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Contractor Sales Presentation: Getting a Commitment

In the Aspire Contractor Sales System there is a step called “getting the commitment.”  In our business, it’s often just making a presentation and walking out with a signed contract.  While we never want to close the door on the “one and done” sales call we cannot assume that is usually how it will go.  The salesperson must know how to target the highest-level commitment possible for any stage of the selling process and then know how to get that commitment done.

Here are the most commonly available commitment steps in residential contracting work in a generalized priority order from weakest to strongest:

1.    A commitment to the next step, as specific as possible.  Perhaps meeting the next day at 10:00 a.m. to walk the property on which the custom home will be built.  Maybe it’s a commitment to return with a proposal and a Professional Services Agreement at a specific time.

2.    Letter of Intent (LOI).  An LOI is a common business tool.  It is not legally binding but represents a serious good-faith commitment between parties and is signed by both parties.  An LOI may stop competitive bidding, it will usually eliminate tire kickers and it may give you the needed comfort to do a little work before anything binding is signed.  Contact us if you’d like a copy of one of our LOI templates.

3.    A Professional Service Agreement.  PSAs can include Design Agreements, Detailed Estimate Agreement, and other activities.  With a PSA your customer commits to interim work for a fee or deposit before a final contract can be drawn.

4.    A signed complete Contract.

With practice, you can learn to move through these possibilities within a relaxed conversation before targeting the level of commitment (the win-point) you want from this meeting.  In some cases, you might move through all four commitment steps to get the job done.

Getting the highest-level commitment possible at any point in the sales process is often about more than getting the order.  Sometimes the win at the time might be eliminating multiple bids or setting the stage with multiple bids (be the first in) so that meetings with your competition have to overtake the preferred provider status you have established.

Ken Brookings is a former Fortune 500 business strategist who gave up the corporate grind and founded The Aspire Institute to help residential builders improve their business practices, profitability and work-life balance.  For over 20 years, Ken has been helping owners and leaders of small businesses achieve new levels of success by helping those who are experts in their craft become equally powerful as professional business operators.

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

The Truth About Blogs – What They Are and What They Aren’t

Yes, a blog contributes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which can help your website get a better position in a Google search. A continuously updated blog builds a loyal and regularly returning audience.

As enticing as this all seems, it isn’t a realistic strategy for general contractors. They simply don’t have the time to continually create blog content while keeping their website fresh.

More significantly is the “time-slice” problem: Even if your outreach appears right in front of someone, they only will see it when they are actively researching their custom home or remodel project.

So What Can Website Blogs Really Do For A General Contractor?

Beyond enhancing your SEO rating, the content of a well-prepared series of blogs on your website will share your business’ story with potential and returning customers when they are researching for an upcoming project. For this purpose, your blogs shouldn’t be sales pitches or endless photos of past projects.

Rather, they should provide helpful and timely information that the reader needs to know for a successful project. Your blogs also provide powerful opportunities to differentiate your company from your competitors and establish you and your company as the expert.

In marketing circles, this is a “Thought Leader” strategy, which helps to elevate your standing in your market and the mind of a prospect.

The Problem With Blogs

Most contractors would rather go through a root canal than sit down and write a blog.  But there’s hope.

Remember: Blog posting is NOT the be-all and end-all (despite what your web company tells you). Writing and posting blogs is just a piece of a larger marketing strategy called content marketing. It provides valuable information – through blogs, articles, audio, video and live presentation content that provides valuable information to the right potential customers at the right time. By providing content that is free, timely and gives a visitor relevant information they can use to make good decisions, your customers will associate you and your company as the go-to experts.

It is a focused form of brand building that beats the time-slice problem and establishes you as the thought leader on the topic.

Here is one great example:

Tirerack.com built a $1.5-billion business from scratch using an online content marketing business model. Tirerack.com has pages of useful information on how to select tires and related questions. It even has its own test track, and impartially evaluates tires for braking, handling, traction and suitability to different climates and situations. This priceless information is provided free to consumers in simple usable formats.

Granted, you’re not a $1.5-billion business, so how does it apply to you?

You Can Easily Leverage Your Expertise and Content To Build Customer Loyalty and Grow New Audiences

One example of proactive content marketing would be to offer a downloadable text document or restricted-access video or audio content that requires readers to enter their email or text address to access or download the information. In doing so, they give you legal “opt-in” permission to use their email address in your lead generation effort.

You then can contact them immediately and add them to your lead database for future follow up. You also can put them on a mailing list for your digital newsletter. This is a much more effective and integrated approach to building long-term relationships instead of a passive call-to-action that yields little or no information.

And, what’s great about this is that the whole process can be automated. You set it up, turn it on, and the process flows.

5 Simple Steps To Creating a Proactive Content Marketing Process 

  1. Find Someone Who Plays at What You Work At. You create or hire someone to write a 700-800 word story (about the length of this article). Ideally, you want to find someone who knows the industry and your prospects.
  2. Always Have a Headline That Hooks ‘em. The headline needs to have a powerful return on investment (ROI) for readers. For example: “The 3 Costliest Mistakes Homeowners Make When Doing a Whole-Home Remodel.”
  3. Target Your “Perfect” Prospect. At the outset of a construction project, most people will simply browse the topic online to become better informed before talking to a contractor. For a small investment – perhaps $150 a month for a Google Ads account, previously called Google Adwords – you can designate as many keywords and phrases as you wish that can be browsed by those ready to do a project offered by your company.
  4. You will specify only ZIP Codes from which you want leads. The beauty of this process is that you pay nothing until they click through to your page.
  5. Deliver on Your Promise in the Google Ad. One-click and they instantly will be taken to your “landing page,” which is a single web page focused on a topic addressed by your company. By entering their email or text address, the individual can download and read the paper or view the video.

If it’s a “sales pitch,” they’re off to another page, never to be seen again.

The UPSIDE: Minimal Cost With the Potential of a GREAT ROI.

The total cost and time spent on this endeavor is minuscule. But the gain – in prestige and new clients – can be substantial. Your customized lead generation tool is at the ready to capture all potential clients when they start researching their project on their way to becoming a qualified lead for you. You get to them long before others and in a far stronger way.

Consumers are savvy, especially when they are planning to spend considerable dollars on a building project. A passive website with nice words and pictures is fine, but that does nothing to set you apart for the other guys and isn’t going to seal the deal.

Investing in content that will help your clients and potential customers make informed decisions will help you turn your website into a proactive, qualified and targeted lead machine.

 

Ken Brookings is a former Fortune 500 business strategist who gave up the corporate grind and founded The Aspire Institute to help residential builders improve their business practices, profitability and work-life balance.  For over 20 years, Ken has been helping owners and leaders of small businesses achieve new levels of success by helping those who are experts in their craft become equally powerful as professional business operators.

 

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