Earning contracts is the lifeblood of your business. You’ve got tools, equipment, workers, expertise and experience, but none of those matter if you don’t have new work. At the same time there’s a lot of competition out there, and with any number of contractors bidding on jobs, no one is going to make it easy to secure contracts.
On top of that, a lot of resources go into bidding on projects. Have you ever put time and energy into bidding on a job, only to be out-bid by another company? Most contractors have, and it can be frustrating.
The key question is, how do you get clients to choose your business over the competition?
In a highly competitive industry such as construction, successful business owners must put their company in position to be chosen over the competition. Here’s how: they differentiate and communicate.
Any successful business must differentiate. A company must know what sets them apart, what makes them uniquely positioned and especially capable of meeting the client’s needs. They must be able to answer this question: “with many options, including the option to do nothing, why should a client do business with me?”
Unfortunately, potential clients don’t know what’s so great about you. They’re thinking about what’s best for them, and if you don’t set yourself apart you’re leaving it up to chance. That’s because if you don’t establish a clear differentiator, the client is going to find their own – which may or may not be relevant, or favorable for you.
You have the opportunity to establish what that differentiator is. Smart business owners who understand this create advantages for themselves that set them apart from others.
With a factor in place that differentiates you from your competitors, the next critical piece is communicating to the potential customer why it’s valuable to them. In other words, why do they care?
You could differentiate yourself by having the best looking guys on the job site, but why does that matter? It has to mean something to the customer, and it has to create value for them.
Not all differentiating factors may be obvious to your customer, so it’s your job to illustrate them. If your differentiator saves the customer money, you may need to show them by doing a cost calculation. If your differentiator is a higher quality product you might need to show a side-by-side comparison. It should be crystal clear in the customer’s mind, “I’m going to choose these guys because _______.”
You need to fill in the blank.
Competitive Advantage: iQ Power Tools
Contractors who invest in iQ Power Tools create this advantage for themselves, which we can use as an example. Using iQ there are three advantages you can point out to your potential clients for why they should chose you. The sales pitch to a potential client would go just like this:
We use iQ Power Tools to cut our materials on the job site. These tools have integrated dust collection systems, which is great for us, but there are three reasons why that’s important for you:
We’re More Productive
Using the iQ360® my crew doesn’t have to spend time every day cleaning up dust. Instead of spending the last hour of the day cleaning up we can install materials for an extra hour, which makes us more efficient. We can do the job faster, so you’re going to pay less on labor. And since we don’t have to pay for cleanup, you don’t have to pay for cleanup. Over the course of the entire job that’s going to save you money.
We Keep a Cleaner Job Site
We pride ourselves on keeping our job site clean. Cutting with iQ Power Tools we don’t release clouds of dust into the air, which will normally end up all over your house or your car, or your neighbor’s. Of course we would have to clean that up otherwise, but again that’s time and it’s a pain!
We also don’t have to cut wet. That’s important because cutting wet creates slurry, which is a huge mess. It can stain materials, seep into the ground water or leak into your drainage system. Even if the slurry is contained it still needs to be disposed of, which is another expense. We cut dry with our tools so there’s not going to be a bunch of slurry and slop all over your property. We won’t have to deal with the mess, and neither will you.
You might even ask other contractors who are bidding how they’re going to be cutting, whether it’s wet or dry, and how they’re going to deal with the mess in either case. With the tools we use all that dust will be contained and disposed of without ever being released into the environment.
We Take Health & Safety Seriously
A lot of people don’t realize it but all that dust creates a health and safety problem. The dust from cutting concrete and masonry materials contains silica, which can cause lung cancer, pulmonary disease, kidney disease or lead to silicosis, a terminal degenerative lung disease. In other words, it’s really bad.
In fact, it’s so bad that OSHA has proposed a new rule further restricting the amount of dust that workers can be exposed to. This is a pretty big deal in the construction industry.
Some contractors use masks or ventilators, but those offer limited protection and they don’t help other people around the job site. Other contractors cut wet but that carries it’s own problems I mentioned earlier.
Instead of trying to deal with all that, our tools have integrated vacuums that collect the dust, so our workers don’t have to breathe that stuff and neither will you, your kids or your neighbors.
Choose us. We use iQ Power Tools, and that means value for you.
Being More Competitive
You can see there is compelling case for customers to choose the contractor that uses iQ Power Tools. In this example you’ve a) clearly differentiated yourself from your competitors; and b) explained why that difference is so valuable to your potential client. You’ve answer the question, “why should I do business with you?”
Selling yourself and earning contracts is the lifeblood of your business. In a competitive industry, every advantage is critical. Differentiate and communicate: it will help you set you apart from your competitors and earn more business.
Here’s a quick exercise if you want to put some focus on this:
Write down three reasons why, with many other options, your potential client should choose you. Be clear and specific.
Write down how each of these creates value for your client.
Also, give this one a read: 5 Questions Successful Contractors Ask Themselves.