I am being lazy this week and presenting a blog article by a fellow contractors coach, Joseph Hughes of Contractor Dynamics. I really like a lot of what this guy has to suggest for contractors as he shares many of the same ideals and ideas that I do, particularly in the marketing area.  Although he is based in the States, many of the problems that contractors face over there are similar to what we face here.  It also saves me thinking of something to write myself 🙂

Anyway, on to his article….

“The best strategy in war is to win without a fight.” ~ Sun Tzu

When we go to the grocery store and there is nothing to differentiate one onion from another onion, the ONLY thing that we can differentiate it with is PRICE.


Because it’s a commodity.

Price then becomes the only deciding factor.

Competitors who are less astute will try to sell only on price, so they will try to beat you down by convincing your prospects that all contractors are the same; they just have different prices.

Thus, if you are not giving your prospects criteria for what makes you different, what makes you special, what makes you premium. Then the only thing they can come back to is price, turning you back into a commodity.

Remember, the services you deliver in your business are not the same as your competitor.

You MUST create the buying criteria for what sets you apart from anyone else. It is pretty powerful to develop this mindset.  Everyone is trying to make you into an ordinary commodity and your job is to make sure that you stand out as extraordinary.

How do you do this?  You don’t tell; you show.  Do things your competitors are not.  Demonstrate your professionalism at every turn and with every single interaction a prospect has with your company, from the way you answer the phone to the manner in which you show up for an estimate.

Here are some examples of differentiating your business from your competitors and establishing yourself as the clear leader in your industry, all of which can increase the rate at which you convert leads into clients.  Many of these are small things, but when combined, have a positive effect on your business that is difficult to overstate.

  • Have a modern, user friendly website with plenty of photos of your past work.
  • Provide your prospects with helpful material on making the best decisions they possibly can, whether that means choosing you or not.
  • Have a receptionist answer your phone instead of you.
  • Institute a policy whereby you return all phone calls and email within 1 hour.
  • Follow up every project phone call with a written summary of the points you discussed.
  • Leave behind a binder of testimonials and references at each estimate.
  • Follow up.  Follow up.  Follow up.
  • Have professional letterhead and company branding.
  • Dress cleanly and professionally when meeting with prospects and clients, ideally with your company logo wear.
  • Have written processes and procedures for everything you do and share them with your prospects and clients.
  • Send your customers and clients hand-written thank you cards.

Those are just a few examples of things that builders and contractors can do to differentiate themselves from the competition.  When you bake these things into your culture and your unique culture is present in every interaction with your prospects and clients, you give your prospects criteria to make a decision on something other than price alone.

You take the battle off the battlefield. 

Suddenly, the five-contractor competition is down to two contractors:  yours and the best of the other four.

When you position your business like this, you effectively re-position your competitors.  Now, your competitors all seem competent, but uninspired.

The bottom line is that your clients are spending thousands of dollars on remodeling or contracting services.  When it comes to remodeling a kitchen or building a new custom home, they only have one chance.  If they choose the wrong contractor, there’s usually no going back and re-building the kitchen or house.

This is why customers factor much more than price into their decision-making process, if they are given reason to.  IF you give them a reason to consider other factors, they will start to think about who they like, who they feel most comfortable with, who has the most credibility in the community, who they can trust, etc.

And much of this is within your control.

Take a step back and look down upon your business.  What can you do to differentiate you and your business from your competition.  Think about what everyone else is doing.  Then, do something drastically different.

This is the first step in establishing yourself in a category of one and winning more business than you can handle.