Knowing When To Say No

Features - Sales & Marketing

At some point, not all money is good money. That’s why you need to learn to dole out rejection.

October 23, 2018

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Sometimes the most challenging part of sales and marketing in any industry is knowing when to say no. As any business matures, so too does their outlook on sales. At some point, there must be the understanding that not all money is good money. Particularly in the snow industry, it’s important to run your current and potential client list through a series of checks and balances to ensure that your portfolio matches your projected value. To help, here are some questions your sales team should constantly be asking :

“Are we sure this potential property is right for our portfolio?”

Take the time to understand your numbers on new bids, making sure that all costs have been factored in. Keep in mind, it takes roughly the same amount of time to do the paperwork and onboarding for a $3,000 site as it does for a $30,000 or $150,000 site, but doing the hard work up front will help you determine which opportunities fit your company best.

While bigger is not always better, small “one-off” sites can be detrimental as well. Property managers looking for the lowest price year after year can be easy decisions for your team to not get involved with. Try to weed out the dead-end opportunities and instead look to build relationships with clients that have multiple sites and are willing to commit to multi-season contracts.

“What might disqualify a property from our current portfolio?”

Just as important as selling new contracts is the vetting your current list. For example, have you factored in all of the behind-the scenes preparations and extra level of service expenses that need to be recouped on every site? It’s important to know how much “legwork” is involved to service each and every site no matter the size.

In addition, properties with managers who consistently decline service or attempt to make “last-minute” decisions before snow events definitely raise a red flag. These types of properties can carry a risk that far outweighs any reward. Having contracts like these in your portfolio brings liability issues into play which might push your company to adopt another set of values that do not match your own. The process of disqualifying a client can be painful, but it’s important to recognize when expectations on either side of the agreement have changed.

“How do we end a client relationship well?”

When you come to the realization that you and your client are no longer a good fit – for any reason – it is important to give them plenty of notice. This way they can make other arrangements well in advance of the next winter. By doing this, they will not only respect you for being honest, but they will probably remark at the level of scrutiny that you put your clients through when considering whether or not they are a good fit.

In the end, your sales team needs to be analyzing your client portfolio constantly throughout the year – confirming that every contract is still a good fit for your company’s “bigger picture.” By asking simple questions, you can safeguard against future financial pitfalls.

Mike Sauers is the vice president for sales and marketing at Sauers Snow and Ice Management in Philadelphia, and frequent Snow Magazine contributor.