Not Everyone Wants a BMW Paint Job

One of my coaching clients was recently reviewing his sales numbers with me. He began to implement my sales system about six months ago, and his closing rate has not changed. However, he has increased his selling price by more than 30 percent. In other words, he is getting a lot more money for the same effort.

As we were talking, he said rather forcefully, “Price doesn’t matter.”

Of course, in one sense price does matter. We can’t charge arbitrarily high prices just because we want to be wealthy. But in another sense, he was absolutely right. If we offer a superior value, then we should charge a superior price. And customers will pay that price, if they want superior value.

As evidence, look in any parking lot. You won’t see it filled with beaters and Yugos. You will see a mixture of vehicles. Some will be expensive and some will be cheap. People have different values. Some are content to drive a Yugo so long as it gets them where they want to go. Others want to travel in a more comfortable and luxurious setting. Both are doing what is right for them.

The same applies to paint jobs. Some people want a BMW paint job and some are content with a Yugo paint job.

If someone is in the market for a new car, they have an idea of what models will fit their budget, needs, and desires. If they have a Yugo budget, they aren’t going to go to the BMW dealership. But if they are in the market for a paint job, it isn’t so easy to distinguish the BMW contractor from the Yugo contractor.

So, the person with the Yugo budget will often call the BMW contractor. And then the contractor will be told that his price is too high. Duh! If we are offering the BMW of paint jobs, the trick is to attract those customers who want a BMW paint job rather than the Yugo buyers.

High-end brands like BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes focus on value in their advertising. They taut their luxury, dependability, comfort, and the other values that will appeal to their target customer. We should do the same in our marketing.

>Not everyone wants a BMW paint job. That’s fine. But we could save ourselves a lot of time and frustration if our marketing attracted those who do, rather than those who want a Yugo paint job.

Your Price is Too High

Suppose your customer utters that bane of contractors everywhere: “Your price is too high.” How do you respond? If you are like many contractors, you say something like, “It’s a lot of work.”

“Your price is too high” might seem like a pretty straight forward statement. But what does it really mean? It could mean:

  1. I have lower prices from other contractors.
  2. That is more than I want to spend.
  3. That is what I am supposed to say as a negotiating tactic.

These mean very different things. If we start trying to defend our price without clarifying the customer’s meaning, we could literally talk ourselves out of a job. So, let us consider a different approach.

A professional contractor should expect his price to be higher than most of his “competition.” He shouldn’t hide from that fact, and he certainly shouldn’t be defensive about it. Instead, he should treat it as a source of pride—he has earned it.

Consider the following reply: “I’m not surprised. In fact, I’d be more surprised if I wasn’t the highest price you have received.” Rather than apologize for your price, wear it as a badge of honor.

Defending your price tells the customer that you aren’t confident in what you are charging. And if you aren’t confident, the customer certainly won’t be.

This doesn’t mean that you can charge arbitrarily inflated prices. But if you are offering superior value, you should charge accordingly. If you got it, flaunt it.

 

Customer Retention with Email

While many painting contractors have come to the conclusion that a web site is a “must have”, few take full advantage of the opportunities that it offers. One of those opportunities is building a customer list for retention marketing.

In this context, a customer list consists of names and e-mail addresses. You can then utilize a service to stay in touch with your customers automatically, as I am doing with this e-mail.

Many contractors have concerns about doing this, such as spamming customers, what to write, and how often to contact their customers. These are legitimate concerns, but they are easily addressed.

There are numerous services available–such as Constant Contact and AWeber–that make it easy to compile a customer list. Each service provides measures that require a customer to “opt-in”, which protects you from claims of spam. In other words, the customer is giving you permission to send him e-mails.

But why would a customer want to opt-in? What benefit would he get from giving you his e-mail address? Most likely none, unless you offer him something. You must give him some reason to opt-in, and one of the most effective ways to do this is a free e-book or special report, such as this one.

A special report allows you to offer your customer something of value, while simultaneously promoting your company. If you are the only contractor in your market doing this, you will have a significant competitive advantage. And the nature of the report allows the customer to easily share it with others–it is a form of viral marketing.

But then what? Once you have started building a customer list, what do you do? The beauty of the services I mentioned above is that you can use auto-responders to automatically send e-mails at predetermined times. You can literally contact your customer list without ever lifting a finger.

For example, you can program an auto-responder to send an e-mail every 30 days. The e-mails might contain information regarding products, services your company offers, seasonal specials, etc. Once you set up the auto-responders, this all happens automatically.

It is a documented fact that customer retention is one of the most powerful and effective means for a contracting company to generate leads. And by using the available technology, you can do this with minimal effort.

In the short video below, you will see how easy it is to use email as an effective part of your customer retention marketing.

If you would like to offer your customers a Special Report, you can purchase our 5-page template, which includes a contractor comparison guide for only $2.95. The report is provided in Microsoft Word, so you can add your company logo, contact information, or other details.





A Different Model for Paint Contracting

I’ve often heard it said that there are two types of painting contractors—those who focus on the technical side and those who are more oriented towards marketing and sales. Of course, a successful business requires the proper combination of both.

For the contractor who enjoys painting, sales and marketing are a “necessary evil.” He recognizes that, without some level of marketing and sales, he simply won’t have the opportunity to paint. For the contractor who is more inclined towards marketing and sales, production issues can be a constant headache.

Fortunately, there is an alternative to the traditional contracting business that allows each type of contractor to focus on what he enjoys. Indeed, I did this for several years, and it proved to be a win-win for all involved.

In the model that I followed, I offered a sales and marketing service for other painting contractors. They retained ownership of their company and were responsible for all production. I simply helped them with marketing, and then did all of the estimating for them. I received a commission for all jobs sold.

For my clients, they didn’t have to spend a large part of their day (or evenings) giving estimates. They could stay on the job and focus on production. They became more efficient. For me, I didn’t have to worry about production issues. I sold the job and then turned it over to them.

I won’t claim that this wasn’t without some problems. First, I spent an incredible amount of time on the road. My clients were servicing a large part of Houston, so I was giving estimates over an area of more than 1,000 square miles. That began to take a toll on me. Second, my clients were sometimes reluctant to do the marketing necessary to generate leads. Because of this, it was sometimes difficult to keep them with the backlog of work that they wanted. Of course, these issues can certainly be overcome.

Some might think it odd, and perhaps even damaging to one’s business, to work with competitors. While I still had my own contracting business, our service areas overlapped very little. In fact, I often received requests for estimates that were outside of my service area, but I was able to sell these jobs for another contractor who did service that area. So I was able to earn a sales commission and the contractor wound up with a job he otherwise wouldn’t have even bid on.

There are certainly variations to this model, but the important point is to create a win-win situation. And this is true whether you are the technician or the salesman.

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