Classes, workshops, training & consulting programs that work. Period.

Creating Powerful Sales Proposals

A sales proposal should NOT be defined by contracts, limitations, warnings, and job-specific comments.  All of that may be part of it, but this is NOT what a sales proposal is about.  It’s about being a sales proposal.  It defines what is different about you.  It is your silent sales professional that stays in their living room after you have left.  And they will look at it quite a lot after you leave, even if you got something signed (ever get that rescission call the next day?).

An effective sales call should end with the best commitment possible.  Sometimes the commitment can be no more than an agreement to a very specific next step at a specific time.  Sometimes it can be no better than a Letter of Intent signed by the customer.  Sometimes it can be a Professional Service Agreement, sometimes a PSA with a check and sometimes a signed contract.  Because of the many scenarios for getting a commitment, the sales proposal must be fitted into the right place for that situation.

Here are three powerful, game-winning sales proposal tips:

  1.  Include a box on the top of the first page with the label: Important Things! In this box show 1 to 3 items that you learned so far that are unique and important to this potential customer. For example, if Fido can’t be let out of the house – put that in the box. If the potential customer has a certain Fear, Uncertainty or Doubt (FUDs), such as they worry a lot about views out the windows of the new addition – note it. If they have a granite fireplace that they love and cherish – add a note to go to the max to protect it. If they have cars in the garage that they care a lot about, make that note. The object here is simply to let them know that you heard them, you paid attention to what their fears and concerns are.  No other competitor of yours is likely to do this and it means a lot.
  2. Create a reusable page(s) (boilerplate) on how the whole process works; step by step.  They don’t know and you will reduce their stress and increase their confidence in dealing with you.  This section should include names and phone numbers and contact guidelines.
  3. Show a page(s) of references, perhaps with pictures.  This can be a boilerplate section so no work is involved for each sales proposal.

Aspire clients have access to the Aspire Sales Proposal tool kit that makes professional sales presentations fast and easy.

Are you a remodeler or residential GC looking for ways to improve your business practices and profitability? Check out this FREE report from the Aspire Institute, Business Strategy for Contractors: Download Here

Learn more about recession-proofing your residential construction company at an Aspire Institute one-day business workshop: Click Here for Schedule

What Marketing Really Means to a Contractor

Marketing is a fundamental part of any business strategy defining how you are viewed by potential clients and how you compare to other choices your potential clients may have.  Your marketing strategy defines what is special about you, that is, why should the type of client you want to choose you over the others.  Marketing allows this to happen without EVER using price to win projects (except perhaps in some commercial types of business).  Most of all, marketing controls your profitability and how hard you may have to work for that profit.

Who you are and what is special about you compared to others is called your Value Proposition.  Once you have identified your Value Prop then you need to learn how to communicate it to the right potential clients.  This will create “targeted” leads (as opposed to reactive leads).  When the potential client’s priority matches up to your Value Prop everything changes for you.  Price priority is reduced, multiple bids are often eliminated, fewer bad deals happen and the working relationship is enhanced.

Having a good marketing plan is neither costly nor time-consuming, but it does take some expertise that few contractors have.  If that is you – it’s time to improve yourself in that area.  Without a strong marketing strategy, you will never see exceptional profits.  Further, a good marketing strategy offers you the most effective tool to insulate your business and your family from the next economic bust cycle.

Being able to charge only 5% more thanks to a strong marketing program against the same cost basis can double a contractor’s bottom line.

Are you a remodeler or residential GC looking for ways to improve your business practices and profitability? Check out this FREE report from the Aspire Institute, Business Strategy for Contractors: Download Here

Learn more about recession-proofing your residential construction company at an Aspire Institute one-day business workshop: Click Here for Schedule

5 Tips to Prepare for the Next Economic Recession

During the Great Recession, small contractors (companies under 10 employees) failed at a far higher rate than non-construction businesses. Big businesses like banks and car manufacturers got the most publicity. However, given the 200,000 business failures, the almost complete collapse of profitability and the immeasurable human cost—our industry was at ground zero and will be again in the next recession. According to the Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies, just over 50% of residential builders failed during the Great Recession, while profits for the survivors were practically non-existent.

Will we have another recession? Yes. When will it start? No one knows. But the closer we get to the start, the more reliable predictions become—kind of like predicting the weather.

How do we know the next one is near? Recessions happen after an extended period of economic expansion. This happens because during the boom times, business productivity drops, business processes deteriorate, and both consumer and business debt increases.

Read the complete article by Aspire Institute Founder & Chairman, Ken Brookings, in Construction Business Owner:  Click Here

Are you a remodeler or residential GC looking for ways to insulate your company from a down economy while improving your business practices and profitability? Check out this FREE report from the Aspire Institute, Beating the Boom-Bust Cycle for Contractors: Download Here

Learn more about recession-proofing your residential construction company at an Aspire Institute one-day business workshop: Click Here for Schedule

Revisiting The Case Study Houses

Between 1945 and 1966, the Case Study Houses program, following the Weißenhof-siedlung exposition, commissioned a study of economic, easy-to-build houses. The study included the creation of 36 prototypes that were to be built leading up to post-war residential development. The initiative by John Entenza, editor of Arts & Architecture magazine, brought a team to Los Angeles that featured some of the biggest names in architecture at the time.

At a time when affordable housing is posing a major challenge in almost every part of America, there may be a lesson to learn from this study. The Case Study Houses project was a concerted effort to provide housing that was affordable, easily built, family-friendly and beautifully designed.

Read the story by Regina Cole in Forbes Magazine: Click Here

Are you a remodeler or residential GC looking for ways to improve your business practices and profitability? Check out this FREE report from the Aspire Institute, Business Strategy for Contractors: Download Here

Learn more at an Aspire Institute one-day business workshop: Click Here for Schedule

The Cooling Before the Storm

During the Great Recession of 2007-2009, small contractors (under ten employees) failed at a far higher rate than non-construction businesses. Big businesses like banks and car manufacturers got the most publicity. However, given the 200,000 business failures, the almost complete collapse of profitability and the immeasurable human cost — our industry was ground zero and will be again in the next recession. According to the Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies, slightly over 50% of residential builders failed during the great recession while profits for the survivors were practically non-existent.

Will we have another recession? Yes.

When will it start? No one knows. But the closer we get to the start the more reliable predictions become — kind of like predicting the weather.

Read the complete article by Aspire Institute Founder & Chairman, Ken Brookings, in Houston Builder Magazine: Click Here

Are you a remodeler or residential GC looking for ways to insulate your company from a down economy while improving your business practices and profitability? Check out this FREE report from the Aspire Institute, Beating the Boom-Bust Cycle for Contractors: Download Here

Learn more about recession-proofing your residential construction company at an Aspire Institute one-day business workshop: Click Here for Schedule

Top 5 Residential Housing Trends for 2020

As we say goodbye to some tired trends, new ones like Marie Kondo’d Kitchens are emerging and gaining popularity.

“Even in homes where the kitchen itself is tucked away, there’s a desire to remove unnecessary visual clutter so that it’s a more inviting space.” Elisa Morgante of Morgante Wilson Architects

Read the complete article by Julia Brenner on Forbes: Click Here

Are you a remodeler or residential GC looking for ways to improve your business practices and profitability? Check out this FREE report from the Aspire Institute, Business Strategy for Contractors: Download Here

Learn more at an Aspire Institute one-day business workshop: Click Here for Schedule