by Michael Stone
I hear that often from contractors around the country. They haven't been able to give anything away in weeks, and they're starting to panic. "I can't seem to get any business in. The competition is killing me. What do I do?"
There are two types of competition that contractors are concerned about. The first is competition from our "competition". We worry about what "the other guy" is doing. What their bids are, how much they are charging, how they can work for the prices they work for, maybe even what they eat for breakfast are all part of our worries. We do this even though we have no control over anything they are doing.
Now the reality checks. If "the other guy" closed his eyes and ran out into traffic, would you follow him? I hope not.
In most cases, "the other guy" does not have a true picture of his overhead costs and his profit percentage. If he did, the failure rate in this business (construction) would not be as high as it is. While they may be good mechanics, even estimators, the reality is they probably don't know their overhead figures and what they should be making for profit. So, when they do arrive at the final numbers for their quote, in well over 90% of all cases, the quote will be too low.
Make a commitment, starting now, that you focus only on you, your company and arriving at the correct numbers for your own work.
The second competition is within us. We have control over ourselves and how we think. That is the good news. But it does take some diligent effort on your part to keep your "thinking from stinking".
Business as usual won't cut it anymore. That means, along with everything else that you need to be doing in your business, you must also now focus on fine-tuning your sales skills. Knowing how to build a job is important. Knowing how to find the right group of people to get your jobs built is important. But the reality is that "Nothing Happens Until Somebody Sells Something At A Profit".
If you can't get it sold and make a profit, everyone goes home. Read Tom Hopkins book, "How To Master The Art of Selling". This is the best book on sales I have ever found.
Probably one of the best, if not the best audiocassette program I have ever found on keeping your head screwed on straight as it applies to your business is a program from Nightingale-Conant called "The Luck Factor", by Brian Tracy. This is a marvelous program that explains the difference between making good things happen and hoping good things happen.
You also need to read regularly to gain new information and stay tuned to how good business people think and operate their businesses. Listening to good cassette tape programs will do the same, and with a more personal touch.
You must recognize the difference between competition that you can control (you) and the stuff you have absolutely no control over, (your competitors). Focus on you and put the rest out of your mind. It is a distraction, and it is costing you money.
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