You sent out a project bid and never hear back from the prospect.
To understand why you lose bids to your competition,
You need to put yourself in the prospect’s shoes and understand their brain during a purchasing decision.
But before we get into that,
Anchor these 3 key terms in your brain and look at how they differ from each other…
A Buyer Is a Person That Will Buy Something From You Once
That’s it ––
Picture this eBay example,
You collect Seattle Seahawks trading cards.
You go on eBay and you find a seller that has the 1985 Curt Warner card in mint condition.
What happens next?
You buy it!
The transactions end with an input of your credit card.
Can you grow a business this way? With one time purchases?
We love clients, don’t we?
They are responsible for the growth of our business in so many ways.
They are also responsible for repeat business…
…If we did a good job at earning their trust, that is.
Which brings me to….
An advocate is a client that is so happy with the way you do business that without hesitation,
have chosen to actively refer you to other people in the community.
In other words,
Advocates are amazing!
If this is true and advocates are the backbone of your business…
Why are typical companies not earning more advocates?
To understand this phenomenon, we need to see what a typical company does.
A Typical Company
We’ve all been there!
We spent a lot of time, energy and even through immense amounts of hard-earned cash at turning a prospect into a buyer.
A prospect has not been given a proper chance to trust you yet!
Let alone they have no experience with your business and it’s core vision.
When that prospect shifts into a buyer,
You earn a bit of trust but nothing else.
You are not able to build a comprehensive experience for them since they are one time consumers.
Now if you mess up at this stage, they are going to leave you a bad review, that is a fact…
…Probably in Yelp, Home advisor or even the Better Business Bureau.
Will this influence how other prospects see your business?
Sadly, if the same were to happen with a current client, the results would be painful.
Let me explain,
If you earn a dissatisfied client that has been with you for years…
…and that person leaves you a bad review,
it weighs heavily on other people’s decisions to trust you and do business with you.
A client that has used the same gutter cleaning company for years, has a bad experience and then goes into every Facebook group, Yelp, Home Advisor, etc, tell people about it…
…and leaves a negative review.
This will weigh heavily on a prospect because that client has been using the company for a longer period.
An advocate on the other hand,
Will have more trust in you as a business, because of their continuous positive experiences.
My take on this is you always have to have a system in place that helps you attract and retain clients so that when something goes wrong, you are prepared.
Word of mouth is 50% of the buying decision.
Client’s that retain have 16% more average lifetime value.
What the heck does retention have to do with advocates?
Here are some statistics that will clarify and motivate you…
- Brands with high advocacy have an average of 27% more top-line growth than brands without ––Boston Consulting Group
- A 5% improvement in retention leads to at least a 25% profit increase, up to 95% ––Harvard Business Review
- Customer referrals are 30% more likely to convert than any other channel ––R&G Technologies
Powerful stuff right?
Now let’s talk about…
Your Biggest Competition
Who is your biggest competitor?
The one that stops you from sleeping at night.
If you guessed the status quo,
You are correct!
It’s peoples’ inabilities to make a change that hurts your business the most!
Let’s put that into perspective by knowing the 5 levels of change.
- Picture this…
During a vacation, you took in the knowledge that you overate and have to go to the gym.
You sign up at your local gym,
but you don’t have the skills to train and lose weight properly.
Because you lack the skills, your attitude does not align…
…your behavior is not impacted in any way,
Your habits never change.
That is why the status quo is your number one competitor.
The Decision Brain
This ain’t no science class, why are you reading about the brain?
To make sense of why prospects chose your competition over you,
We must understand the role the brain has in purchasing behavior.
Let’s start by dividing the brain into 3 sections…
2. Limbic System
3. Root brain
The Neocortex is “The Computer”
It is where rational thought, skepticism, language, and analysis reside.
On the other hand,
The Limbic System is our “Feeling Brain”
Here we find memory, feelings/Emotions, and visualization
Last but not least…
The Root Brain or “Instinct” section
Things we take for granted like breathing, hunger, thirst, survival, and safety are part of this important part of our brains.
How Prospects Make Decisions
When the time comes for a prospect to take action and make a decision,
The Root Brain kicks in and asks the question…
Is making this decision or action going to harm me?
The Limbic System wonders how does this make them feel.
The brain uses a lot of energy during this decision-making process.
If there is not a powerful emotion tied to this decision making,
The Neocortex is not going to justify the decision and save energy.
It turns into a trust assessment where the consumer is…
Figuring out your companies intentions towards them,
And pose the question…
Can they trust that you will act positively on those intentions?
Want to know how human interaction works?
I know you do!
So did I.
A couple of years ago I stumbled upon a book that studied human behavior.
Intimate Behavior by Desmond Morris.
Why did I start this section by talking about human interaction?
Let me explain myself,
Morris, a Zoologist, wanted to understand how human intimacy happened.
He discovered that there are 12 stages of intimacy:
- Eye to body
- Eye to eye
- Voice to voice
- Hand to hand
- Hand to body
- Am to shoulder
- Mouth to mouth
- Hand to head
- Mouth to body
- Hand to___________
You get the idea!
Now I am not telling you to sleep with your customers,
This list is important…
There is a sequence.
Think about it,
If we went from seeing a person to touching their face,
That is pretty weird, right?
Morris found that if one step was skipped the failure rate was 90%.
If two or more steps were skipped…
What does that have anything to do with winning more bids?
Let’s find out…
Why You're Not Closing The Sale
If you follow the principles of the 12 stages of intimacy and apply them to sales and marketing,
You will quickly learn that skipping steps during this process is bad for business.
Picture a telemarketer giving you a call and asking you to buy something.
This person does not know anything about you…
…yet they want to sell, sell, sell.
They are missing out on the first rule of selling…
Prospects don’t want to be sold to!
Using a dating analogy,
Sales have devolved into this throughout the years,
“ Hey I don’t know you, but let’s go out for a coffee and in the process get married and pick the names of our children”.
It just doesn’t make sense!
Your prospects feel the same way if you try to sell them something without building trust and providing value.
With the stages of intimacy in mind,
Your marketing and sales process should look like this:
- Get them to know that you exist
- Engage with them
- Provide value in exchange for their contact info
- Convert them into clients
- Excite them about your company
- Ascend and retain them
- Ask for reviews and testimonials
- Turn your prospects into advocates and active referrers
We call this process The Customer Value Journey and it is the foundation of a scalable business.
Piecing Everything Together
When a prospect becomes aware of your business, they are going to see if they can trust you.
At this point,
The Root Brain kicks in and is figuring out if this is going to hurt or benefit them.
If they move to provide you their contact info and booking a free estimate,
The Limbic system is activated.
At this stage, your prospect’s emotions kick in…
If they have a negative feeling about your company,
They are not going to justify giving you any money.
If you were paying attention,
This is the Neocortex part of the brain stepping in for that justification.
At this point,
The prospect will say,
“I don’t know about the price,”
“Can I get a discount”
“I heard that your competition does the same thing and better, I’ll go with them”
…and I see this very often,
All the hard work, gas, mileage on your truck and the time spent doing the estimate and sending out the bid were wasted.
If you jump the gun and forget about crucial trust-building steps along the way,
You are losing business bids, higher paying contracts and might be one step away from shutting down your operation.