A contractor I am working with asked me the following:

“What is the best way to ask a potential client if they are talking to someone else without upsetting them or putting them on the defensive? We’re beginning to realize that we may be the first or second person a potential client is meeting with in a line of three or four, and by the time they’ve met with the last contractor, we’re an afterthought. How would you suggest we get out of the commodity circle and get us that initial meeting?”

Here are some suggestions to how to make that happen.

Intake Call
It is appropriate to address this concern sooner than later. To your lead intake form add some questions that will help to discover the potential client’s contractor selection process.

  • “Thanks for calling us. Why did you call us, in particular?”
  • “What are you looking for in your contractor?”
  • “What is your process for finding the contractor who is the best fit for your needs and concerns?”
  • “Would mind sharing who else you will be contacting?”

These are relatively easy questions for any person to ask. Whatever the intake person hears, make sure that person asks followup questions, such as “Why is that important to you?” and “Tell me more.”

Call from the Salesperson
Review all the above with the potential client. Then try these questions. Ask these questions only after doing enough questioning to discover the emotional motivation for the potential client to want to have remodeling done. Take your time doing this.

  • “Thanks for the information you have shared. Tell me what you like about each of the remodelers you are considering.”
  • “By the way, it can get overwhelming if you meet with more than three remodelers. What do you hope to learn by talking with more than three?”
  • “What, if anything, about any of them gives you any concern?”
  • “What will be your process of deciding who to work with?”
  • “Should we set an appointment to meet? We would like the opportunity to meet with you early in your process. Is that okay?”
  • “Would you be interested in us reviewing what you have learned from your contact with the remodelers you are considering? If so we can set another appointment now for after you have met with the other remodelers. That work for you?”
  • “By the way, when we meet I will give you a list of questions you can use when interviewing us and the other remodelers. It is best to keep notes as all the information you are collecting can get confusing.”
  • “Looking forward to meeting with you!”

By asking questions like these, you give the potential client a course of action to follow that--if the potential client is the right fit for you and your company--will lead them back to you.

Doing all that I have suggested does not take a lot of time. A typical call might take 20 minutes to 30 minutes, which is much less time than meeting with them and driving back and forth to their home from your office.

This process positions you as an expert who is an ally of the potential client, not simply someone who is trying to get the job. You deserve to be regarded as such.

May you find this useful!