The biggest single reason we lose jobs falls into one of two categories: "My price was too high" or "Unfair competition." Have you ever checked with a lost prospect to find out why you lost the job or did you just assume? If you were told that your price was too high, is that the real reason you lost it? How many of you have taken the time to find out why you are losing jobs? How many of you, after finding out, did something about it? The truth of the matter is that you have not taken the time or the effort to sell yourself and your company's ability to satisfy customers' needs.

Selling the job has given way to complaining and finding excuses when we lose a proposal. The big reason you lose jobs is because you are not able to outsell the competition. I don't care who the competition is or how big they are or the financial backing they have - they all have the same chance as you do to close the job.

Let's take a look at some of the many reasons you may lose a proposal:

A. Your price was too high. No one ever lost a job because his or her price was too high. The reason this statement comes up is that you have not established the value properly. The biggest reason price is ever mentioned by the prospect is that they want to make sure they are getting value for the money they are spending. Nobody wants to pay more than they have to for anything. You have to sell to set value and not just quote a price. You must set a value that exceeds your price. To set a value, you need to see yourself as the best there is in the market, offering something the competition does not. Using a presentation folder to remind yourself of these facts is necessary to ensure that you are selling yourself and your company.

B. The customer feels that the utility or "consolidator contractors" offer better prices or service because of their size. You and I know that isn't true, but do we really believe that or do we just say so? Let's take a hard look at this issue. The utility companies may be able to buy at a lower price than you because of their size. But what difference does that make at the point of purchase? If the best buyers in a market are going to pass along the advantages of power purchasing, that what is the real advantage of buying better?

The fact is that most of the difference or all of the difference is kept for profit. So how do they sell at lower prices? As one who has worked with some big power buyers, I can tell you that they not only keep these price differences in house but they usually sell at a higher price than is competitive in the market. The key is that they sell themselves and the image of buyer better and therefore are able to be perceived as the best price in the area. You go right along and complain about this unfair competition. But the fact is they outsell you.

How about their statement that they out-service you or offer better service? They cannot and do not offer the customized and trained service people you have. They may have 100 service people while you only have three, but all three of yours are highly trained and will take a special interest in the customer. How does the customer know that the service technician coming to his or her house has been trained and is qualified to service the unit? It's the same feeling we have when we do business with a local merchant or we travel to buy from the big department store: The local contractor has the customer's best interest in mind because they live where they work.

Now check out why you are losing jobs and begin to do something about it - besides complaining.