Credit: Debra Thornton Photography
I was exchanging email messages with a group of remodeling contractors about how to get a construction contract signed sooner than later. Here are the stages that I suggested to the group that might create that success:
Stage 1: Lead intake by the director of first impressions. This person qualifies the callers (the leads) to see if they are a fit for what the company does and the company’s process.
Stage 2: Callback by the salesperson if the lead (potential client) fits your company’s idea of a good client and is prepared to spend what you off-the-cuff think it might take to design and build what the lead wants.
Stage 3: Salesperson visits potential client. The salesperson reviews the potential client’s pains (problems with his home and the emotional drivers for getting the problems fixed) and investment amount (comparing it to what the company thinks the project might cost) and whether or not the potential client is a fit for what the company does. At this meeting, the salesperson brings up the Design Agreement and gets it signed or arranges to return for the signing.
Stage 4: Design is done and then reviewed with the potential client. Maybe there are up to two revisions. Once the potential client thinks the design solves his problems, then the estimating starts while the designer continues with specifying. As the specifying gets done, it gets priced too.
Stage 5: Salesperson presents and gets the Preliminary Proposal signed (an extremely thorough proposal based on: the preliminary design; preliminary specifications determined by the designer after interacting with the client; firm proposals from all trade contractors and vendors to build what is in the plans and specs). Now the job is secured.
Stage 6: Work begins on working drawings and finalizing details. Now that the contract is signed, the designer makes sure the client owns the choices the designer made, permit drawings can be prepared and submitted, working drawings can be prepared, and job books can be prepared. All of that work is paid for by the client because he signed the Preliminary Proposal, which included the cost to do all this work.
Stage 7: Change order 1 is submitted and signed. This covers any changes made to the plans, scope, and cost after the Preliminary Proposal was signed.
Stage 8: With the permit in-hand, construction starts.
There are only two documents signed before the project is the company’s to do, the Design Agreement and the Preliminary Proposal.
How confident are you in your process? How effective is it at taking a potential client out of the marketplace and making your potential client think that you and your company are the solution? Do you unintentionally throw up barriers to securing the job?
These are important questions to ask yourself if you are working for clients who don’t appreciate how unique you and your company are and who are always renegotiating the deal.
How did I and our remodeling company come up with the process laid out above? I made a lot of mistakes and we eventually started learning from other remodeling companies about how to do things more effectively.
What are you doing to improve your sales process? Continuously making it better is one of the best ways to make your company more successful!
By the way, if you would like a copy of our Design Agreement (which we used when we had a design/build client) and our Letter of Agreement (which we used when the client had plans prepared by an architect) email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. —Paul Winans, a veteran remodeler, now works as a facilitator for Remodelers Advantage, and as a consultant to remodeling business owners.
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