Wisconsin contractor Bob Kulp, owner and founder of Kulp’s of Stratford, admits he isn’t worried where his daughter will ultimately hold her wedding, but he is concerned how roofing contractors sell to groups, and he noted knowledge of the meeting’s setting can help them increase their closing ratios.
“My daughter’s getting married, and they’re looking for a place to hold the wedding. I told her there’s plenty of room in the barn,” Kulp said as he spoke to contractors at the Best of Success Conference. His goal was to show contractors the best ways to sell their products and services to large groups, including building committees, church councils, county boards and city administrations. “Fielding the initial call is important,” Kulp said. “Get project data and specifics. How does the person that called you fit into the equation?”
Kulp said understanding the internal decision-making process of the group in question is paramount. He noted contractors must determine the role of the initial contact and determine exactly who makes the final decision. “Does this board make the final decision or only a recommendation?” he asked. “If it is a recommendation, then who makes the final decision on the project - the entire congregation, board of trustees, church council?” After several minutes talking with the initial contact you will know several things, said Kulp, including: (1) what level of experience the person has with construction projects; (2) if there is anyone else on the board that has more experience than he or she does; (3) if there any other contractors on the board; and (4) who will make the final decisions on the project.
“Look for things that will differentiate you. Don’t give too much information at this point,” Kulp advised. “Ask how they have made decisions on past projects if you are still unclear about how their decision process works.” Kulp told contractors that getting the invitation to a board meeting and confirming the presentation with the board are the next important steps. Key questions to consider before the presentation takes place are “Where does the decision go from here?” and “What is the time frame for a decision?”
Once the appointment with the board is confirmed, contractors should be prepared with a PowerPoint presentation, and he recommended using lots of pictures to illustrate product choices. “Show you’re in charge of the situation,” Kulp said, but be polite. “Be respectful of their traditions and protocol.” He said presentations should be as tightly run as a 30-second television commercial. “I recommend you all do this,” Kulp said. “Don’t run over.”
Kulp also said presenting contractors should try to “read the crowd” and “develop synergy.” “Try to figure out who the real power is in this group and try to get them on your side,” he said. Kulp cautioned contractors not to forget the ultimate goal - “To be seen as the contractor with the requisite experience for this project,” he said. “To get the job.”