4 Ways to Decrease the Time Between Your Bid and the YES!
The average time that a home services professional puts into selling work - after receiving the initial call to presentation time - is approximately 4-8 weeks. Depending on the complexity of the work, there are tens of hours that go into preparing this bid - the final piece of work that will determine whether or not your company will be winning this project. And if it's one that you've been hoping for all year long, you've probably put even more time and resources. But what happens after you present this material? The never-ending material selection, confirming start date, customer missing in action, and so many other things; all leaving you wondering about the mystery of this possible revenue. There is a way to make this time easier - for both the customer and you. Here are our four tips that we that we know will help smooth this process out!
- Start building a relationship before your potential client ever calls you. Your relationship with this homeowner will be one of the most important factors in determining the outcome of this bid - there is no doubt in that. The way you will build this relationship (or not build it at all) depends on you. The sooner you start, the more likely and further along you will be when it's proposal time. Start your relationship building with the first time this potential client visits your site. Provide them content that they can relate to - so that they know you understand what they are looking for. And as they go further into understanding what they are looking for, continue to provide them content that they find useful. (Read more about the buying stages here). Then, when they begin to look to compare you against your competitors (which starts way before they ever call you), help them see social media pages that provide them comfort in knowing you are part of the community and have a great reviews - that you are trustworthy. Encourage the prospect to browse through reviews as early as possible in the selling process. This will all help you after your proposal - by solidifying you as a credible home service professional in advance.
- Ask questions, a lot of them, as early as possible. You have to get to know your client just like they've been getting to know you. If you've had forms on your site, then you would know basic info like email and name before they contact you. If you are using marketing software, such as Hubspot with your marketing agency, then you would also know what content they've read. Add on to this by asking about family size, recent home projects, entertaining style, and weekend activities. You are not ready to submit your bid until you know exactly why all of the material choices and overall design are perfect for this homeowner - so keep asking until you get there! When making your proposal, you will be sharing these connections. For example, "this paver is perfect for you and your family because it doesn't get as slippery around the pool (since they have a 6 year old) and this color matches well with the outdoor furniture you've been eyeing." This helps you sell your service based on experience, not just the service itself. This will eliminate the endless material selection cycles - better for the customer and you!
- Identify the project reason (or story) for your potential client. Don't skip on this. Most, if not all, major projects are done for a meaningful, emotional reason - and your soon-to-be client definitely has one or two of these reasons. Your goal has to be to understand what started this - so dig away. Is it because the kids are all off to college and the parents have extra time on their hands now and want to spend more time entertaining their friends at home? Or, is it because they are thinking of adding more children to their family and need more dedicated child place spaces as well as more safe child/adult spaces? These pieces of info will help you understand the real purpose or result of the project you will be working on - and it will absolutely increase the client's satisfaction. For example, now that you know the expansion of the pool is because of more children, you can be sure to include safety features they haven't thought of. This info doesn't always reveal itself in the previous step of asking questions, so seek this out. On a side note, getting the story is important in featuring this work in the future (read more here).
- Confirm a start date before sharing the proposal. Before pitching, or even completing the bid, you must know the approximate start date. Don't assume it either! ASK!! The customer might've mentioned to you that they want to be using the pool space by July 4. So you assume the start date has to be by early April, but the prospect thinks this work will take 4-6 weeks and assumes a start date of no earlier than mid-May. No wonder they go dark for weeks after the pitch - what's the rush?! Asking for a start date helps you with much more - it identifies the level of interest. If the interest is low, the start date will be quite a while away (and then your pitch should have an expiration date and an offer to speed along the answer). However, the start date can be far away even with high interest (maybe the prospect is going on a long vacation) - so be sure to ask the logic behind this date. This date also you because it's a semi-commitment from the prospect. It helps her or him agree to a date - psychologically, this is a big deal and will help you get the yes sooner. On the flip side, this helps the homeowner by getting them to think forward - they may have not thought of the start date yet which is what later could cause them to put off responding to your pitch.