3 Ways Using Online Retail Services Is No Deal – for Your Business

When people want to do something for you, generally it’s a wonderful thing, right? So when an online retailer wants to sell your services for you, would you be crazy not to jump at the opportunity? After all, they offer some crazy awesome prices and deals to their customers.

However, let’s take a step back, look at how their business model works, read the fine print, and see 3 ways that using that online retail service is no deal for your business.

How do these online retailers make money? By offering the public a deal – and you expensive leads.

Online retailers are trying to be the go-between for companies like yours and the public. In other words, they’re trying to get in on the transaction.

When you think about it, this is actually a pretty savvy business model. Here’s how it works:

  • Find a prospective customer of some professional service
  • Attract those customers to give their information by offering an incentive of some sort (deal of the day, multiple quotes, vetting services on your behalf, etc)
  • Take that information and sell it (in whole or in part) to several competing companies.
  • Collect money from the companies and let them try to win the customer’s business
  • Never leave the office or worry about delivering on any promises to the customer – other than what happened in an automated way from the online retailer’s website

It’s a great gig for the online retailer! They get to do what they’re good at (selling products) without actually having to become a service company.

Do you see the problem, though? Selling a product isn’t the same as selling a service. And when someone sells a service as a product, at some point, it’s just asking for trouble.

Here’s 3 ways that trouble could hit your business.

1. Your valuable service becomes a cheap commodity.

Because the retailers are in the business of pushing products, they have zero incentive to educate the customers about key differences between you and your competitors. In fact, if they did, it could cause friction between their clients – you and your competitors.

Plus, doing so would make it harder for them to sell a simple product to the general public.

It’s much easier for them to sell “Carpet cleaning services,” than it is for them to add in extra value and services like pet odor neutralization, sanitization, unique company selling propositions, and any other differentiators.

Their business model requires turning your service into a commodity. And that means that the price is the natural differentiator.

But what do they care? They need to sell you as many leads as possible to make money. They got you a lead – now you get to navigate the hurdles they so thoughtfully put between you and a product-minded (rather than value and service-minded) customer.

Is that kind of extra work worth the steep price tag for a lead that might not even choose your company?

2. Your company cannot control the buying experience.

Because marketing starts with the first interaction, you’re already playing a losing hand. Why? Because the online retailer got to have that first interaction.

You’re second or third or even sixth down the line. Instead of presenting a professional first impression, odds are you’re going to be cleaning up after someone else’s mess before you can even make an appropriate service bid.

Finally, you aren’t in control of that customer’s data. The online retailer has it. You won’t be able to follow up, schedule future service calls, or ask for referrals.

Is the expensive half-lead worth that kind of headache?

3. Customer loyalty is gone.

Have you ever run a deal through a company like Groupon? How was your customer retention?

Unless you ran a secondary deal, you probably didn’t see those customers again, did you? Or if you did, there weren’t very many of them.

Why is that? It’s because the customer gave their loyalty to the online service retailer’s pricing. Not you.

And because they’re now loyal to the price, they’re loyal to that process that the retailer provided during that shopping experience.

In other words, to keep getting customers through that bargain website or retailer, you have to keep offering those prices that will attract attention and loyalty. And, a good sized cut of each sale goes to the retailer, because that’s how they stay in business.

Is competing with pricing for temporary loyalty something that you want to do?

You don’t have to play their games.

Look… if you answered no to any of the questions above, then it’s time to stop playing their games, because an online retailer just isn’t for you.

It’s time to start educating the public about the valuable services you offer; time to add more value to their lives instead of trying to cut corners to save them money they’d happily spend; and it’s time to take control of those interactions so that your business can grow.

If you’re ready for a better, more sustainable way to do business, it’s time to take responsibility with help from someone who isn’t getting in the way – or in the middle of the transaction. It’s time to take charge with ResponsiBid – the company that helps you position your business as a service leader, helps you guide a customer through the buying experience, and helps you build customer loyalty – even when you’re busy.

Ready to ResponsiBid your way to more jobs? With our 2-to-1 ROI guarantee, signing up for our FREE trial almost isn’t fair – to us.

date:  Jun 12, 2018 comments:  0
by:  Curt Kempton category:  Blog Read More

5 Ways to Make Doing a Follow-Up Successful and Enjoyable

5 Ways to Make Doing a Follow-Up Successful and Enjoyable

To some degree, it seems like everyone struggles with doing a follow-up – especially many small businesses. In fact, follow ups are generally seen as:

  • too time consuming
  • too repetitive
  • a boring or depressing way to spend time you could have used doing something more productive
  • too involved with all of the many channels available – email, SMS, snail mail, voice mail, etc.
  • easy to get ignored, even by those who know better!

