If You’re Bidding, You’re Losing

If you’re not closing 40% or more of your bids, you’re probably bidding when you should be selling.

What’s the difference?

Salespeople are committed to their buyers. They offer the attributes, benefits, and options that fit buyers’ unique needs, and they focus on overall value, not price. Sellers’ close rates are around 40% or more.

In contrast, when you picture a stereotypical salesman–dishonest, smooth-talking, self-centered–you’re thinking of a bidder. Bidders have a one-size-fits-all approach to sales. They don’t focus on finding the best options for their buyers; instead, they emphasize their low prices and great deals. Because of this generic strategy, bidders close only 20-30% of the jobs they pitch.

Steve Weyl, the founder of the largest residential roofing company in the United States and a nationally renowned sales trainer, outlines the characteristics of bidders—and the price they pay as a result.

Bidders make the same mistakes

As a bidder, you’ll lose sales if you stick with this generic four-step approach:

  1. You analyze buyers’ needs. You ask questions such as “What is the problem?”, “What is the square footage?” and “What are your goals?”. But your competition is also asking those same questions and coming up with similar proposals and prices so that you’re not bringing anything new to the table.

  2. You give your presentation. Your presentation could include photos, pitch books, samples, bids, and quotes. To convince the buyer to do business with you, you may list your awards, bonds, certifications, licenses, and insurances. Your competitors, though, may be touting similar accolades. Your buyer has no way to differentiate between one salesperson and another.

  3. You try to close. You want to close the deal. But, if you put too much pressure on buyers, you lose your good relationship with them and lose your sale as well.

  4. You try to follow up. You call a buyer and leave a voicemail. You’ll continue to follow-up through calls and emails but won’t hear anything from buyers, regardless of your persistence

Buyers want to protect themselves

Buyers often view bidders as dishonest and will resort to these four techniques to protect their best interests.

  1. Buyers will lie. Buyers won’t commit to a sale because they’re worried about bidders tricking them. Instead, they’ll say “We’re just thinking about doing this…” or “We’re just looking at options” (even if they have an urgent project at hand). That way, buyers reduce the risk that they’ll be pressured into choosing the wrong option.

  2. Buyers will capitalize on free information. If buyers want information, bidders will supply their time, expertise, suggestions, samples, options, and prices for free. As a result, buyers can walk away with a wealth of information that they obtained at no cost.

  3. Buyers will give misleading positive reinforcement. Buyers will use phrases like, “Looks great,” “Very informative,” and “Let me think about it.” This praise gives bidders a false sense of confidence about landing the job while allowing buyers to avoid confrontation. Buyers can then seek out another service.

  4. Buyers will hide. Buyers who are not interested will avoid phone calls, emails, and other follow-ups. Bidders who have given their time and resources may be left without anything in return.

Don’t know how to move away from this cycle, how to get your buyers to trust you, and how to become a seller? Learn from Steve Weyl in Hearth Sales & Business Builder Webcast Series.

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