EPISODE 48 | The Professionally Prepared Proposal
Hey folks and welcome to another episode of Builders Business Success Podcast!
If you haven’t participated, engaged, or seen/listened to this podcast before, it really is focused on all about the common and costly issues that builders face and the solutions to those. And the solutions to those come from our laboratory, I suppose you could call it.
We’ve got a whole bunch of really cool people in Builders Business Blackbelt. We talk every day, we come up with solutions to common problems. We put them into practice. We get back together the next day and talk about how that worked or didn’t and constantly refine what we’re doing to fix these problems.
And that’s kind of what I talk about in this podcast are the things that we know that work. Funnily enough, sometimes in Facebook, in Facebook land, and if you’re listening to this bloke, you know who I’m talking about, sometimes you wanna argue the toss with me and say, “You’re not a builder. You don’t bloody know what you’re talking about. Why don’t you pull your head in?”
No, I’m not going to do that. I’m not a builder, you’re a hundred percent right. But I work with builders all of the time that are implementing this stuff. And it seems a bit strange to me why people would go, “You’re an idiot, you can’t charge for quotes.” Or, “That won’t work.” Or, “You can’t do that in the building industry.”
When we know you can, because we’re doing it every day, it seems a bit strange to me why you would fight so ardently to hold on to those limitations and those problems in the building business that just don’t work. But, if that’s what you wanna do, knock yourself out.
There’s no need to tell us about it in Facebook, unless you really, really want to, but we now have a good laugh. So, what we’re going to be talking about in today’s episode is delivering the proposal.
As you may be aware if you’ve been participating in these podcasts for a little while, we’re writing a book and we’re using the podcast for the next, however many episodes to create the content for the book.
So we’re basically starting right at the start about your messaging and all of that sort of stuff and what you’re in business for and going all the way through to the build process. And even how you can scale your business without your head exploding, which is a really cool thing to do. ‘Cause we don’t want your head to explode.
In this particular episode, we’re talking about the part of the process where you deliver the proposal because so many, like I cannot believe how many builders still will email or post or somehow remotely get the quote into their prospect’s hands rather than doing it in person. And so much is lost, from everybody.
Everybody loses when you do this folk. So I’m just telling you right now, stop bloody doing it. We’ve got to be delivering our proposals in-person.
In the Q&A today is coming from a question that’s been asked quite a few times, but it got asked again this week is, “How do I get noticed?
Like how do you get your messaging noticed in the the massive amount of noise and messages and ads and so forth out there? How do I cut through?”
We’re also doing the standard personal productivity hack for you.
*Transcription of the show*
So let’s talk about the proposal delivery or the quote delivery, you need to get used to my language. I just prefer to call the quote a proposal rather than a quote because, well it separates.
Even in the people that you’re talking to in their mind, if you use a different word, it separates what their thinking about. And generally the word quote in the building game is associated with free. We tend to talk about professionally prepared proposals.
So you need to warm up your mouth before you start to talk about that. You need to do some vocal exercises before you start to say professionally prepared proposal, 10 times really fast.
But it tells a little bit of a story when you change the label. And I think it’s really important to label things correctly, because words do have meaning and a professionally prepared proposal does separate itself in the mind of the person you’re talking to if, instead of using the word quote.
So, the thing is, that so many, too many builders that I talk to are still sending the quote and basically their presentation is, “I’ll send you out the quote and if you wanna go head with it, get back in touch with me.” And I just really would wish you’d stop doing that. But because it, guys, it costs so much to get a lead.
The effort and the time and the money that you need to spend to get a lead is really costly. It’s costly to gather the information that needs to go into a proposal. That takes time and time is money for you. The time it takes to create the proposal is, can be huge and particularly if you’re still doing it for free.
And I wish, I’d just hope that you’re not. And if you wanna get paid for your proposals, hit that link and let’s get on a chat real soon and we can fix that quick smart.
But even if you’re being paid for the proposal, wonderful, but if you don’t deliver the proposal appropriately, even though you’ve been paid for it, you still, you don’t get an invite to the big dance, if you don’t present the proposal properly.
So, my question is, why would you falter it the last hurdle? If you’ve spent all, all the time, money and effort to get the lead, to gather the information to put the proposal together, put the proposal together and then go hand pass it to them and say, “Give us a Yahoo if you’re gonna go ahead with it.”
