Mastering the renovation sales process: How to create trust with a client and deal with unresponsiveness
The process of signing a new client contains multiple steps. In addition to finding the client, you, as the contractor, have to find out the client’s budget, the scope that they want to accomplish, and when they want to start the project. Knowing these details will help determine if your firm and the client are a good fit. After that comes client meetings, estimates, and the closing. Sweeten has put together this renovation sales process guide that covers each of these phases.
Luckily, Sweeten prequalifies clients for contractors, which is often the most difficult step. Sweeten’s process puts homeowners with projects in touch with the right contractor. So, when you come on board, the process of identifying possible clients is already done for you.
Sweeten matches general contractors with high-quality home renovation projects, vetted for readiness, and appropriate budget. Additionally, contractors pay only when they win a project. Sweeten project budgets start at $15,000 and average over $100,000.
What to do at client meetings
There are many different ways to continue the sales process. Many contractors set up a meeting with the client. At the meeting, they go over the details of the project. Many contractors find these items useful to bring up at the first meeting:
- The scope of the project
- The reason for the renovation
- The client’s timeline for the project
- The budget
- Reasons your firm is a good match for the project
The meeting is a discussion that gives you a chance to engage with and draw out the client. Whether you meet in person initially or you have a quick call to see if you are on the same page, it is important that you be direct with the client regarding their desired timeline for the job. This will help you figure out if the client is serious or just exploring options. It will also help you develop a strategy for following up with the client.
Use this opportunity to show you are their partner in the project. Most homeowners respond well to positive remarks from the contractor. If they want to start in six weeks, tell them what needs to be done to meet that date, or get close to it. Your positive attitude can give the client confidence in you. And it can help move the project along.
Preparing the estimate
Homeowners will expect a project estimate from you sooner rather than later. In fact, homeowners expect the estimate within a week or so. By telling the homeowners when they should expect the estimate, you can manage their expectations and set up a clear next checkpoint.
Most homeowners have questions about the estimates they receive. Many successful contractors like to set up a phone or in-person meeting to go over the estimate. Proposing a meeting for a week or two after supplying the estimate should give the homeowners time to go over it on their own. Besides answering questions, this meeting gives you a chance to reconfirm the timeline and the budget. Plus, it’s an opportunity for more client contact (which is always a good thing!)
Getting the estimate to the client quickly gives time for revisions. This is especially important for clients who expect a quick start to the project.
Clients who won’t commit
Everyone has experienced clients who drag their feet once they have the estimate. This is where your earlier conversations with the client can pay off. Knowing their timeline allows you to show your expertise and help move the process along. One way to do this:
- Remind them that to meet their deadline, items need to be ordered now or in the near future.
Some clients will stop communicating with the contractor completely. It’s frustrating! But if you have done your job up to this point, there is nothing wrong with asking point-blank questions. For example, you can ask:
- “Do you want to continue with the project?”
- “Are you still considering my firm?”
“Yes” answers to those questions will move the project along. No one wants to hear a no, but at least a “no” answer means you can stop wasting your time and focus on other projects.
- To help with difficult clients, Sweeten has a team that keeps in contact with the clients. They can help you get answers to those questions.
The payoff to the steps above is to get the client to commit, so you can finally start the renovation process.
We hope this guide to the renovation sales process was helpful! Want to Sweeten’s network of expert general contractors? Sign up for free today.
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