As a sports floor contractor, your ultimate goal with each new proposal is to convince school administrations, local government boards, and the like to hire your team instead of your competitors, and to do so at a price that you’re happy with.
Maybe your bidding success rate is much lower than you need it to be, and you can’t understand why. You painstakingly put together bid proposal after bid proposal, only to get turned down for contract after contract.
Or maybe you often find yourself cutting your prices so steeply during negotiations––almost too steeply to justify any work that you do secure.
Make sure that you’re ready to win the next bid you apply for––at the right price––with these tips.
Highlight the value of your work.
You have to convince your prospects that you’re the perfect fit for the project, and to pay you the amount that your work is worth. Winning more high-quality bids might require you to make your negotiation and proposal tactics more value-centric.
Don’t focus on price.
Making price your main selling point just sets you up for a race to the bottom. Either there’s a competitor who will underbid you, or you’ll end up cutting your proposed price so much that it will hurt your bottom line.
Making a low price tag the focus of your bid will demonstrate a lack of confidence in your work. It will also encourage the decision makers to approach your application with a negative or even suspicious attitude.
Would you trust an auto mechanic who claimed he could fix your transmission for $20?
Focus on value instead.
Rather than talking about how low your costs would be, focus on the value that your team would bring to the project. Are you well-known for your excellent customer service? Unbeatable craftsmanship? Decades of experience in the industry?
Whatever the case may be, clearly communicate the qualities that make you stand out from your competitors. Highlight how these qualities would benefit your client if they hired you.
Sometimes, you can effectively demonstrate the value of your work through the one thing that tells all––the work that you’ve done in the past.
If you’re meeting with your prospects in person, give them a pamphlet filled with professional pictures of successful sports floors you’ve worked on. Or direct them to your website if it has a portfolio. If you have a chance to actually bring a decision maker to a gym floor you’re particularly proud of, even better.
Make a good impression.
In the contracting industry, as is the case with most situations in life, your first impression means everything. So be sure to make a good one.
If your prospects don’t think that you’re great from the first point of contact, your chances of winning the bid are slim. Luckily, you have almost complete control over the impression that you make.
In a potential client’s mind, reliability is a necessary quality in a contractor. If you don’t follow the rules for the application process or you skip out on some key meetings, how will they know that you’ll be accountable if you actually win the contract?
Show the decision makers that you are reliable by getting to meetings on time, answering your phone, and delivering your bid in a timely manner.
Build and share a solid reference list.
It’s a great idea to submit a reference list along with your proposal, and to encourage your potential client to use it.
When you’re working with school districts, you’ll find that facilities managers often talk to other facilities managers about upcoming projects. If you have a reference list full of other administrations you’ve worked with and they highly recommend your work, this will show your potential client that you’re trustworthy.
Show interest in the project.
Unless the application specifies otherwise, it helps to follow up with the decision makers to show your interest in winning the bid. This will communicate that you really care about the work.
George Hedley, a construction business owner and business coach, has this to say about bidders for construction projects: “On average, less than 15% of these bidders ever call us to present their bid, review their proposal, discuss their bid or even to meet with us for any reason.“
Just be careful not to overdo it with the followups.
Pay attention to the details.
Sloppiness does not make for a good impression, so make sure that your proposal is bulletproof.
Ensure that you’ve followed the application rules to a T, and that everything the client requests is in the final proposal. Check your calculations, and then check them again. Proofread your materials for spelling and grammar mistakes before handing them over.
Making sure to tie all the loose ends together contributes to a better big picture in the client’s mind.
Do some branding.
Putting some extra work into your company image can go a long way to show your professionalism and dedication to the industry.
Sometimes, it’s as simple as putting a company logo and letterhead at the top of your proposal to make you stand out from your competitors who haven’t put in that kind of effort.
Remember to focus on value, not price. Be reliable, and do everything you can to communicate the value of your work to your potential clients.
Using these tips, you should be on your way to shaping up your negotiation tactics and hopefully securing more sports floor contracts.