Do you want to win more projects, increase your sales and keep your equipment and employees busy? Sure you do.
Did you know it takes on average 8 touches before someone will buy from you? Each touch point should help the prospect develop trust and confidence in your company. Creating 8 memorable touch points is a lot easier then you think and if you implement half of the list below you will be doing better then 80% of paving companies in your market.
Before we get into the details, you need to be measuring your “bid to project award ratio.” Since residential and commercial buying cycle are so different it’s a good idea to break these out into separate ratios. Ideally, you want to look at these once a month to keep a pulse on the trend,
Knowing what your average close rate will help you refine your process and become more efficient. Additionally, if you start closing more jobs, you can slowly increase your price while staying still competitive in the market.
Systemize Your Process
Implementing a process on how you send bids and follow up with bids will help with measuring your ratio. Having a documented standard operating procedure (SOP) will help you or your sales person follow this process on every estimate. Also, this SOP will help streamline the onboarding of new sales team members.
Sending Estimates and the Follow up
Following up after your email estimate will help win more projects. The key is to create a semi-automated follow-up system. I love using email sequences to help with the follow-up. I use Sendiable its great for low volume email funnels and it costs $29 a month.
Sendiable and similar services offer a few advantages over sending emails manually. First, after you setup the sequence its very fast to send out buds and follow up emails are sent automatically. Second, you can track open rates to see if people are opening your emails. Also, if you are putting links in your email, you can see who is clicking on your links. Finally, the reporting helps test and refine your email copy and sequence.
What an Email Sequence Looks Like
Creating an email sequence is straight forward and the goal is to keep in front of the customer, add value and build trust. Typical email sequences are 3-5 emails, you will want to test this and see which converts the best.
In the first email you want to include the estimate, a personalized message and link to a specific page on your website. Typically, you will want to send them to a page that has glowing customer testimonials, but you can also send them to a portfolio page, a copy current insurance policy. The website visit is really important, and I’ll get to this in a minute.
I call this the follow up email, because you are following up to make sure they received your email and to see if they have any questions. Again include a link to a specific page on your site make sure it’s to a different page than your first email.
The 3rd email you can ask about scheduling requirements and/or include links to any asset you haven’t used. Additionally, if your state requires you to be licensed you can include a link to state’s website which shows that you are in good standing.
The reference email is a little touchy. You don’t want a bunch of people calling your references and exhausting your good relationship. A simple email can help you get a sense on how serious someone is considering your company. Send them an email, asking if they would like a list of reference. IMPORTANT: Do NOT send them the list in this email. Only send them a list if they respond asking for the list. Those that request the list indicate they are seriously considering your company for the project. While those that don’t respond, are less interested in your paving services.
When someone visits your site, they’ll start seeing ads for your company on other sites while reading articles, listening to music, watching YouTube Videos or using Facebook. The important thing is the person must have visited your website for retargeting to work, thus why its super critical to include links in your emails.
Retargeting helps you stay in front of your prospective customer and builds brand recognition. It’s a good way to show case your past work as well as provide visibility of past customer reviews. Retargeting is very inexpensive. Typically, one paving project can pay for entire year of retargeting.
Offer a Warranty
Warranties provide customers good faith and build trust. Warranties minimize some of the risk a customer has when choosing your company for their parking lot and driveway. Create a warranty which is realistic, but has some value. You most likely will need to consult with an attorney to meet state guidelines. Once you have your warranty setup, make sure to include it with all of your estimate and on your website.
Follow Up Phone Calls
I always encourage you to follow up with a phone call on projects you didn’t win. This is good market research and will help you refine your estimating and follow up process.
The key is to find out why you didn’t win the job. The typical answer you will receive is “your price was too high”. Don’t be afraid to ask what price they paid, 80% of the time they will tell you.
If the price is substantial different, then you know the bids are not “apples to apples.” You might have recommended a full tear out and replacement because excessive alligator cracks, whereas the winning bid is just doing a 1” overlay.
If the pricing is line, but a few dollars less, you can use this data to adjust your estimates as needed. In these cases, it always good to ask if there was anything you could have done different to win the project. This will help you learn and refine your follow up process.
You will never win every estimate you send out, but having a follow up process in place will greatly help increase your bid to estimate ratio. If you need any help implementing or want free advice please to call or email and we can setup a time to chat.
Pavement Layers, Pavement Soft and most other asphalt/seal coating estimating software let you create a PDF estimate which you can use for your email sequence.