We can’t be doing that anymore folks. Many builders complain that, “People just don’t get back to me.” Yup, that’s right. People are busy, they’re so, and I’m not saying it’s right, I disagree with it.
Like if you’ve gone to the effort of doing all of this stuff, the least someone could do is call you back and let you know, “I agree.” But it often doesn’t happen because people are busy and life gets in the way.
Even with something as important as an extension or renovation or a new build, life can still get in the way. And people will tend to wanna do things on their timeline rather than yours. And then that just stuffs everything up. And you know what I’m talking about.
So, the thing is, we can’t blame the people. We’ve gotta point the finger squarely on our processes. And that’s what I want to unpack in this episode of the podcast is the process.
So, just let me reiterate, never email or post out, a proposal ever again, always, always, always in-person. ‘Cause you know what’s gonna happen, if you email the quote out or post a quote out or courier it out, or however you do it, what’s the first thing they do?
You might’ve given them 10 to 40 pages of information, and the final price is on the last page. They don’t go read every word from start to finish and eventually get to the price.
They got, lick their thumb, and they go all the way through to the end and they look at the price. Okay, that’s the first they’ll do is look at the price and they’ve got no reference whatsoever of the value that you are providing for that price.
They’re just looking at the price. And if they’ve got another quote that they, they’ll just look at that price as well. After they’ve looked at the price, they might go back and have a look at a bit of the detail, but they look at the price first.
And unfortunately, when they do that they, something happens subconsciously where they start to lock in the cheapest price. “Can we get what we want for that cheapest price?”
And so they’ll tend to see what they want to see in the proposal. But, the thing that they’ll remember all of the time is the price. And, I just need you to remember folks that nobody, no matter what you think, and no matter what they say, nobody makes decisions based on price.
They just don’t. They make decisions emotionally. All humans make decisions emotionally. And when they see value, they start to rationalize to themselves, “Is it worth it? Is it worth? This one’s more expensive, is it worth it?”
And if you’ve been able to present significant enough value, most people, if they can afford it, will say, “Let’s go with that one,” because it represents the most value.
Of course, people will default to price if they can’t differentiate any value between two proposals. If one’s more expensive and they look identical, of course, they’re going to default to price.
But it won’t happen when there is a differential in the value proposition between a couple of choices. So, number one, you’ve got to set a time and get them to come and visit you to do the proposal presentation.
Super important that you do that. So, and the one thing that you do, I haven’t got, I’ve got a piece of paper here to represent the proposal but it’s only one piece of paper.
So it doesn’t represent it very well. But, when you’re sitting around the table and sit on the same side of the table as people, and have the proposal there, maybe turn it upside down and put it on the table and put your hand on it, so nobody’s sneaking any peaks, because you do not want to open that thing up yet.
What you need to do is re-establish the rapport, okay. “So, how’s your mother’s chokes?” All of that sort of stuff. Have a bit of small talk. Re-establish the rapport and then we need to revisit the initial meeting.
So in previous podcasts, we’ve unpacked the initial meeting. And in the initial meeting, what you do is identify all of their fears and frustrations, wants and aspirations and ensure, and this is the secret with this initial meeting, ensure that they feel 100% that you understand their concerns and you have allayed any concerns or frustrations or fears.
And you also understand their priorities as well. That represents massive value in the initial meeting, when you learn how to do it right.
And there’s a few skills that need to go along with the initial meeting process. You need to learn some cool communication skills. But then, you’ve been paid to do the proposal, now you’re presenting the proposal.
The thing that you need to do is revisit that. And so you’d say, “Now last time we spoke, you said that this was your concern. This was a concern. This was a fear. These were your questions. And these were your priorities.”
So you revisit all of that and you go, “Is that, am I on the ball there? Have I understood that?” So you’re reaffirming, getting the understanding of what their fears, frustrations, wants and aspirations are.
And they’ll generally go, “Yep, yep, that’s right.” Or, they may add something to it where you go, “Hmm, there’s been a change. If they don’t add anything to it, ask the question, “Since then, has anything changed?”
Okay, you’ve still got your hand on the proposal and you’re not showing them the proposal yet, because if anything has changed, that proposal has, have, let me just get my words right.
Has become pretty much irrelevant, not completely, but we need to go back and address those changes before we even open up this quote and start showing them through it. Because if the changes in their mind are significant enough, that it’s going to change this, what you need to do unfortunately, is go back and modify it with the changes.
