Wednesday

Contractors - You Can't Discount Quality

Some businesses charge low prices and use less expensive products. Others charge a premium for services and use high-end products. How do you survive during slow times when you perform quality work and charge a "pretty penny" for it?

When people have money to burn, getting clients is not difficult. At times like this, you have to think about how you and your sales team bring in new contracts. You not only have to bring a valuable service and end-product to the table, you have to start presenting your value immediately.

In your first conversation, explain your services are not cheap. Qualify them instantly by admitting you cost more than your competitors. You might lose people at first but you'll keep many by following up with the details that you use the best products, have the best technicians in town, and use the finest products known to man. In other words, you don't cut corners.

Next, let them know the competition is not only less expensive, they are cheaper. There is a difference. Follow with the fact your competitors work with anyone but your company only works with a handful of selected clients. That you provide warranties and guarantees. That you offer superior customer service from start to finish. In other words, the competitors cut corners.

Finally, seal the deal by never offering any coupons and discounts. How will the potential client know this? One, they've never seen a coupon from you and, two, you tell them. Remind them you cannot discount quality. That your business takes longer on the job than most because you put in more time and energy on every project. That your company stands behind every job you perform.

You will lose business because not everyone can afford you. But you will get more of the business you want because some want the best and are willing to pay for it.

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Thursday

If You Raise Prices, Do You Lose Clients?

Everything is costing you more. Fuel prices, supplies, materials, labor. To stay in business, many are going to have to raise prices. How do you do that without losing business? There are ways to do it so you don't lose existing and potential clients.

First, you must accept that if your pricing changes, you're going to lose some business. In tough economic times, many simply don't have the money to pay more. Those customers will need to be replaced and may come back in better days.

Next, you need to provide ample warning to your existing clients. Calling or sending out a newsletter, email, or flyer to let them know is a great way to keep them in the loop. Consider that you could use this as an opportunity. Since pricing will be going up, you could give them time to "get in" at the old price to save them money. At worst, it keeps your business name in their minds.

Also, you might consider baby steps. Instead of a massive one-time price increase, perhaps you could raise prices in small increments over time. 3 or 4 "nudges" in costs could be better than one big push.

Finally, you should explain the reasoning for the price bump. You don't have to open your books to them, but let them know that material costs, labor, and oil increases are killing your margins. Let them know you're not being greedy, you're being practical.

As with everything, try to do some research. If you're not offering one-of-a-kind products and unique services, you're not going to be able to raise prices higher than your competition. Price yourself too high and you'll go under.

Tuesday

Sales Advice - Ways to Make Them Talk

As a contractor, you can never have enough sales advice. Nearly every time you meet with or talk on the phone to a prospective client, you have the chance to earn more revenue. Being equipped with sales tools and techniques is how you land more contracts.

Sell the Sizzle
When you're talking with a client, you usually find out right away what they want. They want to remodel the kitchen, build a new deck, or install an electric heat pump. But it's really important to find out what they need. People make decisions based on their emotions. When you find out what is driving their decisions, you can turn the tables and really "sell the sizzle!"

Ask your potential clients open-ended questions to get them to open up and spill all you need. For example, an innocent question like, "Why is that important?" or "What does it mean to you?" can really allow clients to talk about makes them passionate. To explain what's driving them to talk to you at all.

Simply saying they want a new garage door doesn't tell you that the client is competing with the neighbor across the street. Knowing this can give you the ammunition to say things like, "You want to really show up that guy? Take a look at this..." as you bring out a few pictures of the latest and greatest in garage doors (or whatever product your business works with.)

Curiosity Won't Kill This Cat
Be curious. Curious lets the potential client see that you care. People love to talk about themselves, talk about their passions. The more curious you are about their needs, the more they will be willing to give you everything you need to close that deal.

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