What business are you in? What are you in the business of? This is not a trick. In fact, this is ‘the’ most important question to know the answer to, when looking to increase your sales conversion rate. When asked this question, most will answer: Service? People? My trade? and so on. The reality is, no matter what type of business you are in, you are in the same business as everyone else. The business of solving people’s problems.

Further, there is a problem beneath the problem. Here it is… the customer will be asking themselves,

“Can I trust you with certainty to solve my problem?”

There it is. Now can you be that person/business – and do it with speed and efficiency? To sum it up in one statement: Business is built at the speed of trust. Those businesses that consistently win quality work at high margins, have created procedures then have practiced, practiced and practiced a little more…until it flows.

Here are a few suggestions to improve perception, your professionalism and the amount of profitable work you win.

  1. Prioritise, be Prompt and Professional

If you are slow to respond to job enquiries, don’t complain about the lack of work in your calendar. As stated above, the speed at which you respond to customer enquiries, provide them with a professional estimate and quote, and then follow up, can be the key difference between consistent quality work coming your way, or an empty work schedule.

Ensure that when you create your sales/conversion process that you provide people with:

  1. a) more than they expect (just a little bit),
  2. b) prompt delivery of service/products – do it quickly for them,
  3. c) an effortless experience – make it easy for them, and
  4. d) a positive encounter – make them feel good in the process.

Simple. Working on this can put you at the front of the line when it comes to choosing you or another business.

  1. Be different

Another question for you. “Why should a new customer choose you over a competitor?”

And you cannot respond with “We offer a better product or service.” Because that’s what everyone else says!

If you present exactly the same as everyone else in your industry, the only thing that a customer can compare you on is… price. And you don’t want to play in that pond.

What could you say is your ‘point of difference’? Better is not better; Different is better.

Suggestions include:

  • On time guarantee
  • Product warranty – plus a little extra
  • We fix it or it’s free guarantee
  • Professionalism promise.

It is not easy to come up with the point of difference, yet it can be something that sets you apart from your competition.

  1. Have a quality website with testimonials/case studies

Here’s a number for you, 82% of new customers will check out your business credibility via an online search, before making a buying decision. So, when people check you out online, what is the perception that they receive?

Is your website accessible on mobile devices? Is it easy to navigate? Does it showcase your business effectively? Does it send the message…? “You can trust me with certainty to solve your problems.”

You don’t necessarily have to have dozens of pages, yet the two things that a customer will be asking when they come to your website are:

1), “Am I in the right place?” Meaning, do they feel good about what they see? And

2), “What do you want me to do?” Meaning, do you guide them to what you want them to see or do, next?

Use your website to showcase ‘before and after’ photos, testimonials from customers, and to display your point of difference/brand promise, and so on.

  1. Price fairly, and confidently explain this to customers

How do you know if you are pricing effectively? Depending on your customer/job type, this can change. Yet it is ‘scary’ how many trade businesses are ‘winging it’ when they price their work. Don’t let this be you!

Your pricing needs to:

  • Reflect the gross profit targets/margin your company requires
  • Effectively covers the cost to employ your ‘on the tools’ employees
  • Recover your overhead costs
  • Allow for fluctuations in material costs
  • Cover any unforeseen variable which may come into play, such as weather/job delays, etc.
  • Be good value (NOT cheap) for the customer

By the way, if you are winning every job that you price, it can be a signal that it is time to raise your prices.

  1. Never discount, add extra value

Have you ever paid more for something than you originally thought you were going to? Sure you have! Why? Because of the added value that you felt would be delivered.  Most of your customers will be the same. So, to win your jobs, avoid discounting and instead, add extra value. An example could be to add value by offering a follow up service, extra warranties, and so on.

If the only way you can win work, is to discount your services, then re-evaluate your target customer – seriously. You are too valuable and experienced to be playing this game. Alternatively, this could be a signal that you require to improve on how you explain your value.

There are only two instances in which you may contemplate discounting:

  • If you want to clear products or materials(inventory) that have not been sold
  • Provide an offer to win a new customer (loss leader). An example of this could be a mailbox flyer that offers a $50 saving on their first call out, or a value add, whereby you provide a bonus product or service with a purchase/job over a certain amount. This works better in a business to consumer market place.

All the best with the above.

It takes consistency, persistence and practice to become better at any aspect of your business.

Written by Jon Mailer