I often hear from remodelers that they are looking for a silver bullet. They are seeking the one thing that will help them increase sales and also prices. Sorry, but I haven’t found it yet. Wouldn’t it be great in life and business though if you only had to change one thing to get dramatically different results?
My theory and experience is that it’s never just one thing—no matter how much you wish it to be the case. And, if for some reason you think you did make only one change, I bet that one change actually worked in combination with other things already in place. If you want to increase sales as well as your prices, here are the top three things I think you need to do or put in place in order to make those changes happen.
Knowing What to Charge and Having Confidence in Your Price
Over the years, I’ve helped many remodelers understand their costs and learn how to price their work. Many remodelers tell me they can’t raise their prices. They say if they did raise prices, they would be too expensive and no one would buy from them. If they feel that way, they were right. They lacked the confidence to sell at higher prices.
What happens next is what often makes the difference: Instead of telling them what they need to charge, I show them how to make those calculations for themselves. By going through that exercise and using their own recognized costs and expenses, remodelers learn which markup they need to hit their desired level of profit. Afterward one remodeler even made the comment, “To earn more money, you mean I just need to charge more for what I do?” Well, yeah.
That same remodeler went out later that day and, with confidence, priced the work with his new markup and sold the project. Because he had confidence in his price, the prospect had confidence to buy from him at his price. Keep in mind the opposite can be true as well: If you are not confident in your pricing when you ask for it, neither will your prospect.
Establishing a Sales Process With “Go” and “No-go” Decision Points
One of the secrets to increasing your sales is to stop wasting time on prospects who will never buy from you. To help weed out the prospects wasting your time, your business needs to develop a sales process with what I refer to as “go” and “no-go” decision points. Think of these as milestones in your sales process where you ask a question and, if your client doesn’t give you the answer you have decided you need to hear, you politely help them agree to end the sales call.
A few examples of milestones include requiring a scheduled appointment in order for you to come back to present. It’s important to let them know the meeting will be about getting a “yes” or “no” answer on your proposal. You should also let them know that if they don’t buy from you when you come back, you will be taking your proposal with you and charging them for all the work it takes to prep the proposal.
Remember, these should be “go” or “no-go” milestones. If you establish them, it’s important to stick to them—don’t wimp out! To further speed up your sales process, you may want to consider explaining how you do business on your website. Be sure to include the “go” and “no-go” decision points. You might even require prospects to read about your process on your site before agreeing to meet with them. If they won’t do so, perhaps they don’t care how you do business, they have no intention of working with you, and they just want all your free advice and information.
Why Prospects Are Remodeling and How They Plan to Make Their Decision
I hope this third idea hits you like a 2×4 to the side of your head, particularly if you are not already doing it. At training events, I have asked attendees how many of them actually ask prospects their true motivation/purpose for why they want to remodel and how they plan to decide upon a contractor partner. I find it both sad and ridiculous that typically less than 1 percent of remodelers do this. How the heck do you think you will be able to sell to a prospect— and at higher prices—when you don’t even know why they are remodeling or how they plan to make their decision? How can you help them make a confident decision about your solution if you don’t know what their real motivations are, and how they plan to decide if it serves their purposes?
It’s time for serious remodelers in our industry to stand up and demand we be treated as professionals. No doctor does a pre-surgery physical and gives away a diagnosis for free. So perhaps you need to decide for yourself: Will you be treated as a professional and charge for your expertise, or will you do work for free? If you keep working for free, you will have lots of prospects and get to assemble a lot of free proposals. If you use “go”and “no-go’s” and charge for what you do, you will have fewer leads but you will have more time to serve clients who value you as a professional—and turn them into profitable customers. QR
McCadden is a speaker, business trainer, columnist and award-winning remodeler with more than 35 years of experience. He can be reached at shawnmccadden.com.