HOW TO SELL CONSTRUCTION SERVICES AT THE HIGHEST PRICE POSSIBLE
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WHY YOU NEED TO TELL YOUR CLIENTS THE TRUTH ABOUT COST
Most contractors are people pleasers. Serving your clients is a priority for you. And, you may be wondering how to sell construction services in an effective way that makes you money and pleases your clients.
You like to build things with your hands, show your clients the results of your craft, stand back and watch your clients reactions.
But things like budgets, contracts, scopes of work, change orders, and schedules get in the way of pleasing people.
Your customers rarely have the correct budget for the project, which causes stress for the contractor. You want to do the work, but you lack confidence in how to sell construction services for a price that will generate a profit.
Your customers don’t understand the technical terms in your contract. They will nod their heads in agreement, but when it comes time to adhere to the stipulations outlined in the contract, confusion arises. This causes strain for the customer and the contractor.
Many contractors start projects without a full scope of work developed. When changes occur, the contractor doesn’t want to create tension by executing the change order process. Contractors will say, “Yeah, no problem. We can take care of that,” hoping the customer will pay the additional cost based on the goodwill created by not pushing the change order process.
Pleasing people should be your primary goal as a contractor but it can’t come at the cost of losing money.
WHAT IS THE TRUTH?
The kindest thing a contractor can do for a customer is to tell them the truth.
The truth is:
- Your budget doesn’t align with the scope of the work. You need to spend more money to get the project you want.
- Your schedule is unrealistic. Any contractor that says they can start/complete the project in your timeframe is either ignorant or incompetent.
- We charge more for our work because we deliver a better product/service/experience than our competition.
It’s that “third truth” that many contractors are afraid to sell. Stating you are better than someone else doesn’t fit the “people pleasing” mentality.
But, if you believe you are better than “the other guy,” then you are obligated to sell your customers the highest price possible.
When you sell your products or services for a high price, then your customers are giving you permission to deliver on the value that comes with a high price.
BEING GREEDY VS. SELLING YOUR PRODUCT AT A HIGH PRICE
Most contractors guess at what their price should be instead of calculating what the price has to be in order to make a profit.
When you realize that your guessing has never led to a sustainable profit, then you do what all construction business owners do.
You raise your prices.
And that causes a problem for you.
Raising your prices makes you feel greedy.
You have to start charging more for your work, and you know this will create tension with your next potential customer.
Tension is something a people pleaser wants to avoid.
But you know you have to charge more in order to stay in business, so you start to develop a way to sell construction services that’s not so “in your face.”
Then you realize you can charge a higher price if you focus less on how to sell construction services and more on making an emotional connection with your customers.
This feels weird. This feels like you are manipulating your customer, and you don’t want to be seen as a greedy contractor.
But you aren’t a greedy contractor.
THIS IS WHAT A GREEDY CONTRACTOR LOOKS LIKE
Greedy contractors do the following:
- They cut corners in order to make a profit.
- They don’t tell the truth.
- They hide information.
- They sell one thing, but deliver something else.
You aren’t being greedy when you raise your prices. You are being a responsible business owner.
You aren’t being manipulative when you sell the value you provide. You are being a professional salesperson.
If you believe 110% in the product or service you provide, then you are obligated to sell that product or service for the highest price possible. That’s the only way you’ll be able to deliver on that product or service.
Selling your work in this way is not manipulation. It’s your obligation.
Watch the video below and meet one of my clients, Dustin. Dustin knew he was a good salesperson, but he was worried that his “salesmanship” could be seen as manipulation.
I explained to him that selling his services for the highest price possible wasn’t manipulation, but his obligation.
Watch the video to see his reaction.
HOW TO SELL CONSTRUCTION SERVICES THE RIGHT WAY
If you deliver a superior product or service, then you are obligated to get your customers to spend as much money with you as possible.
If you don’t, then you won’t be in business.
If you’re not in business, then you can’t serve your family, your employees, your customers, or your community.
Here’s how to sell construction services to your ideal customers:
- Ask them about the problems they have right now.
- Ask them about the pain the problem is causing.
- Give them a plan to follow that elevates the pain and makes the problem go away.
- Describe the success they will feel when they hire you and allow you to deliver the experience you have designed for them.
It’s the PROBLEM-PAIN-PLAN-SUCCESS formula.
This formula focuses on your customer instead of you. That’s why it works.
SELLING THE RIGHT WAY, TO THE RIGHT CUSTOMERS = MAKE MORE MONEY
People buy based on emotions. Learning to make an empathic and emotional connection with your customers during the sales process is how to sell construction services in the best possible way. It is not manipulation. It’s your obligation.
