Discover your free Construction Marketing Ideas Email Newsletter

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Thomas Kral installing a batten grid system on a roof and some solar shingles.

This thread is fascinating. Original poster "Grumpy" explains that his sales reps are sometimes losing jobs because when they visit homeowners they quote work that may well be necessary, but is more than what the homeowner wants.

Solutions offered by others include a systematized "good", "better", "best" approach -- something that Grumpy (whose profile tracks to roofing contractor Reliable American Inc. -- Thomas Kral, President -- in Glenview, Illinois) is not sure is right for him.

I can see several sides to this story.

First, is the issue where someone really needs more than they are asking -- to do the job requested would truly be unethical (and in some cases unsafe). Second, is the tendency in some cases for sales reps to pad jobs to build out their commissions. Third, of course, is the simple fact that few jobs are truly simple -- and there are very real choices for quality and comprehensiveness.

Then there is the issue of whether to present more than one option, or to provide the "good", "better", "best" choice. I will dig out later today a previous blog post that shows that when you give too much choice, you often lose the sale -- people freeze up and won't make any decision when they are presented with alternatives. On the other hand, a systematized approach presenting three choices gives the potential client the option of voluntarily up selling themselves. (Another poster heads in the direction of doing the basic job, but presenting up selling opportunities on site -- this is frankly to me a scary option unless you are running a one-man band; it also smacks of deliberate underbidding with change orders in mind, something alluded in the dinghy/boat picture floating around many AEC offices these days!)

Right now, I think for contractors without systems requiring high quality standard screening for potential salespeople, the "good", "better", "best" approach is wisest. You can teach even the most junior person how to calculate and present the three options. For organizations with higher screening standards -- like ours, maybe! -- I would argue in favour of a more customized approach. You need to listen to the client in the presentation, and determine whether to offer a multiple choice or simple option. This requires a depth of understanding and finesse that not everyone has.

Editor's note: Thomas Kral of Reliable American graciously provided this photo for blog entry. The posting regarding the reasons for limiting choice is here:

No comments: