Contractors know that property maintenance contracts can help a company earn a reliable source of income and stabilize cash flow in the slower months of the year. However, they don’t just hand these out to anyone and considering the amount of competition out there, you need to make sure you can stand out. This is why we’ve put together these tips to help you win more property maintenance contracts. Keep on reading so you don’t miss out on PandaDoc’s Bethany Fagan and her expert advice!
Our guide to winning property maintenance contracts includes:
Competing with bigger companies
Searching for contracts and contacting a potential partner
What to do in a face-to-face meeting with a property manager
Fill-it yourself checklists and worksheets
1. The early bird gets the worm.
You know the saying, right? Well, it applies to winning property management contracts too! If you’re the first to make a good impression, customers will take notice. In Bethany Fagan’s experience as PandaDoc’s Content Marketing Manager, being able to get a great proposal out quickly almost always ensures a higher chance of getting it accepted. Don’t be afraid if this is not within your abilities right now, but work harder towards improving your closing time:
“In a customer case study, we had a company where management had changed. So the new manager was looking at the cost of doing business and what they found was that it was taking too long to create sales documents. They weren’t closing things fast enough. So that’s when they started evaluating tools like PandaDoc and other software.”
2. Customers are adopting more and more devices.
From smartphones to Amazon’s Alexa and other gadgets, business customers are also making tech devices a part of their processes. Sure, at first it’s a personal device but then it becomes an all-encompassing item that naturally takes its place in daily life, including in property maintenance strategies.
Bethany agrees that:
“As more tools like Google Home and Alexa come to market, businesses will find more ways to connect with people and make things easier. I think that will potentially help the field service industry. If they can just notify a manager when their maintenance is up on an appliance via Alexa or Slack, they can figure out a way to automate the process. I think this will be a big trend. There’s gonna be more devices that people use to just keep their lives organized.”
Therefore, a property manager will always appreciate an electrical contractor that goes to him and uses the same tools rather than one that asks him to go backward and forgo digital devices.
An easy example is making sure your proposal highlights all the ways in which your company takes advantage of various innovations, like automatic phone notifications, digital signatures for auto-generated invoices, tracking portal for techs, etc. This is not going above and beyond anymore, it’s the norm and it’s what commercial customers expect.
3. Keep it branded.
Bethany made an excellent point when asked about her favorite feature of the digital proposal software, PandaDoc, where she works as Content Marketing Manager: “The biggest feature is the new editor, which makes things a little bit easier for users to create docs that look aesthetically pleasing without having to be a full-fledged graphic designer. And I think good design has a big influence on impressing customers.”
Sure, as a marketer, it’s natural to feel like having a consistent brand is vital to winning the favor of customers but there’s no denying that a proposal that looks professional and tasteful foreshadows the effort your electrical company puts into its work too, from high-quality finishes to attention to detail.
Even if you have the best technicians, no one will find out because commercial customers judge your commitment by how much concern you demonstrate for every aspect of the tender process.
4. Property managers want to work faster and simpler.
Property managers are already more up-to-date with modern tech as they have to deal with ever-younger tenants and their changing tastes as well as keep an eye out for ways to make their own lives easier. These include a lot of repetitive paperwork and mundane actions so it’s only natural to want to eliminate the grinding tasks that bring few rewards, personal or professional. Bethany’s experience confirmed this:
“Customers and companies are going to need flexibility and their tools are going to have to play into that. Right? That’s going to be the new constant, the new normal for us. People want to work faster, they want to do things easier and make life simpler. Anything that you do for your business, going forward, I think is going to have to take that into consideration, especially when scaling.”
If you want to win more property maintenance contracts, you need to make yourself a part of their normal process or, even better, suggest how it could be made more efficient. But to do that, you need to adapt your electrical contracting business first. Think of inventory management and imagine that there are tools that can inform you if a spare part is in stock when you mass schedule a few hundred jobs for a series of properties.
This way, you never have to send in a technician who lacks the tools (or the skills) to get the job done.
If your operations manager is looking for electrical job management software, you’d ask them to make sure that whatever option they choose, it’s one which works well with other software.
Choosing a digital tool that isn’t flexible or whose providers aren’t willing to integrate with other software isn’t a wise decision as it doesn’t account for a future where your company might need to invest in additional features.
When facilities managers select an electrical contractor, they take into account the type of software they use for property maintenance and if it’s going to play well with the tools they themselves use, like Zendesk or Sage.
“As more tools come to market that would integrate and work well with our software, we think of integrating with them. For example, payment gateways. […] Now, when you receive a signature on a document, you can have your client or customer pay for it ASAP,” said Bethany then added on the topic of what these tools would look like:
”Automated reminders when a contract or an agreement is up for renewal can be a game-changer [for field service businesses]. Making it easier to automatically send a renewal agreement once a contract is nearing its end. This is what companies want and need.”
6. Keep the human touch in your property maintenance strategy.
You know how in movies, the big project goes to the small, family-owned company because they will make it their priority? And how the big corporate guys are left in the dust because they wouldn’t put the same effort into what’s just a project amongst many for them? It’s the same with companies that try to automate everything, including things that shouldn’t be automated in the first place. Now, we’re obviously big fans of automation software, but we also agree that some things are better left to humans. Bethany agreed:
“I think the world will become more automated and a little bit easier, but I still think that people need a human touch or a human element to any kind of interaction that they’re going to have with a company. So, yes, there will be tools that will make life and jobs easier, but there’s also going to be an increased appreciation for human influence. […]
Good customer service is always going to be something that people are going to appreciate and value. We’re doing ourselves a disservice if we start building things where there’s little to no human interaction.”
Customer service in property maintenance is an excellent example. You won’t impress any property manager with your voicemail. Truly successful electrical contractors know when it’s time to hire dedicated account managers that will make themselves available to commercial customers at all times and ensure that they’re happy with the service they’re receiving.
The more interconnected devices take over both professional and personal lives, the more property managers will expect electrical contractors to use these tools and provide a smooth, digital experience in addition to high-quality service. The trend will follow the disruptive effect that companies like Uber had on the taxi industry, where the experience is worth more than the product.
At the end of the day, Uber did not come up with anything new – taxis have been around for centuries – but they did revolutionize the experience to make it as easy as possible for the customers. Start winning property management contracts with these free step-by-step instructions and worksheets!
I'm here to bring you next-level strategies to the field service industry. When I'm not working on the best tips to grow your business, I'm on the lookout for sci-fi novels and cookie recipes.