Written By Ari Greenbaum, co-founder of conXpros
One of the most common “excuses” home improvement pros give when they do not win the job is “they just wanted the cheapest price”. One possible approach to this problem is to lower your price to “compete”. Most people that take this approach find themselves barely surviving and often out of business in short order. So, what is the alternative? How can you stay firm on your price (or even increase it) and dominate? Separate yourself from the competition by hammering value, educating your client, and going above and beyond at every opportunity.
It is easier to make the excuses and place the “blame” outside of yourself. However, the proactive and winning approach is to look inside before looking outside. Ask yourself, am I focusing on the value I bring with my product and/or service? Are my customers coming away more knowledgeable than when we first met? Do I go out of my way to demonstrate how different I am from my competitors by going the extra mile? By looking inward and asking these questions, you create the ability to win without getting into a price driven competition. You allow yourself the platform to grow and consistently improve results and profitability.
Of course, no one wants to pay more for something than necessary. When you sell on value, you provide the justification to spend more than what they may have with your competition. People like to buy from someone they perceive as an expert. Their confidence level is higher when they feel that you understand their specific needs and offer valid solutions. Most consumers will pay a little more than they anticipated when they feel that you’re there to service their needs. In their mind, it’s worth the larger investment rather than being disappointed from doing business with someone who didn’t know anything about their needs.
Is selling at a higher price challenging? Without question, yes. Is the reward worth the extra effort? ABSOLUTELY! I have personally experienced this challenge as well as the sweet reward. I had the privilege of working for 2 companies before we launched conXpros (an HVAC company and a Window Replacement company), that are both the highest priced companies in the Atlanta market for the respective services. Even though I did not get the full benefit that an owner of the company would have selling at a higher price, I did earn more per closed deal and my clients were happier, educated and confident in their purchases. Interestingly, both companies had incredibly high repeat customer rates, regular referral customers, and glowing online reviews. This would not be the case if customers felt they were “ripped off” or inappropriately paid a higher than necessary price. When I say they were higher in price, I mean in a BIG WAY. For example, comparable Trane systems were advertised and quoted by the competition for thousands of dollars less! The same 3-ton variable speed 20 SEER system that we would sell and install for upwards of $15,000, you could have installed by other well-known companies for less than $11,000. Crazy right? Sounds that way, but my many happy clients would disagree.
So, what is the secret sauce?
- Sell Value: There are many value propositions you can offer. The key is to identify what you and your company offer. There is not a benefit to selling the value in the expertise and thoroughness of your installers, if your installers are not truly exceptional. What differentiates you from the competition? Is it your warranty? Is it your workmanship? Is it your product? What value do you bring to the table? Once you figure out what makes you valuable, focus on these differentiators throughout your selling process. If the customer does not understand or know the reason they should hire you, the only thing left to decide on is price. As I suggested in an article written in April 2019, you must make every effort to NEVER BE THE FIRST COMPANY IN THE DOOR! It is easier to understand the value you are presenting when there is something to compare it to.
- Be THE Authority: If you want the customer to believe the words coming out of your mouth, you must demonstrate that you are an authority or expert in your trade. Typically, when an expert speaks, people listen and place value in what they share. Educating your customer is imperative to establishing yourself as the authority. You can’t just “wing it”, rather this can only be achieved by truly educating yourself in your trade, your product, your competition, and your market. Develop your presentation around this knowledge and be careful not to over do it. A customer feeling overwhelmed due top the bombardment of info will easily be turned off. Give enough info to ensure that your client categorizes you as knowledgeable and trustworthy. The key is to remember that you are not interacting with a fellow expert, rather a normal homeowner faced with the decision of who to spend their money with.
- Deliver Price With Confidence: You can do an exceptional job building value and educating your customer, but if you deliver your price with anything less than 100% confidence, everything you worked hard to create will come tumbling down. If you have clearly demonstrated value and represented yourself as the expert, why would you be anything less than confident when it comes to price? Deliver your price with zero hesitation or change in your voice. Look the client straight in the eye. Do not add anything extra to this part of the selling process. Let your customer make their decision. If you have done a great job leading up to this point, you have already provided enough reason to say yes. Even if they do not immediately agree to the price, resist the urge to discount or “make a deal”. These tactics will likely DEVALUE your product or service. Stay firm and identify the issues preventing your customer from moving forward. Solve the issues, get the yes.
Understand, you will not close every deal. It is important to remember, the guy that sells on price and gives bargain basement deals also does not close every deal. However, they are far less profitable, have to do more volume, and “hope” their work is good enough to get repeat or referral business. When a neighbor asks for a referral, they rarely ask “who is the cheapest guy you know?” Rather, they typically ask “who do you recommend that does good work?”. Essentially, this strategy will increase your profitability and allow you to work smarter as opposed to harder. Get out there and DOMINATE!!!