Are you more than just another commercial contractor? What is the difference from one contractor to another and why should a building owner or property manager buy services from you over someone else? If value can’t be established, then there is nothing more to compete on than price. The concerning thing is I see price trending downward in many markets. The amazing thing is the cost of service delivery continues to trend upward. How can this be and how do you survive in these market conditions? Let’s look at five key principles of market success:
The right fit:
In Good to Great, author Jim Collins wrote to act as a sniper when selecting with whom you want to do business. He advised it is best not to send out a shotgun blast. Each year we evaluate the clients who we work best for and with. We look to make sure the account is performing well financially, that we can safely work there, and that it is feasible for us to do a great job for them. We then look for like properties within our existing service areas.
What do we do exceptionally well for our clients: Every season, we perform a Net Promoter Score survey on our client list. We ask on a scale of 0-10 how likely they would be to refer us to a peer in the industry. We then follow up with the next question: “Why did you rate us the way you did?” The answers help us identify issues and find out what we are doing right by the client. We can then fine-tune our service offering.
Look beyond “the expected”: Uniforms, proper insurance, new equipment, clean trucks, documented workforce, trained professionals and good customer service are no longer selling points — they are expected and are best practices used by high quality businesses that are competing for the upper echelon of jobs in a good market.
Have a sales plan by the numbers:
I always find it interesting to hear “you need to know someone to break into a market” or “We advertised but didn’t get any calls” as excuses for a lack of success in a market. In the commercial market, just as most markets, it all comes down to simple numbers. How much do you want to grow?
Have a strategic sales plan:
“We want to grow by $100,000!” Why? Most people don’t have a good answer other than the number sounds good. I have asked this question to people growing to $100,000 and people growing to $100 million. Many times, neither has a good reason. Usually the latter has a solid plan and has been down this path along different growth goals. At the end of the day, it helps to start with why the company or your family wants/needs to grow to a certain point by a certain time. Next, reverse engineer from there. Personally, I do this by first creating a 10-year family plan and vision board with my wife. Then I look at what I believe is possible for the business and how it will fund our lives and our team’s lives. After that assessment, I reverse engineer the goals down through the years. We created a 10-year plan about 5 years ago and are on target.
Jon Crandall, CSP, is chief visionary for JC Grounds Management and a member of SIMA’s Board of Directors. Contact him at Jon@jcgrounds.com.