But what I would also be doing is establish that, you know, “We don’t wanna be doing this too often because if we start doing this every time, I come back to present the proposal, there are gonna be additional costs.”
And they’ll know why that’s the case because you’ve already established why in the initial meeting, when they understand why you have a fee for your professionally prepared proposals versus doing free quotes.
So it generally isn’t an issue. But you’ve just, my point is, establish that they still know and believe that you understand their priorities and their concerns from their perspective. And nothing has changed. So, the next step, once you’ve established that, now we can pull it out and we can go, “Let me run you through this.”
And what I would suggest you do is have a list of the concerns and a list of the priorities and as I would run through that proposal, I would suggest that you link how, “Now remember that concern there. Remember you were concerned about, this is how we’ve addressed that in this proposal.
And remember you said that was a priority for you.
This is how we’ve addressed that in the proposal.” This is really powerful stuff folks.
When you have a person that really believes, that you understand their fears, frustrations, their problems, their concerns, their priorities from their perspective and then you’ve gone away and prepared something and you are showing them exactly how that has been addressed, you’re just ticking these boxes, “I feel understood, I feel understood. I’ve got relief, I’ve got clarity. I’ve got certainty.”
These are all of the emotions that your prospect is feeling. And, it is just adding to the trust, adding to the openness and adding to the rapport. So go through things in detail.
The next part of the process, because you can’t, even after you’ve done that, you can’t leave it folks and say, “Well, give us a call if you wanna go ahead.” We can’t be doing that. We’ve got to give them a clear pathway to the next step. And so one thing that I would suggest is, if you can, have the meeting in your office.
If you haven’t got an office, we can figure out how to do this. You can hire boardrooms and if you need to go to their place, we can figure that out as well. But it is mostly preferred to be on your territory. And have a visual display.
This is super powerful, if they’re meeting in your office, if you’re gonna meet with them you’ll need to have a portable version, but you’ve gotta have a visual display of the pipeline of your work. And it’s really important. So they can see that you’ve got, that, few weeks there is booked up and these few months there are booked up and they can see the gaps.
This is super powerful. And I’ll tell you a story why. Many, many years ago, I was on the mainland and we were kind of looking at camper trailers and caravans and all of that sort of stuff, and one of the ones, I can’t remember the name of it, but it was a real flesh, I think it was called a Pod Trailer. Give them a bit of a plug.
But the, it was just a wicked bit of kit. Like the suspension was, these people design the suspension for military trailers. Like it was a pretty bulletproof thing.
Anyway, we just, while we were there, we thought we’d go and have a look at their showroom. And they showed us the manufacturing facility and everything. And I had no intention of buying one. I just wanted to see them.
And, I suppose are a bit of an option. I was so impressed with the manufacturing facility but then they came out into the office, and at the time back of where we were sitting, there was the workflow and there were people’s names, because it took this long to build a trailer, this long to build another trailer, this long to build another trailer and had people’s names, but they had a few blank spots on it, and blow me down, I even knew what was going on.
This is how powerful this can be. I knew what was going on, but I had no defenses against it. I saw that there was a gap there and the gap was reasonably soon.
And there were no other gaps until, months and months down the track. And they said, “If you wanna give us a deposit today, we can lock that time out for you. That can be your time. That can be your block. But if you don’t take that one, the next one’s not till way down there.”
And I found myself on the phone to the accountant to find out, how we could get them the deposit, and halfway through the conversation with the accountant, I’ve come to my senses and gone, I didn’t even come here to buy one, but the fear of loss, the fear of missing out, all of those sorts of things come into play when you’re looking at something that’s really cool and something that you’ve got your heart set on and all of this, that scarcity can have a profound effect.
So I would suggest to you that you have a pipeline that you can show them because it’s a powerful, powerful tool.
And you can basically say, “So, with all of the priorities, do you believe that we’ve understood them and addressed them in the proposal?
And the things that you’re concerned about, are you feeling that we’ve addressed those as well?” “Yep.” And this is sort of a different version of the three question loop we talked about before the one that Taki Moore, our business coach has taught us.
You then can say, “So, is everything making sense? Are you a hundred percent comfortable with what we’ve talked about here today? In your mind, where do you think we should go from here?” And shut up.
