your work!
I meet a lot of contractors who enjoy most of their work… except for that sales conversation with the customers. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Both you and the customer don’t like a sales conversation… so stop having them.
Instead, start serving the customer by educating them and by facilitating a decision. You’ll actually start looking forward to this part of your customer interactions because it will feel far more aligned with who you are and why you are a contractor.
Mike Agugliaro is a Business Warrior on a mission to change the lives and businesses of service business owners. Mike and his business partner started and grew a struggling home service company into a multi-million dollar empire before selling the company in 2017. Today Mike is an author, speaker, and mentor; and he's the co-founder of CEO Warrior, a high level coaching and training organization for home service businesses. Learn more about Mike and CEO Warrior at www.CEOWARRIOR.com.