More than just landing the job

For the most part I make it a practice not to rip on the work of another contractor. If I walk into someone else’s home and point out workmanship deficiencies, this can result in anxiety for the homeowner and possible feelings of discouragement where there weren’t any before. The last thing I want to do is exacerbate concerns that already exist. I’ve never really figured out why some contractors are so willing to do this after work has been done. The only thing I can figure is that it gives them a sense of ability by being able to spot “deficiencies” in the work of another or that they are upset that they were not awarded the job. Either way it can only have a bad effect on the homeowner. Now don’t get me wrong, if there is something that presents a real danger to the house or the homeowner, then by all means give the homeowner a heads up so they at least have the opportunity to remedy the situation. But the worst thing you can do is leave the homeowner with a sense of hopelessness and unresolved concern. Give them a solution with your card and offer free advice if they need it; this will have a lasting impression!

People do not want to feel like they have been “ripped off”; most of the time they already know if they were and if the work is done there is nothing more that another contractor can do except help put their mind at ease. Contractors that have a genuine concern for people will automatically see the value in this, even if no future business comes from it. I have never once landed a job with a rampage of how bad their “other” contractor was. But I can tell you that disenchanted contractors who are upset they did not win the bid and have the client’s ear can make things difficult for everyone else without bringing value to themselves. The best business is repeat business from people who have already experienced your level of commitment to their project and call you back, or recommend you to others. Eventually it becomes your cheapest and most effective form of advertising. If a homeowner is unhappy with a previous experience I guarantee that they are not going to call the guy who made them feel that anxiety. There is a basic law of attraction here that says they will remember the feeling they had while talking to you more than anything else, and that becomes the feeling they have when they relate to you. So, even after seeing the worst project you have seen in years, at least try to leave them with a sense of.

My experience is that after a project has been “ripped apart” by an embittered contractor that it is seldom as bad as they claim it to be, and 9 times out of 10 embittered contractors do embittered work. The job will never “pay enough”. The homeowner will never “understand enough,” etc… Embittered contractors are almost never a better choice. My experience is that most unsatisfied homeowners start asking for referrals from their neighbors before they dig up old cards from guys who were able to point out how bad the previous job was. So here is my advice:

1) People want contractors who are genuinely concerned about how the homeowner feels as much as they want a good job done right. So offer free advice and make sure that advice gives them an opportunity to get to know you, the contractor, and what you can do for them. I know that if someone is calling me for advice they are immediately thinking of me when faced with problems and will recommend me every time their neighbor needs someone like me to hire.

2) Give away the contact information of contractors who can do what you can’t and tell the homeowner that by mentioning your name they will take care of them. For example if I don’t do plumbing but recommend my plumber, there are two things I expect my plumber to do: first, take extra caution to make that homeowner happy because he wants me to keep recommending him; and second, scratch my back with referrals because I have done the same for him. So make sure you are getting the kudos’ by getting your homeowner to name drop. However, remember that the quality of work that the person you recommended does is a direct reflection on you, so a quick phone call to follow up with the homeowner will go a long way and insure that you are being represented well.

3) No matter how good your product or service, if you don’t have a good presentation you will spend more than needed to get leads, or you will struggle to find them, so make sure your dialogue shows the project is important to you, not just landing the job. Inspire confidence through your willingness to give them what they need without reluctance.

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