A friend of mine is a sales and leadership coach and, interestingly, a large majority of his clients are in the construction and remodeling industry. He recently sent me the following e-mail that explains exactly where most contractors fail in their sales and marketing plans and -more importantly- how a Homeowner Referral Network (HRN) owner can fill this niche:

My wife and I were about to undertake our last remodeling project. Being a consummate consumer, I wanted several qualified companies to bid on our next project. After calling ten contractors, I scheduled an appointment with the five that called back.

Following our meetings, one gave me a price on the spot and two never responded with an estimate. Two contractors mailed an estimate, and one of them followed up a week later.

Guess who got the job. Just by making a five-minute phone call! What fascinated me most was that only one contractor called back to discuss his proposal and ask for my business.

How can these salespeople afford not to follow up? Conducting my own research, each one said they needed more business, yet didn’t know the status of the majority of proposals they sent. I sensed that following up regarding their proposal was not their typical M.O. Instead, here’s what they said.

  • I thought you were using someone else.
  • I didn’t think you were ready to buy.
  • I thought you felt the price was too high.
  • I didn’t want to bother or pressure you.

While these contractors formulated their own conclusion, they never bothered to confirm if their assumptions were, in fact, true! They were operating under the costly assumption, “The prospect will call when they’re ready.”I asked Bill, one of the contractors, “If you’re sacrificing valuable time to drive to an appointment, deliver a presentation, write a proposal and then don’t follow up and ask for a prospect’s business after taking all of the steps that earned you the opportunity to do so, who are you really helping?” Then it hit him between the eyes. “My competition!”

Bill realized something that only a select few have. While prospects need his remodeling knowledge and skills, they also need his help in making their purchasing decision.

Bill recently called me with some exciting results. After making thirty phone calls to past prospects, he spoke with ten prospects he had met with. Bill sold three more deals ($78,000) in one week that he never would have sold.

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