What to Do When You Don't Get the Bid
What to Do When You Don't Get the Bid
Tile Contractors invest a good deal of time into bidding work. Many contractors say they start their job estimates by visiting the job site, typically they do this on their way home after a long day of installing tile. On average, between the job-site inspection, communication between the potential client, and time spent in the office, a contractor will have around 4 hours of their time invested in the average bid!
So why is it also common to see tile installers say that they never follow up with the client?
Often inside my Facebook group, Tile Money, people will say that following up with a phone call or email after not hearing back from the client is a “waste of time.” This sentiment is especially shared if the potential client responds with an answer like “your price is too high.”
What if I told you that you could drastically increase your chances of winning the bid?
If you practice investing just a little more time into your process, you will increase the chance of winning more estimates. Those who are following up professionally have a much higher chance of landing that job and remember, you’ve already invested 4 hours of your precious time into the process, why not spend a few more minutes to attempt to seal the deal?
Some tile contractors are sharing success stories of landing jobs that they might have lost in the past due to not hearing back or being told they were “too expensive”.
For example, Marc Simonelli of Sacramento CA, recently shared a response from a potential client who told him that they had “decided to go with someone else who was considerably less.” Marc ended up not just responding with a polite and common “thank you for your consideration”. Rather, instead he re-emphasized his long history in business along with the fact that a lot of his work comes from fixing failed jobs from the cheaper guy.
Marc didn’t stop there, he took another 10 minutes and did a license search on the CA State License Board website and found the other contractor had lied about possessing a license! The end result was that Marc had turned this “NO” into a “YES” and subsequently got a deposit check in the mail in less than an hour!
Now, this is just one example of a contractor who makes it his practice to always follow up. Doing so maximizes the chances of earning a favorable return on his initial investment on time working up an estimate.
Some suggestions for after you have written up your estimate;
Follow up with a phone call ASAP. Do not rely on text-based communication for discussing the details of the bid. For your more expensive bids, you may even want to deliver them in person so you can have a face to face conversation, addressing any concerns right then and there. Some contractors like my friend Paul Luccia have created a system where they will write up the bid right there in front of the client with the aim of selling the job on the initial consult.
Ask questions to draw out underlying concerns from the potential client. What has changed their mind? It could be a variety of things and you cannot help them until you know what they are thinking.
Reinforce what the client stated they wanted. Remind them of what they stated initially was important to them. You could then ask if something has changed because after all, you are going to deliver exactly what they wanted.
Keep your cool and remain professional. Even if you do lose the bid, no matter the reason, always remain professional and follow up with a polite response. There's a chance (especially if they've went with the lowest bid) that the contractor does not live up to their expectations and they realize they've made a mistake. In this instance, they will most likely call the most professional contractor that they previously interviewed, which could be you! I've seen this exact scenario time and time again inside my Facebook group, so you never want to respond negatively or rude, even if they are."
BATNA. This stands for “Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement”. With BATNA you don’t negotiate by agreeing to a lower price without changing the scope of work. Do not be afraid to negotiate, but remember there is much more to negotiations than price alone. It could be they would be willing to change tile choices, layout, the scope of work, etc. in order to meet their budget while retaining you, the superior choice contractor.
Remember, time spent on your business is valuable. If you’ve already spent time building rapport and estimating a job, wouldn’t it be best to spend just a little more time to increase your chance of winning the bid?