But here at ResponsiBid, we’ve seen how many ways there are to both automate and personalize the follow-up after a job… and we’ve also seen the huge success that comes to the companies who make the time to do it.

And once you’ve seen these 5 ways to make doing a follow-up both fun and successful, you’ll experience a mindset shift – and become a true believer in the power of the follow up.

1. Follow-Up with people who decline to do business with you

Once a prospective client tells you, “No,” you’re actually in a pretty sweet spot. After all… what’s the worst that happens when you follow up? They tell you no again.

After a month or two, follow-up with these folks who’ve already told you to hit the road. You can keep it classy by saying something like: “I’m sure you made an excellent decision with whomever you trusted for your project, but on the off-chance that you weren’t completely satisfied, I wanted to see if there was anything I could do to be of help.”

You can do this via email, text, or phone. If you don’t hear back from them within the next 30 days, send a postcard.

If the experience that the company they went with left them feeling a little bit empty inside, your communicative nature and refreshing kindness will be just what the doctor ordered.

In fact, our ResponsiBidders report that this is the most powerful follow-up tool they’ve got in their arsenal. Shocked?

Maybe. But for those who are looking for that something extra, you’ve just proven your company to have the class, kindness, and professionalism they were looking for.

2. Ask for a review, then ask for a referral

Word of mouth referrals are the most powerful. That’s why you need to ask for reviews.

Then, once you know that someone is willing to publicly say nice things about you, ask them to share their experience on social media. That way, you can ask them if they’ve got any friends who would like a similar experience.

Here’s one classy way you could ask that: “I really appreciate your kind words! If you decide to end up sharing that experience on social media, could you please tag us? I’m sure you’ll get a lot of comments, as most people tend to have frustrating experiences with their ________ provider.”

And just like that, your customers become your sales people. No matter how you look at it, that’s a win.

3. If your customer needs time, follow-up using a “3 person conversation”

If you’ve ever worried that you’re sending too many emails (or texts) to a person who’s still on the fence about doing business with you, then this is the perfect way to follow up. Just be aware that getting the rhythm right is very difficult.

But, here’s a classy way to catch the rhythm by email:

Email 1: “Hi, I’m Johnny. I just wanted to get you a copy of your proposal and would love to serve you. Let me know if you have any questions.”

Then, if you get the typical response of …no response…

Email 2: “Hi, I’m Sally! I work with Johnny. He said that he reached out to you a couple days
ago with a copy of the proposal, but I wanted to introduce myself, as I’m the company scheduler. If
you have any questions, I would be more than happy to answer them. I look forward to talking to you. Johnny told me about your project – and it sounds really great!”

If you still don’t get a response, here’s what comes next.

Email 3: “Hi there! Johnny again. I’m not sure if Sally reached out to you yet, but she seemed really excited when I told her about your project. So I thought I would send over her phone number (as she does the scheduling), but feel free to let me know if you have any questions about our proposal.”

See how that works? Just because someone doesn’t respond doesn’t mean that the conversation has to awkwardly end. Simply add another person into the conversation to keep it going!

4. Use texting to initiate conversation sparingly.

Spam is everywhere. And email is no refuge from the spam storm. In fact, everyone knows that their inbox is going to be full of sales pitches, business stuff, and long lists of exhaustion.

So getting someone’s phone number – and being able to text them – is sacred. Keep any text communication short, non-spammy, personal, and don’t get yourself blocked.

On a smartphone, it only takes 1 telemarketing call to get a number blocked these days. In other words, once you’ve gotten blocked once, your odds of being marked a spam telemarketer just skyrocketed. So don’t get yourself blocked.

Only send texts only when someone has opted in. Oh, and if your text message response is automated, don’t let it look automated. Keep it short and to the point. That means no paragraphs, no signatures, and nothing like an email.

Here’s a classy way to do this: “Hi James! I know you’re busy so I thought I’d text you real quick to see if you had time to talk later today. I look forward to chatting!”

See? Simple. And then you can chat it up later.

5. Always have a contingency, or a backup follow-up plan.

As you’re setting up your system for following up with customers, make sure that you do so in a way that makes sense to your customers.

In other words, during the pre-purchase process, your follow-up should focus on education and the unique benefits your company can offer.

Then, it should constantly be focused on helping those prospective clients to take the next steps to being a paying customer. One way to do this is by asking questions about how you can assist them with their initial pain points.

Once the project or experience is completed, the first follow-up should be focused on getting reviews (like on NiceJob!), referrals, and social media shares.

Then, once you know that the service went well, you should start using timely, appropriate follow-up to get the repeat business process going. Because if your customer forgets about you, they can’t be loyal to you. So be there for them. And keep helping them (and yourself) by following up.

It’s time to build out a solid, systematized follow-up plan. That way, you can help more people – and capture the maximum lifetime value of each customer!

