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How do you differ from the others?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by JohnnyRoyale, Jun 17, 2010.

  1. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 616

    So you've been called my Mr and Mrs Homeowner who recently moved into a newly built home and are tired of looking at the builder issued slabs and precast concrete steps at the front of their house.

    From your qualifying questions you gather that they have an idea as to what they want but have no clue as to what its worth and what it will take to get it done. They will need their hand held through the entire process. They are more interested in a quality installation versus a cheap price-so this begins to get exciting as thats the type of client you are after.

    They looked you up just like they did 5 other contractors, and you schedule an appointment to meet with them at their residence.

    My question is-How would you differ from the other 5 contractors that will be showing up at their door over the next week to persuade them to hire you? What do you do differently than the guy who shows up, takes measurments and says will call them or email them a price?
  2. Gr8WhiteNorth

    Gr8WhiteNorth LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 465

    I would talk about my design expertise, track record, and direct them to our website where they could check out ideas. The certifications we hold related to the proposed work would be relevant. Warranty, material quality, expected lifespan, return on investment are good ways to leverage your reputation and add merit your service.

    General knowledge in the subject area, ability to communicate vision, listening, and incorporating customer ideas can go a long way. Clean cut, nice work clothes, and a clean truck with decals demonstrate a pride in workmanship.

    All this is my own personal opinion so take it as much.
  3. wbw

    wbw LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,995

    Establish rapport!

    People do business with people they like and are comfortable with.
  4. StoneFaced

    StoneFaced LawnSite Member
    Messages: 201

    Seldom is it that I find myself in a scenario w/ that many, but for sake of discussion I'll go with that. For the record, no prices will be sent, emailed, or discussed by phone...at least not initially. If they insist on that from the start, as far as I'm concerned it's dead. The only way that could ever happen, is if the others are already squeezed out and their is at least some type of commitment...to where it would be too far along to want to go back. It could happen on a revision, when we are in the final stage of closing.

    Assuming their pain/problem/desire has been established/understood, a great deal of listening is involved w/ minor questions to get them to talk and relax. In that process, they will reveal most everything that I need to know about who I am competing against and what it is they were proposing and how they were going to that. Once I have that ammunition I will also have a really good idea as to how responsive they were to the others. I DON'T/WON'T slam my competition or their ideas...I let the client do that. I will offer better or alternative solutions/ideas, based on the direction I think it should go. I make them experience it...I probably will bounce a few ideas, utilizing various tools whether it be product info, photos that may help illustrate the concept, hand sketches and occasionally marking paint...but I am reluctant to do that if other contractors will be seeing it. I know I love when they do it. Not because I wish to copy, but it will show me how strong or limited their ideas may be. I also like pointing out things on neighbors homes that I may/may not agree with...in a subtle way, not slamming or insulting.

    I will leave w/ a reasonable budget, and return w/ plan in hand and do my best to be the last one there. It would at that point boil down to me and maybe one other guy, if we made it this far. The rest is all in the finesse.
  5. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    Sounds like someone's been to a Sandler sales class.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. StoneFaced

    StoneFaced LawnSite Member
    Messages: 201

    Many influences, lots of practice. Not familiar w/ Sandler, but did train w/ Tom Hopkins many years ago.

    Now it's your turn, you have the floor...
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I don't waste my time, bid high hoping I don't get it
    and let the other contractors have at it.
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I don't waste my time, bid high hoping I don't get it
    and let the other contractors have at it.

    Here's why...

    Might get you excited but if money were no object then why'd they call FIVE other contractors,
    I can kind of see someone calling around to get ideas, but not prices, not when money is no object.
    What sets me apart sounds like all the introduction to a JOB interview, just what I need, another boss.
    Also hand holding isn't exactly free either.

    No sir, what you've described is the typical PITA tire kicking can't make up their mind champagne taste on a beer budget who,
    just to piss you off HAS to have everything explained to them twice and hopefully they don't INSIST on being there when you are,
    calls you three times every day to argue for 20 minutes over every minute last little detail, then hopefully they DO pay on time and
    hopefully their check doesn't bounce, too?

    These folks may not quite qualify as tire kickers, but almost!

    Waste of time, call me when you've decided wtf it is you want done.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2010
  10. StoneFaced

    StoneFaced LawnSite Member
    Messages: 201

    Chances are if they did call 5 contractors, it's because at least 1-2 were no-shows or didn't follow through.

    On another note, A valid question might be: How did you find out they were even talking to five other contractors? Most people don't tell you that up front, and usually don't begin to reveal that type of info until later in the process:

    1. After a repore has been developed, they are relieved to finally have found someone that seems to know what they are talking about and is addressing their needs and concerns. They probably also showed up on time, the day they were scheduled. Many contractors or any sales people often shoot themselves in the foot, before they even get through the gate. If someone says "your late" or "why are you so late" and the sales person down plays it...they have already set themselves up for failure. Nobody wants to hear about how bad the traffic was. When you are late meeting anyone, you deliver the message "MY time is more valuable than yours". If you say "well it was only 5 minutes" but in actuality Mr. Client is thinking "No it was more like 12 minutes, what else is this character going to lie or exaggerate about"...they are already on the defense and will not be hearing what it is the sales person has to say, because they are dwelling on/ contemplating how they just want to get this over with...and when the hell is this guy going to leave...he won't stop talking about himself.

    2. The client will say "Well we are getting a couple more estimates, well call you and let you know what we decide or who we choose to go with"...If I hear that, it probably means I didn't do my job effectively or well enough. There are usually opportunities to allow the client a few moments of privacy to discuss between themselves. I guaranty...If I go outside to my truck to get something and come back a minute or two later...they will have a couple of questions that wouldn't have been asked had I not given them that brief moment. Those are usually close questions about starting dates, a minor alteration, or arrangements for payment, etc.

    If they don't know what it is they want before I leave, the failure is mine.

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