The most important part of what I just said there was shut up, please leave people the space. And it doesn’t matter how long it takes, just leave this awfully uncomfortable silence, until they respond.
And it’s so powerful. And this doesn’t mean that everyone will say, we’re going to go ahead, but it certainly gives them a whole lot of confidence and the space to say, “We’re gonna go ahead.” And they have the control. They have the decision as to whether to do this or not.
Now, the big majority of the time if you follow this process, if you’ve done the initial meeting properly, you’ve presented in person, you’re pretty much the only choice in their mind because nobody else will be doing it.
Nobody else will have taken the time to show that they care and demonstrate that they care and give them a clear pathway forward, with somebody that they now trust and believe to be on authority.
So, no more emailing, no more coring, no more sending it out in the post to do it. We gotta do it live. We’ve gotta do it in person and best of all, try to get them to come to you and make sure you’ve got all of the stuff prepared and the visual of the workflow and so on.
Q & A
Q&A time. And I was asked just this week, how the bloody hell do you get noticed with so many other marketing messages and bings and whistles and all of that on your phone and your computer, taking people’s attention. It’s a really, really great, great question.
And obviously I’m not gonna give you the definitive answer because there isn’t one, there’s a bunch of moving parts but I can tell you a few things that will make a difference. Number one, don’t talk about yourself.
If you wanna get noticed, please don’t talk about yourself. How long you’ve been in business. How experienced you are. How talented and skilled you are.
And how wonderful your work is and all that sort of stuff. I’m glad that it’s wonderful. It’s important, it’s essential, but it doesn’t belong in your marketing messages.
If you have a look at 10 builders websites, count how many times it says we, us, our, or the business name in all of that.
And then, you know about us, and then it’s a blurb about the builder and how long you’ve been around and all that sort of stuff. Yawn, yawn, no one gives a stuff. If you wanna get serious about attracting people, you need to understand what cuts through.
And here’s the thing, if you’re in a busy room and it’s noisy, noisy, noisy and someone says your name, for some reason your name cuts through, “Who’s talking about me, who just said,” you know that cuts through because it’s something that you’re interested in. It’s really, really important to you. You are important to you.
And, what will happen is if you mention things in your marketing, if you talk about things in your marketing that are of the highest importance to your prospect, that’s when it cuts through.
Now, what’s important, and again, I see some builders doing this, but they tend to use testimonials and so on and so forth about, from people who have built with them already.
Now, this is a little, subtle difference, but it can make a powerful difference to the effectiveness of what you’re doing. Remember, that the people looking at your marketing messages they’re not clients, they are what you call a prospect.
So they don’t really know you. They don’t really trust you yet. And their priorities or concerns are different to somebody who trusts you and knows you, because they’ve been a customer.
So there’s no point really talking about the customer experience to your prospects. What you need to be talking about are your prospects experiences.
So if you’re gonna be using testimonials and so forth, I’d be getting testimonials from your prospects. So you get testimonials from, after your initial meeting or after your proposal presentation or things like that.
They’re really, really early on in the piece. And they’re addressing the fears and concerns and priorities of someone who is in that part of the process because it’s very different when you’ve got the relationship and they become accustomed. So just remember that.
Think about what the fears, frustrations, wants, and aspirations are of your prospects versus your clients, very different kettle of fish. And if you can use that content in your social posting and your website and so forth, you will cut through.
You’ll get a lot more, people taking notice of your message, because it will really resonate with them. So if you can articulate their problem from their point of view as well as, if not better than they can, they will assume that you have the solution.
And another quick tip, there’s no point, it’s a waste of your time and effort and real estate in your content, in your social media to talk about solutions.
Go a hundred percent talking about the problems that your prospects are experiencing and the problems that those problems cause. Go into as much depth as possible with that.
Don’t worry about the solution because if they believe you understand the problem, they assume that you will have the solution. So it’s a waste of time talking about it.
Personal Productivity Hack
Personal productivity hack. We had a conversation in Blackbelt the other day and we had a few members get together and we shared a bunch of ideas about the use of a CRM or a customer relationship management platform.
It’s a database where you put all of your customer’s information in or prospect’s information in and you can segregate them in groups and lists and all that sort of stuff.
And you can apply tags that create automations of emails and reminders and all sorts of cool stuff. The one that we use is one called Active Campaign. I’m not getting any commission or any kickback or anything for mentioning Active Campaign.
