Dahlsens recently partnered with Buildxact, an Australian online estimating and job management software company, and Kurt Hegetschweiler, a specialist industry business coach, to deliver a webinar around strategies for builders to get ahead of the competition.
We wanted to share with you the top 8 takeaways from the webinar.
1 Don’t let your mindset hold you back
You will never out-perform whatever your mindset is, so if your business is not progressing the way you want it to, then it’s time to re-assess your goals and put an action plan in place so you win more work, increase your profits and set your business up for success.
You are the leader, and you set the standards for yourself and your team. Spend part of your profits on developing your business and leadership skills so you understand what it requires to take your business to the next level. Likewise, invest in your staff and empower them with the skills they need to become high-performers. Building industry coaches such as Builderscoach can help with the development of you, your staff and your business, but ultimately, you must have the right mindset to succeed.
2 Communicate the value of your business
A key factor in winning more work is to differentiate yourself from your competition, show your value to clients, and educate them to look beyond ‘the cheapest price’. Communication is the key to this with you firmly steering the conversation. It’s worth investing time in the following before submitting any quote.
- Extract as much information as possible about the project from your potential clients
- Book in a site visit
- Provide them with information and FAQs
- Explain what’s involved in your process and what they will get
- Send your portfolio of work and make them fall in love with what you do
Pro-active communication shows the value of your business against that of your competition and instils confidence that you can fulfil their construction requirements. You will build trust and credibility, and you will see an increase in the percentage of jobs you win.
3 Show potential clients that you’re ahead of the game
Communicating the value of your business is one thing, but effective communication with your clients throughout the job is paramount. Whichever construction software you use, ensure it includes a client portal — a designated ‘mini-site’ for each of your clients which contains all the details of their projects and through which you can keep them updated. Buildxact software enables you to set up individual, secure portals for clients, using your business branding, and which clients can access to see how their project is progressing.
Setting up clients with their own portal right from the get-go is a powerful way to show the value of your business. It sends a powerful message to your clients that you are in control of the builds you work on, and that it will be easy working with you. This is an important point of difference which can set you apart from other builders.
4 Set aside money towards marketing the value of your business
Word of mouth is great and some builders are happy to tick over on referral-based business. But if you want to grow your business, you must invest in marketing it, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money to do this. Here are some basic must-do’s:
- Make sure you have a website that showcases your work and outlines your business value
- Set up social media sites (eg. Facebook & Instagram) to showcase your work and ensure that you are regularly posting and responding to enquiries as quickly as possible
- Proactively network with others in the industry such as architects and engineers to increase referrals
- Invest in direct response marketing such as banners, flyers or emails
If marketing is not something that you’re comfortable doing, invest in an experienced professional to help you set everything up and maintain the marketing momentum.
5 Get your quotes right
An all-encompassing and accurate quote will reduce the number of surprises (eg. costly variations) for your clients later down the track. This contributes to building an excellent reputation which helps confirm your business value and instil trust and increase referrals.
Using estimating software, such as Buildxact, will enable you to up the ante on the accuracy, presentation and timeliness of your quotes, ensuring that your business comes across as professional and competent, and this will definitely give you a leg-up when pitching for new work against your competition. It will also allow you to analyse previous quotes, fine tune them, and use them as templates in the future. This means more accurate revenue, profit, cost and cash flow projections, and a better bottom line for you.
6 Your time is valuable so charge for quotes
Most builders don’t charge for quotes believing that if they do, they will lose opportunities to win work. But in an industry where time is money, spending hours and even days putting a quote together and not charging for it is ludicrous, and bad for your business. This encourages people who gather quotes to ensure that their preferred builder has quoted them fairly.
There is no evidence to suggest that builders that charge for quotes lose out on business; quite the opposite. Charging for quotes puts a value on them and enables you to ‘go deeper’ than other builders do by producing quality quotes to people who are genuinely interested in working with you. Have the confidence to charge for quotes. Once you do this, you’ll find that you will win a higher percentage of the work that you quote on.
7 It’s okay to let business walk away
One of the biggest mistakes builders make is not qualifying their potential clients and their respective ‘builds’. Don’t waste your time working on jobs, or with people who are not a suitable fit for your business. Politely but confidently refer them on to someone else. Your red flags should go up when, for example, you’re presented with incomplete plans to quote on or to ‘fill in the gaps’; or when a potential client requests continual budget cuts to your quote while insisting on maintaining the same specifications. It’s ok to let potential business walk away if it will compromise your quality of work or your bottom line.
Do you have a niche? If the client doesn’t fit your niche, then pass them on to someone else and focus on the jobs you specialise in, and the clients that value what you do. Clients that don’t see the value in the service you provide are not worth your time or effort so it’s ok to reduce the number of quotes you produce and concentrate on winning the ‘right’ type of work.
8 Use technology in your business
You can’t compete unless you implement the right systems and technology to improve efficiencies and take control of your business.
Buildxact can help you with estimating and job management. It can reduce your estimating and quoting time by up to 80% and enable you to produce an accurate and professional looking quote, quickly and efficiently. The more quotes you send out, the more jobs you will win so it’s worth the investment.
These top eight takeaways are tactics you can use to set your business apart, start winning more quality jobs, and working with clients that value what you do.
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