Today’s subcontractors are busier than ever. With a seemingly endless to-do list to work through, it’s easy for smaller tasks like follow-ups to get lost in the shuffle.
But if you think follow-ups aren’t worth your time, think again. When your team puts the effort into creating a proposal for a job, it’s important that you close the loop with the general contractor. After all, a better follow-up process can help reduce the number of jobs you never hear back about — meaning more jobs won, or at least more valuable feedback gathered for next time.
Here are the top three reasons why you should develop a process for follow-ups.
1. Improve your relationships with general contractors
Many general contractors have their own process for following up on invitations to bid. They spend hours calling and emailing subcontractors before and after they submit their proposals, but here’s the thing: general contractors are busy, too, and follow-ups can fall off their to-do list just as easily as yours.
When you take ownership of the follow-up process, you prove to general contractors that you’re easy to work with, a good communicator, and on top of your stuff. General contractors want to work with subcontractors who make their lives easier, so it’s a great way to differentiate yourself in a competitive environment.
2. Increase hit rates by getting feedback to make revisions
It’s unlikely that a general contractor will reach out themselves to give you feedback on a bid or let you know what you need to do to make it more competitive. However, when you follow up and ask if they’ve gotten a chance to review your proposal, it also gives you the opportunity to ask if they’d like you to make any revisions. Again, these guys are busy, so take the initiative to ensure your proposal hits all the right marks.
Even if you discover someone else already won the job, the general contractor may be willing to provide feedback that helps you win the next one. The more information you can get after each proposal, the more focused and strategic you’ll become over time.
3. Spend your time bidding on jobs you’re more likely to win
Do you find that after submitting a proposal, certain general contractors never get back to you? If you keep submitting and not hearing back, it might be time to re-evaluate whether bidding for that contractor’s jobs should be a priority for your team.
This is where follow-ups can come in handy. If you continually follow up with someone and still never hear anything back, it’s probably not worth it to bid on their projects in the future. Moving forward, you can refocus your efforts on general contractors that will truly respect your time.
What should your follow-ups look like?
When following up on a bid, determine what information you’re trying to gather at that point in the process, and ask targeted questions:
Did you receive our bid, and have you viewed it?
Can I get more information to make our bid competitive?
Did we win the job?
Keep in mind that every general contractor is different. First, develop a baseline follow-up process for general contractors you haven’t worked with before (e.g. an email two days after the submitted proposal, a phone call a week after). Sync those tasks to your calendar to ensure you don’t forget to reach out. Then, after you learn that general contractor’s communication preferences, tailor your follow-ups for their future projects.
If you want to stay competitive, you have to stop leaving money on the table by neglecting to close the loop on your bids. Ultimately, being more strategic with your follow-up process — and using a personalized touch throughout — will help you win more of the right projects and grow your business.