If you’re like most contractors, you probably don’t have a strong system in place for converting leads into paying customers.
One of the most powerful ways to take control of your business and turn it into a cash-generating machine is to have a system for closing sales. If you don’t have even a basic sales system, then your company’s growth will be limited.
If you’re struggling to close leads consistently, this post will highlight 3 mistakes you might be making in your selling process and how to avoid them.
Mistake 1: Focusing On Selling, Not Listening
As a contractor, your number one responsibility is to satisfy the customer. So how do you go about achieving this goal?
There are two ways:
Satisfy them by doing quality work at a fair price
Understand what they want and then give that to them
A lot of contractors make the mistake of focusing on themselves or their company when “pitching” their potential customer.
They talk about how long they’ve been in business or what services they currently offer or what their own plan is for the project.
They don’t take the time to ask questions about what the customer wants and listen for the answers.
When they’re not listening to the customer, they’re missing out on a lot of good information.
They’re missing out on learning what the customer’s pains and passions are.
And they’re missing out on an opportunity to empathize, show understanding, and build rapport with the customer.
It may sound counterintuitive, but selling should not be your main goal. Instead, listening should be the focus.
Making the mistake of not listening takes you to a place where there is no trust.
Turning prospects into buyers requires trust.
You can create trust almost instantly by shifting your focus from selling to listening. And that will give you a clear understanding of what they want out of you and from the results of the project.
Not just the logistical details, but the emotional aspects as well.
If you shift focus from selling yourself to listening to the needs of the customer, then all of a sudden trust starts to build.
The Solution: Ask questions!
While it’s important for you to be able to explain your services and what the customer can expect from you, it’s even more important that you ask lots of questions.
If you want to be a better salesperson, then you have to become an expert at one thing and one thing only – understanding your customer’s needs.
87% of customers believe sales people don't understand their needs.
If you can show that you're the contractor who does understand peoples' problems, you'll have a much better shot at converting leads.
And asking questions will help you do this.
Before making any moves in regard to price or terms of the sale, thoroughly understand what it is they want and why they are looking for it by asking questions.
Taking all of this information into consideration creates value. And that leads me to...
Mistake 2: Leading With Price Instead of Value
A lot of contractors start their sales pitches by talking about how much their services cost.
This mistake is a direct result of making the first mistake (focusing on selling rather than listening).
When you start the conversation with price as the focus, customers can’t think about anything else.
All you’ve become to them is a big fat price tag.
They’ve already tuned you out and they’re thinking only about who they can call to do the job cheaper.
Instead, lead with value.
The customer must understand how you’ll be able to make their life better through the results of your work. In other words, show them how you will help solve a problem or fill a need for them.
Doing this creates anticipation and excitement around the project because they are now visualizing what the results could look like when finished.
The Solution: More Questions!
Just like before, in order to build value, you have to find ways to ask questions that will reveal what matters most to your customers: their goals, their challenges, their needs, etc.
These details give clues as to what value you can offer to help them. People are willing to set price aside if what you’re offering is going to help them achieve something important.
And people are willing to pay more for a solution that includes immense value beyond the actual scope of work.
So what value do you offer that’s not related to the physical work you’ll be doing?
Can you complete the job quicker than other companies without sacrificing quality?
Do you offer a high-touch customer experience with better communication than other service providers?
Are you available 24/7 if a need arises unexpectedly?
Do you offer any guarantees or warranties for your work?
Need some ideas on how to create more value? Read this: Be A Contractor Customers Want To Work With: 11 Ways To Go The Extra Mile
What you have to offer has to be more than just the labor of your services. If it’s not, then the person who can deliver more for less is going to win every time.
By asking questions you’ll find out how your leads see their world. And that can help you decide the value you need to provide to make them excited about hiring your company.
See why questions are so important?
Mistake 3: Not Following Up
If someone calls you for an estimate, then they’ve already taken a step toward buying from you. They’re showing interest in what you’re offering.
At this point, you’re just a few steps from the finish line…
So why is that so many contractors make the mistake of not following up on open estimates?
How many thousands of dollars are you leaving on the table by not following up?
For 80% of sales, it takes about 5 follow-ups before the lead converts. But nearly half of all salespeople don't follow up more than once.
Not following up happens for a few reasons:
You get busy and forget, so the customer gets lost in the shuffle
You assume they don't want to work with you, so you don't prioritize it
You’re afraid of the rejection if they say no
You don’t know how to quickly and effectively follow up without being a pest
You don’t know what to say to close the deal
You should never leave the ball in the customer’s court after giving them an estimate and sharing your professional recommendation.
There are a number of reasons a customer might not get back to you, so you shouldn’t assume its because they've picked another company.
The customer has already expressed interest in having you work for them. Don’t ever leave it at that!
Take the initiative to convert that lead!
This is your chance to follow up and move things forward.
And without taking action at this point, you are losing out on revenue.
The Solution: Commit to a follow up strategy
By having a consistent follow up strategy, you can convert more leads and bring in more revenue
Your follow up should include:
Who: Who on your team will be responsible for following up with the lead?
What: What method will you use to follow up (phone call, email sequence, face to face, video call, etc)?
Why: Why are you following up? What is your goal for this follow up conversation? Are there questions that still need to be answered or objections you might need to overcome?
When: When would be the best time to reach out to them and how often will you try to contact them after the initial attempt?
A good rule of thumb is to follow up within 3 business days.
What about setting the expectation that you’ll follow up once a week until they tell you no?
It sets clear expectations and gives you an actionable framework for following up on leads.
And if they do decide to go with a different company, don’t be afraid to ask them why.
Knowing why they chose a different contractor can give you valuable information to improve your services and win more customers in the future.
So tell me – are any of these mistakes costing you customers? If so, which one is it and how are you going to revamp your sales strategy? Post a comment below and let me know!