One of the main things I hear contractors say is that leads are shoppers, tire-kickers, and tree-shakers. Some contractors think that homeowners are just wasting their time. The reality is, most homeowners have never made improvements of this magnitude to their homes. Many homeowners feel lost and unsure about where to even begin the process of finding a contractor they can trust...and they’re begging to be helped. It’s understandable that anyone who’s about to make a major financial decision on their home, like a new roof, a new kitchen, or even a new hot water heater, is going to make sure to make the best decision for themselves and their family.
The most successful contractors realize that shoppers are buyers! The difference between just giving an estimate on a project and actually closing the job can be as simple as recognizing these leads for the opportunities they are.
MAKE A GREAT IMPRESSION!
I hear a lot of feedback from homeowners (the folks who are looking to get work done) and it’s unfortunate to see how many jobs aren’t being closed for the smallest reasons. Subtle things can be the difference between whether you’re awarded the job or whether you’re just another contractor that gave an estimate.
This probably seems very sales 101, but it’s all about how you present and sell your services. Making a good impression is the key to being successful and closing jobs and I can’t talk about it enough. First impressions and last impressions (all impressions, really) to a prospective customer are what makes or breaks your chances of getting a job. Would you hire a guy that pulls up in a mud-covered vehicle, walks around the house, and just rattles a number off the top of his head? Of course not! A homeowner will feel more at ease when you show up in a clean vehicle and you’re wearing a clean shirt. When you pleasantly introduce yourself and which company you’re with, the homeowner will feel even more at ease. When they’re comfortable, you’ll also feel comfortable when you’re presenting your service to them.
The impression you make at the end of the visit is just as important. When you leave a potential customer better informed about the project and with a fair price of what it’ll cost, you’ve made a strong presentation for your company and should have the best chance to get the job. By making their shopping experience helpful, informative, and pleasant, you’ll turn most shoppers into your buyer.
Most people buy on trust. Earning a customer’s trust is earning their business.
One great way to establish trust is with referrals. I'm sure it is safe to say a previous customer is the easiest customer to sell because that trust factor is already there. Providing a potential customer with a list of 2 or 3 very happy customers to call while you’re at the house will really help the homeowner feel more comfortable about you and will start to build that trust. Once they hear someone else saying good things about you, they’ll be more receptive to what you are telling them and they’ll be more likely to choose you for their project. It’s shocking how many homeowners call us for referrals for our contractors. If they already have that from you, you’ll be ahead of the game.
THE POWER OF THE PRESENTATION
A good presentation is a core reason for success. People buy when they see the value of what they’re buying. Your explanation of all the details of the project and how it will all come together, is your best chance at building that value.
Explaining how the job will be done, what materials will be needed, how long it’s all gonna take, the post-construction cleanup process, the warranties, the financing...that all seems simple, right? Maybe to you because you do this all the time, but it’s a lot to take in for a homeowner. Most homeowners have never hired a contractor before and may feel confused and overwhelmed by everything. The homeowner will really appreciate it if you’re patient with them and focused on making sure they understand the process. This too, will help sway a homeowner when it comes time for them to decide who they’ll choose for their project.
During your presentation, take the time to ask, "does that make sense?" or "do you understand, or am I going too fast?" This will show them that you care and, more importantly, this will keep them engaged throughout, which will lead to them asking buying questions. The more engaged they are, the better chance you have at getting the job.
CLOSE THE JOB!
There’s an old saying that goes, “A closed mouth doesn't get fed.” You’d be surprised how many jobs are lost simply because they aren’t asked for. That’s why you’re there in the first place!
The most successful contractors write up a detailed bid sheet while they’re at the house which contains an itemized price list of the materials, the labor, and the total cost of the job. Go over it with the homeowner, line-by-line, and show them what it will all cost. Answer their questions and make sure they understand.
Then ask for their business. "Other than the price or payment, is there any reason I can't start your job today?" This is a beautiful, opened-ended question that most homeowners will answer. Some will say, “Yes, let's do it!” Others will give you reasons or concerns that you should be able to resolve. And some will explain they want to get other prices. Remember, it’s all about getting all their questions answered so they can make the best informed decision possible. If they say they want to get other quotes, encourage them to. It will show you’re confident in your price and presentation.
If you aren’t awarded the job right away, don’t miss the opportunity to set a follow up. Do your best to never leave a home unless you have a signed contract or an exact day and time to follow up. Find out when the next bid is taking place and explain that you’d really love to earn their business. Let them know you’ll follow up with them that day to find out where you stand...and then FOLLOW UP! Most jobs are lost due to not following up. It’s rare that a homeowner will call you back. Keeping your follow ups shows that you want the job and you’re capable of keeping your promises.
These tips will really help you land more jobs, but if you don’t get the job, view it as a learning experience. Finding out why they didn’t go with you can be very valuable and will help you improve for future appointments.
The most successful contractors apply these steps towards every lead they get. Now’s the best time to start turning shoppers into buyers...buyers who want to do business with you!
About the author: Paul Munn has been a valuable member of the Networx team for many years and is now a Senior Account Manager. His expertise and professionalism has made him a fan-favorite among our clients who are always better informed after talking to him.