Business Owner That Sells vs. One That Bids
Ok, here's the scenario. A commercial property manager calls you and says they want you to give them an estimate for the complete grounds maintenace services at their property - they want it all - mowing, trimming, edging, mulch, aeration, seeding, fertilization, weed control, shrub trimming, irrigation maintenace, bed maintenance, tree pruning, etc, etc, etc.
You go and walk the property, take your notes, pictures, etc. and you prepare the proposal. You put your best foot forward and create a very professional proposal that clearly explains the services, the pricing and how wonderful your company is. You hand deliver the bid to the property manager and walk out with your head up high because you are confident you are going to get this job.
A week passes and no phone call. Finally you take action, call the property manager and ask if they have made a decision. He informs you they have gone with another company. You do the right thing and ask why. Your immediate assumption is your price was too high. But what if he says "We just went with another company.".
Ouch. Why? What did you do wrong? Your prices were fair, you gave the estimate right away, you put it together very professionally and you even hand delivered it.
You bid that job, but you definitely did not sell that job.
What's the difference?
When you are called upon for an estimate, the sales process begins. You ask questions, you get to know the person you are bidding for. Ask about the property. Ask about previous service providers. Ask what went well and what didn't go well. Ask what they are looking to accomplish. And definitely ask about budget.
Many landscapers refuse to do this or afraid for some reason. This is business. If you want to be seen as a partner who cares, ask about their budget. Find out what they want and see how you can give them what they want within the confines of their budget.
Then take the time to explain your service - how you are different or unique. Explain why it makes sense for them to hire you versus someone else. Talk about your customer service policies. Explain how you want to be their partner, and not just their service provider. Show them testimonials. Explain the benefits of your service, not just the features.
Upon delivering the estimate, keep going. Offer to break it down for them. Offer yourself up for questions and answers if it is a collection of people making the decision.
When you "sell" versus just placing a "bid" it gives you a significant advantage over your competition because many lawn and landscape business owners don't sell, they just bid, cross their fingers and wait for the phone to ring.
Sell, Sell, Sell