The Official Publication
of the Mason Contractors
Association of America
Winning Against Low-Priced Competition
Every construction company wants a simple solution to charge higher prices and win more work than the competition. But why should customers award your company contracts, unless you are the low bidder? Bid lists have grown, and many of your competitors are pricing jobs lower than their costs to keep their doors open and crews busy. Therefore, customers are taking risks and using the lowest bidder to save lots of money.
Finally, you are realizing business is not what it was, and it will take three to five years for the economy to come back. Only a few years ago, you could get lots of work just by bidding your customer’s steady stream of work. But today, this sales strategy is dead. Now, it takes more than producing quality work and bidding projects per plans and specifications to stay busy. You must do more and offer something different than your competitors to win profitable contracts. You need to change, improve and upgrade your estimating systems, bidding strategies, proposal format, presentation methods, customer contacts, marketing plan and sales tactics to be successful.
Be low bid or get in the sales business
In private work and in public work, where performance is a part of the award-consideration process, it takes a lot more than turning in a bid to win contracts. You have to give customers a differentiating reason to hire your company. It’s not just about price, inclusions and exclusions. Too many competitors exist who can do the same job as your company and will cut their bid to the bone to get a job. Therefore, you now have to be in both the construction and sales business. Estimating and bidding used to be the only sales tactic you needed to win jobs. Sales involve more than pricing jobs and delivering bids. It is about giving your customer what he specifically wants on each job you’re bidding.
What differentiates your company?
Can customers really tell the difference between your company’s bid proposal and your competitors’? If all else is equal, the only differentiating factor between your company and the competition is price. What do you do to stand out from the crowd and set your company apart? Do you offer any of these differentiating factors?
Give customers a reason to hire you
As you create a list of reasons the customer should hire your company, include services you can offer that competitors won’t, and items not required by the scope of work. Think about how you can help your customer meet goals, build a better project, or reduce risk, while working with your company. If you want to win jobs today, you must do more than the minimum.
After you create a list of the reasons why you are the best choice for your customer to award this contract, include in your proposal a list of past projects and pictures showing how you beat the schedule, delivered results, and made your customer excited about working with your company. Include a draft schedule showing how you will complete the project 10 percent to 20 percent faster than your competition. Take your potential customer to jobsites to show them how you solved difficult problems. Give them a list of added services your company will provide and offer guarantees for completion, punch-list, quality, or extra warranties.
What’s the main purpose for your bid?
If you can’t give customers several reasons to meet, you can only hope your low bid is low enough to win the contract. At the meeting, change your role from contractor to a dynamic presenter who sells why they should only consider hiring your company.
Winning contracts at your price is not easy. It takes more work than it used to. Now you must also sell and present your company as the best choice. This takes a restructuring of your time and commitment to excellence. Learn how to upgrade you presentation, improve your proposal, be more aggressive with follow-up, and not take “no” for an answer.
|Last Updated on Friday, 13 July 2012 12:25|