Low Bid Is Not Enough!

by George Hedley


 

Ever been low bid and didn't get the job? 

Follow these ten tips to win more profitable work.

 

Bidding lots of jobs is not enough to guarantee a steady flow of profitable work in today's competitive marketplace. Successful general contractors and subcontractors have learned their bid is only one step in the sales cycle.

 As a general contractor, we bid several jobs every month. For each project, we receive about 100 subcontractor bids for the 30 sub-trades usually required. On average, less than 15% of these bidders ever call us to present their bid, review their proposal, discuss their bid, or even to meet with us for any reason. When we don't hear from our valued subcontractors, we assume they don't have more to offer except their price. And when they finally do call, they only ask: 'How do I look?'

 Do you sell more than price?

Most contractors and subcontractors are proud of their quality work, reputation, and personal service. And today's financial demands, project complexities, and tight schedules require project owners to often look for more than low bid. But, if they aren't aware of the added value contractors offer, the buyer has no choice but to evaluate and select based on price.

 As a construction business speaker, I see thousands of different construction companies in all parts of the country every year. I recognize ten things successful contractors and subcontractors do to get more than their share of the profitable work. See how your company compares to this list.

 1. Written marketing & sales plan - Companies that plan their future create their future. Sit down and write your sales and marketing plan including sales and profit goals, customer targets, market areas, project types and sizes, and then action steps to make it happen.

 2. Marketing budget 2 to 4% of volume - Companies who invest in their future make more money than those who don't. Create an image, logo, and marketing materials to build an impression of who you are, what you stand for, and what you specialize in. Invest at least $10,000 per year on marketing, mailings, flyers, customer events, meals, ballgames, golfing, thank-you gifts, and cards to send out to customers. 

 3. Customer relationship follow-up program - Identify your top 20 customers and spend time with them at least every 2 months in a relationship building settings like meals or events.

 4. Target marketing mailing program - Keep a database of your loyal, repeat, and potential customers, and referring parties. Use a simple software program like 'ACT' to keep track. Mail something every 2 - 3 months to your entire list to keep your name in front of them to peak their interest and tell them what you can do for them.

 5. Expertise, specialty or niche - Successful companies are known for being the best at something. Some are know for project types, or difficult jobs, or fast track, or design-build. To be the best, your customer must know what you specialize in. Let them know and tell them again and again.

 6. Sales and presentation skills - To win great jobs takes professionalism, knowledge, and confidence. Firms who are awarded more jobs are well trained in sales and presentation skills, and show up at the project interview with their team rehearsed and ready to impress.

 7. Right place at the right time - Estimators are more than price givers. They are in the sales business and spend lots of time with their customers. To be at the right place at the right time, you must be in your customer's office at least once a week.

 8. Referral solicitation program - The easiest way to double your sales is to ask loyal customers for a referral. Referrals don't come often without asking, and when asked, customers will give. A simple checklist is all is takes to remind you to ask.

 9. Active in industry & community - Successful companies are seen by everyone, everywhere. They are active in their industry associations and community organizations. They serve on boards of directors and give time and money to make things better.

 10. Cutting edge - Leading companies use the latest tools, techniques, and technology to stay ahead of and lead their customers. They show the future to their customers instead of complain about changing.

 If your want to increase your chances of winning more than your share of profitable jobs, consider implementing these ten tips. Make your bid only one small part of the selling process and join the list of very successful companies.

 

 George Hedley owns a $75 million construction and development company and Hardhat Presentations. He speaks to companies on building profitable businesses, leadership, and loyal customers. He holds 3-day in-depth "Profit-Builder Circles" open to construction company owners in an interactive roundtable format every 3 months. His "Profit-Builder System" includes proven tools to always make a profit, build equity, create wealth, win profitable jobs, motivate your people, and enjoy the benefits of owning a profitable company.

 For information on Mr. Hedley's programs or to receive his free management e-newsletter, visit www.hardhatpresentations.com , call 800-851-8553, or e-mail him at gh@hardhatpresentations.com.


George Hedley owns a $75 million construction and development company and Hardhat Presentations.  He speaks to companies on building profitable businesses, leadership, and loyal customers.  He holds 3-day in-depth "Profit-Builder Circles" open to construction company owners in an interactive roundtable format every 3 months.  His "Profit-Builder System" includes proven tools to always make a profit, build equity, create wealth, win profitable jobs, motivate your people, and enjoy the benefits of owning a profitable company.