Don't you just hate it when a prospect you expected to do business with gives your detailed plans and or specifications to another contractor?   That's bad enough, but isn't even worse when they give the job to the other contractor and that guy would never have been able to offer the work or price the job without your specs?

Here's a quick look at the simple process I share with my coaching clients to help them remove themselves from that frustrating way of selling.

Consideration #1: Do they already have them or do they need them?

If you have a good sales process and approach you can find out if your prospect has or even needs plans and or specifications. Simple projects may not require elaborate specifications to price them.   If your prospect's project needs specifications to properly price it, and or if your prospect needs specs in order to make a buying decision, you will have to decide whether you will leave the specs if they do not buy from you or you will take them with you when you leave.

Consideration #2: Do they see a value in your expertise?

The next time your prospect needs plans and or specs to make a decisions try asking them something like this:

"Will you need help discussing and specifying the details and products to be used in your project in order to make good decisions about your project and how much money to invest in it?"

Assuming they say yes, you could respond with something like:

"That makes sense. If I were to help you do that could we set up a time for me to come back and review what I put together for you and get a decision from you about working with my company or not?"

Again, assuming they say yes, you can now let them know the information will remain your company's property if they choose not to work with your company.

If you choose to not leave your proposal with prospects unless they commit to your company, it is imperative this policy be discussed with your prospects during the initial sales call. Your policy should not become a surprise to them when you come back to present your proposal. Surprising them will likely erase any trust or confidence they have in you and your process.

You are presenting, not emailing proposals, right?

Confirm your policy inside your proposal

Here is some sample language you can consider using inside the remodeling proposals you create for prospects. This information is for your reference only. Be sure you have it reviewed by your own legal council before using it.

Sample text:

This proposal and any related plans and specifications shall be for the exclusive use of; and will remain the property of "Construction Company" until a Construction Contract agreement for the proposed work is reached between both parties. The acceptance of this agreement will require the owners' signature(s) and payment in full of the specified deposit.   If this proposal is not accepted at the time of presentation, owner(s) are welcome to view all plans and specifications at the contractor's office at a mutually agreeable time.

This language is best used at the beginning of your proposal so you can remind your prospect about your policy very early during the proposal presentation meeting. If they have a problem with your policy, the one they should have already agreed to, you can discuss their concerns and both of you can decide whether it makes sense to continue presenting and discussing the rest of the proposal.

Shawn McCadden founded, operated, and sold a successful design/build company. A co-founder of the Residential Design/Build Institute, he speaks at industry events and consults with remodelers about owner issues, management, lead paint regulations and other industry issues.