Tis the Season… To Think Strategy! (Part 3)

Winning More Sales – You Have To Stand Out From The Crowd

If you get 100 chances to land new business opportunities next year, how many of them can you expect to win? In other words, what is your close rate?

If you don’t know your close rate, you’re missing an important bit of insight on how your business is performing in gaining new customers.

Closing More Deals

There are only so many ways you can grow your business, and winning more of the opportunities that come your way can be a big one. So what can you do to help yourself win more of the deals that come your way in 2016?

Stacking the Deck

Sometimes companies try to “stack the deck” for winning more new opportunities by attracting better-quality customer prospects. This is a great goal for companies that can do it without lowering the total number of opportunities they generate. Some tactics they might use include:

  • Concentrate on upselling existing clients, where their relationship with the customer helps them win more often.
  • Do more outbound (Push) Marketing to activate known prospects. Contacts will be familiar with the company, and prompting them to act increases the odds of winning the business with less competitive pressure.
  • Use matchmaking services like HomeAdvisor or Angie’s List, to attract more-serious customers and fewer tire-kickers that waste your time.
  • Do advanced analysis of customers’ “Digital Body Language” to identify buying cues in their online behavior and target them with tailored content and outbound email and telemarketing.

The Reality of the Majority

To grow through closing new opportunities, let’s hope you can take steps to give your sales team better opportunities to work with. But even if you can stack the deck and generate more, better opportunities, these will usually represent only a small percentage of all the jobs you bid. You’re still going to be faced with highly-competitive sales opportunities most of the time.

For these kinds of jobs, you’ll still be reacting to customers that have come to you, and it will be up to you to interpret their needs and wants and desires. And you’ll probably be competing against other providers who have all the same info you do and who will (or will seem to) offer the same or similar service you offer.

Differentiation

Faced with this competitive pressure, how do you close more deals? The accepted wisdom is that to win more sales, you have to differentiate yourself from the competition. Simply put, you have to STAND OUT, so when bids are considered, yours goes to the top of the pile.

And there are all kinds of ways companies try to do this. Some proven differentiation methods, range from simply being the cheapest, to providing the best service, to simply relying upon the strength of their brand. The problem with all these conventional differentiation strategies is that they tend to be very expensive.

  • Building and maintaining a brand can be expensive – It would be tough to justify long-term branding costs based only influencing new sales today.
  • Providing the best service can be expensive – In Service industry work, this means being highly attentive to every detail in both the work you do for your clients and the service and courtesy you provide them. It takes time and effort (which are expensive) and it can be quickly lost.
  • And being the cheapest provider out there can be REALLY expensive. Your company lives on profit, and every dollar cut out of a deal is a dollar that doesn’t maintain your equipment, doesn’t cover your payroll and doesn’t go into your pocket. Indeed, there’s an argument that discounting prices endangers businesses, when “the biggest cost in their business can be something that doesn’t even show up in their accounts”  Also, if you build the reputation of a low-cost provider, you may damage your brand for winning high-value work in the future.

Your company’s strategic position May Be to be a top-service company with a strong brand presence. But if this isn’t already your goal (or maybe just isn’t your reality yet), you can’t change these factors quickly or cost effectively just for the sake of differentiation. Competing on cost is an option, but it is a very unattractive one, especially when we consider how your customers operate.

How Your Customers Operate

Most of the time, customers follow a pretty basic pattern for selecting contractors. They get bids, they compare quoted services, prices, and presentation, and, if they’re ready to commit, they pick the provider that most appeals to their sensibilities.

And their sensibilities might be totally different from customer to customer. Some may focus on price, others on clarity, and others on completeness. And some will choose an extreme (cheapest, fastest), while others might throw out the top and bottom and pick a middle provider. It really just depends on who is buying, and if you know how your buyer makes decisions, you have a huge advantage. If you don’t know how they’ll decide, maybe you should spend some more time Asking Them The Right Questions. And you can always focus on differentiating yourself through presentation.

How Do You Differentiate?

As we’ve said before, at Go iLawn / Go iPave, we believe that the biggest single factor in winning contested business (the biggest single DIFFERENTIATOR) is confidence. Not YOUR confidence (although it helps), but the confidence your customers have in you and your ability to help them.

If you can gain their confidence through brand or through service, that can be a big help. But whether or not you can generate confidence through brand and service, there is one place where every contractor, on every job opportunity, can take steps to generate confidence… in their quotes and proposals.

How to Stand Out in This System  

One proven way to win more customers is simply to be the most-professional-looking bidder. Another is to know more than the customer or your competitors, so you can educate your customers and outmaneuver your competitors.

Look Official

How many of your competitors roll a site with a wheel and scratch out a quote with a pen and a pre-printed quote sheet? How many don’t even do that? And how many send them a quote that’s nothing but text on a page? If you can provide a quote that looks and feels professional and competent and stands out visually, you’ll increase your chances of serious consideration.

Know More

One way to bid with confidence is to bid a job KNOWING what it is (and what it isn’t). If you know, with a high degree of confidence, what the customer’s job will require of you, you’ll have the confidence to quote it accurately. And if you know what a job will cost you to execute, you can even have the confidence to walk away when business isn’t worth doing.

We see it all the time… your customers don’t know what they have. And it usually doesn’t matter if you working for commercial or residential customers. If you know more about the job than your customers, your competitors, or both, you have a major advantage.

Use Go iLawn / Go iPave

Our Go iLawn and Go iPave software just happen to be great tools for helping you Look Good and Know More while in the quoting and proposal process.

With our high resolution property imagery, you can draw out your worksite and put images right into your quotes. You can show a jobsite from multiple angles and at multiple scales, so your customers SEE what you’re going to do for them. And you can export all your property measurements into a data spreadsheet and share it with the customer, so they trust your calculations and understand how you’re pricing the job.

And with the powerful measuring tools found in our software, you can measure huge, complex property areas with great accuracy. You can be confident that you’re bidding the REAL job, while your competitors might be bidding too high or too low based on bad estimates. This can help you win a job or know when to walk away because someone else has underbid it and is going to lose money doing the work.

In both cases, you’ll look better than the competition, and you’ll leave a positive impression on the client that might win you the job now, or might even help you win it in the future.

Get it Now!

Convinced that Go iLawn or Go iPave can help you win more of the jobs that come your way for a bid? So are we!  We’ll even let you Try Go iLawn or Try Go iPave for 90 days for only $25.00. Click for a trial, or give us a call at 800.270.6782

Go Get Em’

The Go iLawn / Go iPave Team

1 reply
  1. Mike Rorie
    Mike Rorie says:

    Joe,
    Your overview of the challenges of competing for new work is Right On ! The versions positions or strategies you bring up are right on and insightful for a company to learn to identify the type of client they’re dealing with.
    The idea of knowing more and displaying more in their proposal is not only effective but inexpensive compared to giving up margin. We hear from our customer base often using the strategy discussed here with great success. Great advice.

    Reply

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