How to Get the Job When You Aren’t the Lowest Bidder

Author Marty Grunder, consultant, speaker, and owner of Grunder Landscaping, one of the largest firms in the Midwest, gives his advice on making the sale when you aren’t the lowest bid. Catch Marty at his NALP Sales Boot Camps in Baltimore and Charlotte the week of March 27, 2017. 

Of all the questions I get asked, the one I get asked the most is: How can I get the job even if my price is higher?

#1. Don’t say I lost the job because of my price. For starters, it is a big mistake to say, “I lost that job because our price was too high.” If you accept that your price was too high and that’s just the way it is, all you can do to improve is lower your price to combat that issue. Sure, you could figure out a way to be more efficient; you could cut costs by using cheaper materials and the like and, to be blunt, there’s not a landscape company in America that can’t find a way to lower their costs and be more competitive.  It should be SOP, Standard Operating Procedure, to look for new and better and consequently cheaper ways to do business.

#2. Did you communicate value? A better answer to losing a job to price is to say, I must not have fully communicated the value I bring to the table and that’s why I lost the job.  Smart sales professionals know, first and foremost, clients do business with people they know, like, and trust. As I often say, when you “make friends, you make sales.” That’s what relationship selling is all about. But those relationships are kept rock solid by a daily dose of value.

#3. Understand what your clients want. The foundation to winning a job is to deliver exactly what the client wants on your proposal and the only way you can find out what that is is by asking them what they want at the initial visit. I see many landscape companies that really mess this up. When you initially engage someone, you need to ask them the following questions:

  • Where did you hear about us? (The answer to this question lends insight into the mindset of the prospect.)
  • What time frame do you want to complete this job?
  • And the most important question: What is your hiring process?

And then you need to be quiet and listen.

#4. Make sure they are your “ideal client.” To improve your closing ratio, you have to make sure you are meeting with buyers that fit the definition of your “ideal client.” Just running out to see every person that calls you might be a big part of your problem. Improve your chances for success by meeting with prospects who fit what you are looking for. The biggest part of being successful in sales is knowing who your ideal client is and then methodically going about finding those people who fit that mold.  In the short term, the hardest word for a landscape sales professional to say is “No.” In the long run, it’s the easiest word to say, when you find out how much more successful you will be by spending time with the prospects that best match your criteria.

If you find while screening they are a good fit for an appointment, then you set it up but not before then. Hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars are wasted annually by landscape pros who just go out and meet with “anyone.”

Learn Marty’s 11 step bullet proof, kick butt, selling process at the NALP Sales Boot Camps.

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