Getting your customers to spend more money with you than they were going to spend with someone else obligates you to exceed their expectations.
Exceeding the expectations of your clients by delivering a superior product or service is good for business. You’ll make more money, get better customers, and build a reputation as a professional that serves your community with quality work.
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You’re a guy that believes 110% in the product and the service that you provide. You need every weapon in your arsenal. And if that means I know I can get this person to spend more money with me than they would with somebody else because I’ve got a superior product I say that’s not manipulation, that’s obligation.
Do you ever get hung up morally with how to sell construction services? Like I’m actually really good at persuading people, but I almost feel like I’m taking advantage of them when I do it that way. Like I’m manipulating them because I’m really good at it. And so, it’s like it’s a personal crux for me to get over. And I’ve gotten better at it because I’m like, “Dang it, you got to support your family. You got to put food on the table.” I’m not trying to have a lavish lifestyle, or be greedy, or anything like that. But, at the same time, it’s like, “Ugh, am I manipulating somebody?”
Well, there is manipulation and I think manipulation is wrong. Meaning I’m trying to manipulate this situation. So, here’s an example of how to sell construction services in a manipulating way. One of the houses that we looked at, we just put an offer in on brand-new kitchen, been remodeled, it’s an older home, and we went into it. And from the surface it looks great. And so that’s what kind of attracted us to it. We were like, “All right, they did a remodel.” I, from being a contractor, know that they cut some corners because you have to. You don’t have to, but in a remodel situation you start making decisions. Opportunity now to open this wall up and fix all this stuff. And if you don’t have the money, you just have to say, “No, we can’t afford to do it.” So you end up with junction boxes in certain locations. And it is what it is. You’re not going to spend $2,000 to do a sub panel. We’re limited to what we can do, but there’s still a right way to do it.
So we went in, had the inspector come in. And, sure enough, all the stuff came up. They made galvanized to copper connections without the proper separation, which told me they were lazy, right? So they sold this person a remodeled kitchen in this older home, and they manipulated the situation, making her think she was getting … because the kitchen looks great, it looks great, but now she’s got to spend even more. She should have spent another $20,000 to do all of the other stuff. There’s lazy electrical work, and all of that kind of stuff. That to me is manipulation. That’s not how to sell construction services.
The fact that our brains are wired to buy based on emotions, and if you understand that, and as long as you’re not lying saying, “This is a problem for you, we can solve this problem and give you this benefit, and here’s how we’re going to do it,” is not manipulation. It’s just good sales. So, the question of here’s how I deal with the morality, because you can use that to manipulate people and take advantage of them. But you’re a guy that believes 110% in the product and the service that you provide. So much so that your first question was concerned about safety of your employees. You’re not going to cut corners when it comes to that. You’re that type of person. You need every weapon in your arsenal, and if that means I know I can get this person to spend more money with me than they would with somebody else because I’ve got a superior product, I’ve got a superior service, I say that’s not manipulation. That’s obligation.
You’re obligated to sell to that person in a way that gives them the best service, the best quality, and the best product that you 100% believe in. I know you believe in your product, so that way you’re actually obligated to do that for somebody because there are other people out there that aren’t as good as you, that will cut corners, that are in it just for the money. They will try to sell them the same product and service, but they’re not giving it to them. So you’re obligated as a professional craftsman to make sure that your customers buy from you and not from anybody else because you don’t know-
It’s like you feel obligated to protect them?
That’s right. That’s what I say. That’s why I do what I do. I have to convince contractors that are cash strapped to give me a lot of money because I believe in what I’m doing. I am obligated to help you turn your business around, make more money. There’s a cost that comes with that, but I believe that if you don’t spend money with me, you may waste money on somebody else. So I’m going to set things up so that you and I can work together and if I don’t return the results for my clients, and don’t help them out then I’ll be out of business, I’m willing to take that risk.
This may sound weird, but I’ve never thought about it like that.
Yeah. Well think about it. It’ll change your perspective, man. I mean, that’s good. I hope that’s a good thing. Not like a bad thing.
Well, it’s actually weird. It’s like I had a release of something. I mean, it’s just … because like I said, I feel it’s weird. Like I said, it’s like you feel guilty if you don’t make money, you feel guilty if you make too much money. And so it’s almost like maybe that’s gone.
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Shawn Van Dyke is a construction industry consultant, business coach, and mentor to construction business owners. He is a Brand Ambassador for Fine Homebuilding, travels across the US as a keynote speaker, seminar presenter, and the author of two books – Profit First for Contractors and The Paperwork Punch List: 28 Days to Streamline Your Construction Business.
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