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.
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