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Straight Talk About Setting Prospect Expectations

setting prospect expectations

Let’s say you and your spouse are watching TV. A commercial for a Disney cruise comes on.

You have three kids, and they’re at that perfect “Disney” age.

You start talking about how you’ve wanted to take your kids on a BIG vacation. You’ve even been saving some cash for it.

So the following day, as you’re driving to your travel agent (yes, you still have a travel agent in 2017—just go with it), you discuss the plan with your spouse and try to determine your budget.

Here’s what you talk about:

  1. You are unsure how much Disney cruises cost, but you assume they’re expensive. (Everything Disney is expensive.)
  2. You have friends that have been on a Disney cruise before, and they swore on a stack of Bibles it was the greatest experience ever. But the cost never came up in discussion.
  3. You have other friends who went on a Carnival cruise and loved it. Your friend is the kind who “finds deals” and said their all-inclusive cruise was only $380 per person for seven days. That’s $1,900 for five people.
  4. Since you know Disney will cost more (Mickey Mouse doesn’t entertain kids for free), and you know your friend is a bargain hound, you’re assuming that the Disney Cruise will probably be about DOUBLE the cost of your friend’s cruise—maybe as much as $4,000.
  5. You also know you need to fly to Florida where the ship launches… say that’s $300 per person, that will add another $1,500.
  6. You budget $500 for miscellaneous things and “fun stuff,” bringing your total maximum budget to $6,000.
  7. You’ve already saved up $3,000, and you think you can save another $1,500 prior to the trip, and you’ll just put the other $1,500 on a credit card that you’ll pay off as soon as you can.

Bing, bang, boom—you’re ready to speak with your travel agent.

The travel agent, of course, is thrilled to see you. She gets the dates and info from you and inputs it into her computer.

The following conversation ensues:

Travel Agent: Okay. It’s going to be… $10,783.80, including taxes. That’s a stateroom with a verandah.

You: (Gulp) What’s a stateroom with a verandah?

Travel Agent: Stateroom just means room; verandah means it has a little balcony you can sit on to view the ocean. Here is a picture. (She shows you the computer monitor).

You: That’s nice, but it might be out of our budget. (A single bead of sweat rolls down your forehead.)

Travel Agent: Well, that’s actually the cheapest price in July.

You: Uh, okay. Are there any, you know, less expensive staterooms? Maybe without a verandah?

Travel Agent: The cruise ship has interior rooms with no view or balcony. They are usually around $7,000 to $8,000. But they’re sold out for all of this month.

You: Uh, okay. Um, uh.

Travel Agent: If you could go later in the year, like in October, then these cheaper rooms would be available. Or you could go on a different cruise line—we have a Carnival Cruise in July for only $4,700. Disney does have a four-day cruise that is less money, but that is sold out, too.

You: Uh… uh… (exchanging nervous looks with your spouse)… okay. We need to think about it.

Travel Agent: Well, I’ll tell you what. I have been authorized to give you a 10% discount on any of these cruises if you decide and buy right now. Because, you know, if you do that, then I don’t have to waste time calling you back later. So which cruise do you want?

You: I… don’t know. I’d really like some time to think about it.

Travel Agent:  We can finance it. Just put down $1,000, and we can do 0% financing for up to 18 months. Then you can afford the Disney Cruise you want. Which date would you like to book?

You: Heh, yea. Okay. I think we want to think about this. We’ll get back to you. (You run away and never look back.)

Let me ask you… whose fault is it that you didn’t buy?

Maybe the travel agent didn’t “sell” well enough. Maybe she didn’t ask for the sale in a firm enough fashion.

I’m sure if the travel agent’s sales manager asked, they would blame YOU for being “cheap” and “indecisive.” You couldn’t come to a decision, even when given multiple options in your price range and financing was offered.

This role play scenario is a microcosm of the ordeal many (probably MOST) contractors force their customers to go through in every sales meeting.

You ask them to pay much more money than they thought they would.

You use words and jargon that are foreign to them.

You throw a ton of choices at them that they don’t know how to sort through.

You try to make them decide something right away, when they really need is to step back, breath, and process.

I’ve got some advice…

Stop doing this.

There’s an old marketing adage: “If you want to know why John Smith buys what John Smith buys, you’ve got to see the world through John Smith’s eyes.”

Take a second to view the situation from your prospect’s standpoint:

  • Know That They Don’t Know: Remember that your prospects know very little about what you sell—including pricing and options. Everyone knows a Chevy Malibu is probably $20,000 or $25,000. Almost no one has any idea how much a new kitchen or replacement windows cost.
  • Facilitate Their Knowledge: Don’t make prospects wait for the sales meeting to find all this out—it’s overwhelming and unfair to them. On your website, provide information so they know you’re different (and better!) that your competitors. Give case studies, with as much detail as possible. Provide them with pre-positioning materials before your meeting, so they have a better idea of what to expect (more on that in a second).
  • Take Responsibility: Don’t become frustrated when prospects don’t know something. Consider it your responsibility if they walk into a sales appointment unprepared.
  • Give Them A Break: If they really do need more time, give them more time. This isn’t ideal, but neither is pressuring them. If you do your job on the front end, you won’t find yourself in this situation.