Ready to ResponsiBid your way to more jobs? With our 2-to-1 ROI guarantee, signing up for our FREE trial almost isn’t fair – to us.

date:  May 08, 2018 comments:  0
by:  Curt Kempton category:  Blog Read More

5 Ways to Increase Bids, Leads & Sales without Lowering Prices

5 Ways to Increase Bids, Leads & Sales without Lowering Prices

A few days back, a customer sent me the following message:

Our close rate is dismal compared to the ResponsiBid national average. Do you think our prices are too high? What is the main knob to increase that number so we bag more jobs?

Now, my response to this client is involved, and I’ll get into it. But first, I need to give you some background.

I spend a lot of time working with customers to refine their bidding process and increase bids (because that’s what we do at ResponsiBid – we handle proposals, close rates, sale psychology and more. It’s just our way of life).

But this question belies a very interesting thought. It implies that there’s some control or knob that you just turn to make people choose your proposal. It’s a commonly held misconception, especially among early business owners.

But this misconception needs to be cleared up, because it leaves out the 5 most obvious and important things that you can do to add value to your company’s uniqueness, thus allowing you to keep your prices where they need to be.

5 Ways to Increase Bids, Leads, & Sales – without lowering prices

So in my response to my customer, I gave him 5 ways to increase his bids, leads, and sales – all without lowering his prices. In fact, it could actually allow him to raise them, as he’s adding extra value to his packages.

I also recommended that this client start talking to the people who don’t hire him. This can seem like a hard or daunting task if you aren’t doing it already, but ultimately it’s people who don’t hire you who can give you the best insights into how you can better position your business. And it’s by talking to these people who choose your competitors, that you’ll be able to take these 5 ways, and really make positive changes to your business’s presentation.

So let’s dive into those five things, shall we?

1. Package Presentation

When people look at your packages, are they stuck on the price or are they able to recognize the value they’ll be getting from you? After all, maybe you’re offering something above and beyond what your competitors do – and that’s why there’s a price difference. You need to make sure that potential clients are able to recognize your increased value and service levels.

Tip: A great place to bring these up is in your follow-up emails, because it’s reminding people of all the extra value they could be seeing.

2. Define Your “Unique Selling Proposition”

Why is your business special? And why do potential clients care? Within that vein is something known as your “Unique Selling Proposition”, or USP. If a customer can’t see your USP, they’re going to keep shopping. But if there is something that only your company offers, and your audience can immediately see and recognize that, well, they’re going to stop shopping. And they’re going to hire you.

Take away: Make sure your Unique Selling Proposition is readily, easily, and completely identifiable.

3. Make a Personal Connection

Are you using walls of text? Or are you using short but sweet videos to give your company a relatable, recognizable face? Videos are an under-used key to instantly building a “personal, emotional connection” that can be very powerful. It’s that connection that will help your business reach through all of the competition – and let your business be the one welcomed into each client’s home.

Tip: In your video, show some humor, some of your endearing personal quirkiness, and serious professionalism. Mix generously with your USP to win more jobs.

4. Be Prepared to Strike While the Iron is Hot

When a bid comes in, there’s two things that need to happen.

First and most importantly, there’s the human response. Your client needs to be called or reached out to. Plus, when you call someone, you’re catching them while things are fresh. You can guide them through the buying process. Your potential client is going to feel invested in the proposal, well cared for, and now obligated to buy from you. In other words, you need to strike while the iron is hot.

Secondly, you need to have an automated safety net in place for those instances where an immediate contact isn’t possible. Maybe you’re working another job or on the other line with another bid. And in those cases, ResponsiBid’s automation system is your perfect safety net.

Tip: Using personal interaction with an automated backup system is the key to catching those jobs that used to fall through the cracks.

5. Use Options to Drive More Business

Finally, make sure that you’ve got several options pre-mapped out for your potential clients. By offering several levels of packages (like “Good,” “Better,” and “Best” packages), you’re going to be able to offer consistent, reliable quotes. And that way, you’ll be able to land more jobs, because the value becomes more readily visible.

Tip: Turn those negatives into positives: by offering packages, you’ll be able to avoid ultimatum pricing, which generally backfires as those potential clients call your competitors for a second opinion.

You’ll also be able to quit asking, “So… will that work for you?” (because they always answer, “Well, let me think about it.”) and start asking, “Which package is the one is right for you – good, better, or best?”

By using these 5 actionable steps, you’re going to give your clients more ways to do business with you. You’re going to increase bids, land more jobs, make more sales, get ahead of the competition, and rock your industry.

Ready to ResponsiBid your way to more jobs? With our 2-to-1 ROI guarantee, signing up for our FREE trial almost isn’t fair – to us.

date:  Apr 10, 2018 comments:  0
by:  Curt Kempton category:  Blog Read More