What is Your Unfair Advantage?

Construction is a fickle business, and recently, I’ve been hearing complaints from certain quarters about the lack of enquiries, savage under-cutting and a drop in sales conversion rates. Fortunately, regardless of who you are, none of these issues is insurmountable. In fact, the simplest solutions are often the most effective. Renowned businessman, John Rollwagen, puts it perfectly when he says “The secret of business, especially these days, is to focus relentlessly on your unfair advantage – the thing you do that others don’t.”

Luckily for us in the building industry, this is so easy to do. These three magical steps will have you converting sales in no time.

1) Return your phone calls.
Most builders and contractors don’t return their phone calls at all. The ones that do are often 2-3 days late. Phone calls should be returned the same day or by 9am the next day.

2) Show up for your appointments on time. Not showing up for appointments, or showing up late, is one of the major gripes clients have with builders and contractors.

3) Do exactly what you say you will do, and do it when you say you will do it. It’s the little things that count!

Just these three actions should give you an unfair advantage over your competitors. Remember – making sales is first and foremost about building trust and confidence in your company and in you. The best way to build trust in any situation is to demonstrate it.

Once you’ve established a level of trust, you need to set the parameters under which you will work. If you don’t set these parameters, the customer will.

One of the first questions I recommend with any prospective client is “What is important for you when selecting a builder or contractor?” This is often immediately followed by “When would you be ready to start the job?” These two questions put the prospect on notice that you’re not there to dish out prices.

Let them know you’re serious about doing your work and if they just want a price, you’ll be on your way. Other, more detailed, qualifying questions coupled with a sprinkle of tact are no doubt also required here.

The primary purpose of your questioning is to discover what the owner is thinking. If their primary interest is price, then sorry, it’s time to leave and look for someone willing to pay a fair price for your services.

If you find you’re experiencing too many price-sensitive people, it’s important you look at how you’re attracting enquiries. If you are offering free quotes or reaching out to people looking for low prices, that’s what you’ll get. If your competitors are coming in at half your price, and getting the job, you’re aiming for the wrong market.


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