The topic today is based on a question that I see almost daily in our Facebook group: How long do you wait to follow up from a quote, or do you not follow up at all?
And how do you follow up without sounding desperate?
I have a few standard replies, but I figured I should make a blog post on this because it’s a big deal.
Back in the day, it was not uncommon for me to spend 4-5 hours a week making follow-up calls on proposals that I had out on the street.
But you know what? Having open proposals on the street is a terrible thing. That might not be what a lot of you want to hear, but bear with me.
You are not in the proposal writing business. You are in the check-cashing business. There’s a huge difference, and so many contractors spend a shit ton of time and mental energy typing up bids and proposals, and sending these things out – you meet with the customer, have a great rapport, and think that there’s no way you won’t get the job. Then, what happens? You send your bid, you negotiate against yourself before you send it, then you hit send and bite your nails and hope they’ll reply saying they wanna go with you.
That’s not salesmanship.
As many of you know, I’ve been teaching a sales process called the Shin-Fu in Our Contractor Sales Academy for over 6 years. The premise is this: There’s a fundamental belief that your time is incredibly valuable, and you need to stop stealing it from your family by going out to meet with people who will never be your customers, spending time typing shit up for people that will never be your customers, itemizing things five times for people that will never be your customers, and by having to schedule and make follow-up calls and emails.
So, how to do all this without sounding desperate?
You don’t wanna sound like you’re groveling for work. I always feel like I’m groveling, and I hate it to this day.
That’s why we created the Shin-Fu. It’s based around never going to meet with somebody that you haven’t already pre-qualified. You don’t ever type something up for somebody and hit send without them already knowing what that thing costs.
How the hell does that happen?
There’s a lot of things in our control as a contractor. The prospect can actually know how much these things cost before we spend ungodly amounts of time in the sales process – a process that steals money, time, energy and focus. We’re robbing ourselves of all that if we don’t take advantage of the sales process.
Here are the ways you can take control of the things that you have control over:
1. Get Your Website In Order
Your website is the number-one prequalification line of defense that you have. There, you talk about pricing by putting a pricing page on your website.
You don’t wanna put your prices there because then your competitors will know what you’re charging? You don’t want someone to go to your website and see that something costs $5,000 and then not call you?
Hold up. That’s exactly what you want. You want the wrong people to get the heck out of your life. You want the right people to call you, or fill out the form on your website. The way you do that is to give examples of your work and what it costs. Project profiles and pricing guides are the way to go.
It’s about being transparent and honest with people. What’s happening right now is that third party websites are coming up when people search how much something’s gonna cost. That should be your website that’s coming up.
Your website is an amazing way for people to know how much something costs before they step into your world and potentially waste your time.
2. Social Media Posts
I would love to see more contractors take advantage of their cell phones. Record a video and talk about the job site that you’re at, explain what you’re doing – the process, everything. It gets people interested. It’s also a place where you can be transparent with your pricing by giving examples with what you’re currently working on.
You’re the expert in your industry. The more you create content, the higher the chances are of the right people calling you and the wrong ones staying away.
3. Shin-Fu Method
This is our prequalification method that we teach. Get on the phone and have an open and honest conversation with five steps included. In those five steps, you can differentiate buyers from liars, weed out the tire kickers that will waste your time, and do all that without spending hours in the sales process.
I want to inspire you to take control of the things that you can control – your website, your social media, your prequalification process. These are the right ways to follow up on project bids without sounding desperate.