Ultimately, this all boils down to respect. If you respect your prospects as humans, you won’t force them into uncomfortable situations.

One of the best ways to educate prospects and lower their sales resistance is with Pre Positioning materials. These include items such as a Contractor Standards Guide, product brochures, and pre-appointment emails.

The idea is to get prospects familiar with your business BEFORE you walk through their front door. By doing so, you make them more prepared and at ease for your meeting. This increases your closing rates and helps you increase your average sales amount.

MYM provides contractors with a powerful, proven Pre-Positioning package.

Our Pre-Positioning materials soften up your prospects like microwaved butter, so you can keep more appointments, close more jobs, and boost your bottom line.

Visit our Pre-Positioning package webpage for the details.

P.S. Thursday’s email is for the contractors who follow MYM but haven’t yet become clients. I’ll unveil a website we just launched for one of our new clients. The client received bids from four online marketing companies (including MYM) to build them a new website… and they chose us. I’ll tell you why—and show you the client’s amazing new website—in a couple days.

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Webinar Posting: Overcoming Price Resistance

Watch Closing Ratios Soar and Sales Skyrocket By Shutting Down Price Objections Before They’re Ever Even Raised

If you’re a remodeling company selling on the higher end of the pricing scale, then you’re no stranger to price objections. Sometimes prospects will just tell you that they think you’re too high; other times, they make up excuses because they don’t have the guts to just tell you they think you’re too high. Either way, in the end, your frequently walk out without a sale.

In the past, the solution was to either cut your prices… or to train your salespeople better. But nobody wants to cut prices, and consumers are wary of three-hour sales pitches designed to wear them out while you educate them why you’re actually worth the extra money.

The solution for selling to today’s consumer is to deliberately and liberally utilize contractor-specific, marketing-based price conditioning. The idea is simple: to help your prospects understand what quality looks like, how you deliver it, and why they should expect to pay for it…. and to do all this BEFORE YOU EVER SET FOOT IN THE PROSPECT’S HOME.
Read More

The Warranty Everyone Laughs At…

People Laugh And Mock When I Mention This Warranty In Contractor Marketing Seminars... But I'm Serious As A Heart Attack

People Laugh And Mock When I Mention This Warranty In Contractor Marketing Seminars... But I'm Serious As A Heart Attack

But The Effect It Has On Your Customers Is No Joke.

One Of The Best Ways I’ve Seen To Prove Your Trustworthiness.

By Rich Harshaw

Public speaking is widely considered to be a nerve-wracking experience. The reason has very little to do with the actual speaking; I think it’s the potential negative reaction from the audience we tend to fear. Negative reactions could range from boredom to heckling to cartoonish tomato throwing.

But the most dreaded—and humiliating—negative reaction of all has to be laughing.

Not “you just told a joke or a funny story and I’m laughing with you” laughing. I’m talking about “I’m laughing at you because I can’t believe I showed up here today to listen to somebody spout such garbage” laughing.

Which is the kind I always get in contractor marketing seminars with remodelers when I recommend they offer their customers a 100% money-back guarantee.

(insert your laughter here)

Read More

Freshly Posted Contractor Marketing Webinar: 3-For-1 Contractor Marketing Webinar!

Proximity Marketing: How To Turn Every Job Into 2 or 3 More.

Pre-Positioning: How To Make Prospects Fall In Love With You… Before Your Sales Person Ever Shows Up.

Referrals: How To Get More Of Them Than Ever Before.

Watch Monopolize Your Marketplace CEO Rich Harshaw as he packs 3 NEW RULES of CONTRACTOR MARKETING topics into one compact, 80-minute webinar! These topics might LOOK like “old standbys,” but wait until you learn the NEW WAYS THAT ACTUALLY WORK!

Proximity Marketing

  • Why “3 postcards and pray” proximity marketing never works and never will work
  • 9 steps of Super Robust Proximity Marketing… including step-by-step implementation
  • How to handle the dirty work without getting your hands dirty (thank you, Marketsharp!!)

Pre-Positioning Marketing

  • Why pre-positioning is absolutely critical if you want to maximize home improvement lead conversion
  • Why your current pre-positioning efforts are probably falling short of their potential, and how to fix them
  • Principles of “confirmation bias,” price conditioning, and reciprocity
  • Details on the 4 components of pre-positioning, and how to implement them all
  • Financial implications of pre-positioning including execution costs and expected returns
  • See samples of pre-positioning packages

Referral Generation

  • Why just “asking for referrals” doesn’t work… and never will work
  • A 3-step system that will instantly increase referrals by 50% to 100%
  • How to realistically build your referral business to at least a quarter of your business or more
  • Pros and cons of putting formal referral reward programs in place.

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