Many times, your competitive nature can get the best of you. And this desire to win can be the downfall of your business. Underbidding a competitor or over-promising a client can really get the blood going but these are really high stakes decisions you're making. Fears of not getting a job, fears of not meeting a deadline, and even just having a small crowd around can incite your desire to compete and try to win.
Stepping away from a heated negotiation is not a sign of weakness or a failure of any kind. It is a sign of intelligence and leadership. Realize that this is not a war and your rival is not really the enemy. This is business and your company needs to be around for a very long time. I'm sure you're aware of the success rate of most contracting businesses within this industry. It's not good.
Don't make spur-of-the-moment decisions just to meet a deadline. Bruce Springsteen once said, "A release date is just one day, but the record is forever." A deadline is one day but your decision could affect you for quite a long time.
The best way to gain the respect of any crowd is to know when to walk away for the best of your business. Try to go into any negotiation with set maximums and don't go beyond them at any point.
Cut into your profits and you cut out the heart of your business.
Hang On To Your Workers
- Whether the worker is a technician, salesperson, subcontractor, or secretary you want to make sure he or she is invested in your company. But not in a monetary way (although, it does help.) It's important to empower your great workers. Empowered employees are generally happier and stay with a company longer. Empowered means you give them goals related to the success of the business, give them chances to be more creative in what they do, give them access to the same resources as everyone else, and give them the chance to organize their own time.
- Praising good work does not make good workers stop working hard. Give those special employees special recognition when they deserve it. People not only enjoy a job well done, they enjoy being recognized for it.
- People work to take care of their families. Keep family emergencies and situations in mind and allow them time to work things out. Don't let anyone take advantage of it but when they understand you know that family is important, they will go to the ends of the Earth for you.
- Let the best work with the best. If you bring in rude or abusive clients only to force your best workers to deal with them, just for the sake of a buck, you could lose these people. There will always be difficult relationships in any business, but bring back a disrespectful client or not helping in a bad situation will push quality employees away.
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It is why some people choose a familiar company or product over an obviously better choice. When you're explaining your services to clients, keep the risk factor in mind. They may not pick your company because it involves taking a chance.
How Do You Overcome Risk?
- Try to take risk out of the equation. Whenever possible, provide a guarantee. Money back guarantees or satisfaction guarantees go a long way to letting clients feel more comfortable taking a chance on you.
- Allow people to try out your products, if you can. A trial or test of how a product works or how a material looks over a period of time can do wonders. You might even be able to promise them that you will remove or replace a product for free if they're not happy.
- Another option is to prove your experience. Risk goes away when people are convinced they are dealing with an expert. Provide testimonials, before and after photos, references, awards, associations you may belong to, and more. If they can see you are a specialist or good at what you do, you have a better chance of closing the deal.