How frustrating is it when you present your proposals and are told something along the lines of
“Oh, you’re much higher than the other guy.”
Then, to make matters worse, they tell you who the other guy is and you know he is a hack.
I used to feel that way, too.
I’d call them all sorts of names, to myself, of course, not to the prospect. You know the names: hacks, low ballers, blow and go. (I’m not proud admitting to that. It was very wrong.)
We’d see them in the paint stores buying the cheap stuff and then complaining about their customers or about their painters, who they cannot get to show up for work.
I knew we provided a much better services than they did.
We showed up on time. We completely covered and protected their home. We prepped properly. We used premium products. We actually did what we promised them we would do and more.
You know you provide a better service than they do, too.
But that’s what the other guys are saying at the estimate, too.
But then it all changed
When I stopped blaming them and I started to take ownership for not communicating our value up front or, much better, ahead of time. Once I took 100% ownership for not clearly communicating the distinction between the service we provide compared to theirs,
I started to see opportunities to do just that, everywhere. Fortunately, I tracked and measured which opportunities paid off.
Let’s start with…
Strategy #3: It’s Not Who You Know, It’s Who Knows You.
When you need a local service, what is the first thing you do?
Usually, you’ll ask yourself, “Do I know somebody who does this service?”
Then, your second thought is, “Who do I know that might know somebody?”
We are all busy and would much rather take the recommendation of a friend then have to call on a stranger and take a chance.
That is why it is so important for you to always be connecting. That’s what the real ABC’s of selling stands for: “Always Be Connecting.” Not closing, that came from a really bad movie portraying salesmen as scam artists and that is not the truth for you and me, is it? No!
ABC’s of selling: Always Be Connecting.
Every successful entrepreneur, business owner, painting contractor, and CEO of major companies are all great networkers. It’s your number one job to be one, too.
Here are 3 great networking places for you to get started.
- BNI – for breaking into any community (stands for Business Networking International).
- Local Chamber of Commerce – for vast exposure.
- Rotary Club – for the highest level of connecting and giving.
Strategy #2: Prove your value and price no longer becomes the focal point.
Jeffery Gitomer, author of The little Red Book of Selling, said it best.
If you say it, it’s bragging. If others say it, it’s proof. -Gitomer
There are a few great ways to prove you provide a better service, aka: are a better value.
Easiest Way to Prove You’re a Better Value: written testimonials
When starting out all over again here in Southwest Florida, after all of the hurricane work was painted, then the housing bubble popping, and then the Great Recession, I had a problem: I hadn’t build up a sustainable network nor customer base to carry us through the turbulent times.
So I asked all of those great customers, whom I had painted for since moving to Florida, for a written testimonial and they were happy to do so.
I collected them all and put them together in a binder and took it with me when I went door to door asking if I could write an estimate. About 1 in 20 did didn’t slam the door in my face or tell me to get lost and actually allowed me to write them a proposal.
At that point, I would pull out my binder, hand it to them, and say, “Please look through this binder to see what others have to say about the level of experience they received from my company and you might even recognize someone in there.
The last part alway piqued their curiosity and very often would be the case – they knew someone who had written a testimonial for me!
I would measure their home, either the inside or outside, and write up the proposal while there. Even though this was technically a cold lead because I was going door to door, I was awarded every job that allowed me to provide them an estimate, except for 2! The power of social proof was on the move!
The second way to prove you are a better value will also help you to stand out on the first page of Google
And won’t cost you a dime!
Ask for Google reviews. The key here is to get 5 reviews because then Google lights you up with 5 orange stars. Being lit up with these 5 orange starts helps your listing to pop out among the page of listings.
Your best chance at accomplishing this is to first get the link to your Google Local or Google Plus page. One quick way to do this is to go to Google Maps, log out, and then search for “Exterior Painting in (your city).”
Once your business pops up, click on it, then copy the link from the address bar.
Now, open your email and paste the link into a new email.
You’ll need to write a personal email, not a group email and paste your link into it for each one. Writing a personal email to 10-20 customers, whom you have serviced, and asking them, individually, if they would be so kind as to leave a very short review for you, please.
Following these steps, making sure you included the link to your Google local/Google Plus page, and emailing 10-20 customers individually, will most likely light you up with 5 orange stars like this.
The third way has closed so many jobs before I ever showed up. See Mr. and Mrs. Scott pictured here?
I arrived at the Scott’s residence. I met them, listened to what they would like painted, presented my proposal, and it was accepted on the spot.
Moments later we scheduled and I collected the deposit. I asked them, as I ask upon every awarded job, “You could have went with another company; why did you choose us?”
Mr. Scott said, “Steve, once we saw all of those video testimonials on your website, you had the job before you even arrived. We didn’t call anybody else.”
After the job was complete, as you see above, they were happy to add to the growing Testimonials Page and gave us a video testimonial, as well.
This was not the only time I heard this.
Video testimonials are AWESOME, and many of our DYB Café (Double Your Business Café) members are on a roll capturing them. I’ll write a more in depth article about them at a later date. Or if you want to see the step by step strategy you can check it out here: Get The DYB Video Testimonial System
The final strategy is the best and I saved it for last because it has so much power.
Strategy #1: Provide your proposal on the spot!
Hey, guys, have you ever had a miscommunication with your wife, girlfriend, or anyone? How about a misunderstanding over text messaging each other?
Well, this happens so much when sending or emailing a proposal later, after an estimate.
You must provide your proposal on the spot and go over it in detail with the prospect.
This was so important to me that even when I starting out, cold calling door to door, in July and August with 95° weather, with one hundred percent humidity (the typical Florida heat)—I would STILL carry around a backpack with a laptop, HP printer, with the paper in it, going door-to-door! Sounds crazy?! Well, this is where the crazy magic happened!
I had an excel spread sheet program that had all of my production and spread rates on. I would just measure the job, then ask them if I could sit down to write it up. I would print it out and then go over the proposal.
Here is the kicker. While I thought I listened very carefully every time, there was almost always a misunderstanding in it somewhere. It may have even been a small one, but small enough to not get the job if I wasn’t there to see the confused look on their face while they read it over.
Because I was still there and got to watch their reaction in person, I could clear it up on the spot.
Then because they were also very impressed that I could provide a professional proposal, clearly communicated with their expectations on the spot, that alone would win me the job, too.
In order to be able to provide your proposal on the spot, you need two things. The obvious one is an estimating program. There are a few available like PEP and One Step.
But first, to quote properly and with complete confidence, you must know your break-even and then your profit margin for every job.
Does that sound overwhelming?
Well, I have great news for you.
I have a very simple spreadsheet, just for you to do so, and I’m giving it to you for free. Just click the image here.
So, there you have it. The top 3 strategies for raising your prices and winning bids are:
- ABC – Always Be Connecting.
- Prove your value ahead of time.
- Provide your proposal on the spot.
Download the FREE Estimating Bundle here: FREE Estimating Bundle
May you Double Your Business!
#KeepItCaffeinated – Steve
P.S. You can still get all of my strategies for just $1, no risk.