The Sales Process – Closing faster, with less doubt
As a design-build firm, you’re going to make your money during the remodeling process, not the design. With that said, it is the design aspect that brings potential customers in. They want your knowledge and expertise to help solve a pain point they might be having. Once you get the potential customer in the door, it is your designer’s job to make sure their pain points are met. Then, when the customer feels comfortable with the design and price, you can get the construction process underway. For more information on this process, please check out the original article from Remodeling Magazine here.
Fielding the call
When a lead calls in, your qualifier fields the call. Usually, these are your friendly, upfront folks who know customers and the company. It is your lead intake salesman that will determine whether or not this lead is qualified for your firm. If they do, move to the next step.
This is when one of your salespeople takes the reigns. They call the potential customer back and discuss their plans, ideas, and the overall climate of what they are looking to get done. One of the most important things discussed is the budget, as your salesperson needs to know (generally) if the two sides are in line. If they are, then we can proceed.
Meeting in person
A meeting should take place next. This meeting will likely take place at the customer’s home. Your salesperson will sit down and discuss the needs, wants, and most importantly, paint points the potential customer is having. At this meeting, it is very important to discuss the budget again. After seeing (generally) the scope of work that needs to be done, and the amount the potential customer is looking to spend, your salesperson will have a good idea if this is going to be a fit. If this is a yes, you can schedule a time for the design agreement to be signed.
Beginning the design process
Now that an agreement has been signed and the customer is looking to move forward, you schedule a meeting with the salesman, the homeowners, and your designer, likely again at the customers home. The designer’s intentions here are similar to the first in-person meeting the salesman had, only the designer has a different perspective. The designer will use the salesman’s notes to facilitate conversation and begin understanding what all might need to be done. The customer loves this part, as they get to lay out their vision. Make sure your designer shows examples of what will be out of the budget and what will be right in line with the budget.
Be sure that notes are being taken at each meeting, and that a “meeting minutes” document is signed by both parties. This ensures that both sides are on the same page throughout the process.
Design and estimating process begins
Your designer gets to work bringing the customer’s visions to life. As soon as the designs are looked at with the customer, and maybe one or two revisions take place, the estimating begins. The designer has been sharing photos of actual products with the customer, outlining costs that fall in line with their budget. The estimator takes note of this while drafting up the first version.
The most important thing here is to provide the customer with details on products that fit the budget. We want to avoid any kind of shell shock down the road. Being proactive about this avoids having to “value engineer” later when the client feels that things are far too expensive.
Proposal is presented
This is the first proposal to be signed by the homeowner, usually called the Preliminary Proposal. Although rough, it is a very thorough, line item by line item estimate. This proposal should be in line with what was discussed with the customer, as well as what has been discussed with your vendors and subcontractors. Remember, we want to follow the customer’s vision while meeting their cost.
Be sure to Outline that the proposal includes the scope of work mentioned in writing and per your communication, and that any complications and/or additions (change orders) are not included in this proposal. This is where your “boilerplate” (legal) language comes into play. Be sure to have this in your proposal and gone over with the customer.
The proposal is now signed and both sides have agreed to the costs outlined. Make sure to go over choices selected by the customer (owning those decisions). Begin scheduling job books and work orders. Now, the remodeling can begin.
Thanks for reading!
For more information on this process, please check out the original article from Remodeling Magazine here.