In this article, Brandon Lewis, founder of the Academy for Professional Painting Contractors, shows how you can stop competing on price by focusing on the persuasive elements of your sales process.
Have you ever gone the extra mile to create a professional, detailed estimate… only to lose the job to a low-priced competitor?
You know that you offer more value than your unlicensed, uninsured and unprofessional painting foe, yet your potential client couldn’t see the obvious differences.
The only possible explanation is this: PRICE RULES.
After working with hundreds of painting contractors to increase closing rates and prices simultaneously,
I promise you that price isn’t the primary reason you’re losing jobs.
They’re buying high-priced products and services
Look at your best clients. They likely live in larger, well-appointed homes in affluent neighborhoods. They drive Cadillac, BMW and Lexus brand vehicles. Their children and grandchildren attend private schools at great expense.
Obviously, price is not their primary consideration in making purchases. Why, then, do potential clients tell you price is the reason they chose your competitor?
Does your estimating process look like this?
After reviewing the sales process of over 850 painting contractors, I found this was the typical experience of the potential paint client:
- Estimate phone call: If a client’s call goes to voicemail, they hang up at a rate of 65 percent and the lead is lost. If the phone is answered, the painter collects contact information and asks a few project-related questions. An appointment is set. No communication occurs between the call and the appointment.
- Arrival and small talk: The painter arrives on location, introduces himself and says the following sentences: “You have a lovely home.” “How long have you lived here?” “I see you’re a (sports fan, golfer, gardener, etc.)” If dogs are present, they are petted. If children are present, they are complimented. Eventually, this gets awkward. The painter then says, “Show me your project.”
- Looking at the work: Cracks, rotten wood, and other defects are pointed out. Next, the technical painting process is described. The meeting is concluded with a promise that a quote will be emailed.
- Following up: After the proposal is emailed, a call or email is sent to follow up. If there is no response, maybe this happens again or maybe it doesn’t.
How can the client tell the difference?
If you’re honest, there is a good chance this largely resembles your current sales process.
If this is true, ask this question: How can a potential client tell the difference between your professional painting company and an unprofessional, low-priced competitor?
If a potential client gets three estimates where a seemingly identical experience occurs and similar information (or lack of information) is presented, how do they decide?
It’s simple… they focus on the only observable difference – PRICE.
Shifting your focus from price to persuasion
To stop competing on price, you must focus on the persuasive elements of your sales process.
- Powerful messages: The average painting project in the U.S. hovers around $3,000. This means you are selling an expensive service that is “high risk” in the mind of the client. You must highlight how your painters are background-checked, screened and trained to protect the safety of your clients. Your satisfaction guarantee and warranty must be repeatedly referenced throughout the sales process. Licensing and insurance should be communicated. Finally, testimonials and reviews must be produced to give the client peace-of-mind.
- Indisputable, abundant proof: Addressing the issues above verbally is not enough. For every claim you make, provide source documents that your promises are real. Proof of background checks, warranty and guarantee certificates, licensing, insurance and all third-party review documents should be provided before, during and after your sales appointment.
- Processes and tools that persuade: Working powerful messaging and abundant proof into your estimating system requires the use of tools and processes. Delivering pre-positioning emails, snail mail and texts before the appointment builds trust prior to arrival. Powerful presentation binders, diagnostic surveys and buyer’s guides can demonstrate your professionalism and educate your clients on how to select a contractor.
- Strategic follow-up: The average American takes 68 days to make a $500 major home purchase. Potential clients may take three to 18 months or longer to make major painting decisions. Consistently communicate by phone, email, mail and text until the client is ready to purchase.
Producing exceptional painting projects requires exceptional skills, tools and processes. Producing high closing rates at premium prices requires exceptional sales skills, tools and processes too – invest in building and acquiring yours today!
This article was originally published in the Summer 2019 issue of PPC magazine. Learn more about Brandon Lewis’ quest to empower painting contractors to become successful entrepreneurs at PaintersAcademy.com and PaintersWeekly.com.