I suggest that our Builders Business Blackbelt members use it as well and many do, simply because when you create something in it like an automation or something like that, you can export it and share it with other other members.
And it means that, everybody can get a whole lot of cool things happening in their CRM, but you only have to build one or two yourself because we’re all sharing and it makes a big difference.
So think about being able to create automations for your customer communication or your prospect communication, simply by adding a tag in their contact record. Don’t think that I’m talking high tech technology here.
This is super simple and even you can do it. Everyone can do this. It’s really, really simple. You can kickoff an automation that creates internal communication within your business to create reminders and notifications, to do certain things at a certain time.
So it creates a real professionalism about you because nothing gets forgotten. Things happen in a real timely manner and it’s really reliable. And you can kick things off by adding a tag.
Or you can kick things off by filling out a form, so your customers can fill out a form, your prospect can fill out a form and it kicks off automations and it’s really, really cool.
So if I were you, I’d go and check out something like that. Something like the active campaign.
You might as well go for something like that, because if you’re in the Facebook group, you can ask questions about it. I might be able to answer them because we use it. And we know what we’re talking about in that space.
But if you’re using other software or never heard of it, I can’t really help, but we’ve found that, using the same one, all of us using the same one, it just, it’s like a Peloton. The whole group goes faster because it’s many hands make light work and we don’t have to build all the stuff for yourselves.
Takeaway & Jump On A Call
What’s the takeaway from today?
I think most solutions to many builders problems is simplification. I’d like you to take that away. We tend to over-complicate things. But the thing is it takes time and effort to simplify.
I don’t know whether you know anything about software but some software is really, really complicated to use. What I’ve found, because I did get involved in the creation of software many, many years ago, lost a lot of money in it, just so you know.
And what we found was creating complicated software was easy and creating simple software was really, really difficult. So having that simple user interface was really difficult and complex. So it was simple for the user.
You’ve got to understand that with your building business as well. It takes effort, it takes time. It takes persistence to create really simple and effective processes and uncomplicate your business. But it is absolutely worth the investment. And as I said, the other thing is, share this with others.
If you’re in a group, it just makes everything so much easier and work so much faster. The groups that you can join with us, the Builders Business Success Forum, which is where we’re going live with this podcast right now, that’s free to join.
Just go search Builders Business Success Forum, answer a couple of questions, jump in and you can just start consuming the resources there, asking questions. And it’s just wonderful when I see guys asking questions and a whole bunch of other guys, builders who don’t even know them, jump in and help them out. It’s just, it’s a great thing.
And then of course we do, we’ve got The Blueprint to Blackbelt and that’s our our 12 week course where you build the three pillars of a very, very effective building business. And then if that all works out, you can get an invitation into Blackbelt.
But the only way into Builders Business Blackbelt is through the blueprint. But you can start, just with the Builders Business Success Forum. So, I’d encourage you to reach out and have that conversation and just see where it goes.
So you’ve got absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain by having a conversation as to where you are in your business and where you wanna go, so you can be pointed at the resources you need right now because there’s a lot of resources out there, not just from us, but from many, many other coaches and organizations. And it really is a matter of mining the dirt to get to the gold. And it will take a long time.
That’s that’s what I’ve been doing for 35 years, is mining, to find what works and turning it into something that works specifically for builders. So, if we can hear what your problems are, hear what your aspirations are, we can go, this is the direction you need to go. Here are the resources and you can get started real fast with a minimum of hustle and resistance.
So all you need to do is get on that call, button under the video if you’re watching the blog, if you’re watching on Facebook, either replay or live, there’s a comment, there’s a link in the comments or if you’re listening to the podcast on the Audio Only Version, Spotify, Apple something like that, just navigate to buildersbusinessblackbelt.com.au.
Hit the button and we’ll be talking before you know it. Can’t wait. That is it for this episode of, Builders Business Success Podcast. We will be back next week.
We’ll be going live into the Facebook group, the Builders Business Success Forum. So jump in there, join that. You can participate live, ask questions and be part of the content, that’s gonna go into this book that we’ll be writing over the course of this year.
So I hope you enjoyed it. I hope it inspired you in some way to take action, make some change in your building business and get rid of some of the ugly bits that are keeping you up at night. We’d love to be able to help you with that.
So, I’m Mick Hawes. That is it for today. Bye for now.