Recently my landscaping company lost out on a maintenance contract for a home owners association we had bid on.
The homes in this association are beautiful, million-dollar properties and, it seems fair to assume, the owners are all invested—quite literally—in their appearance and upkeep. We were confident we had put together a proposal that would deliver a level of beauty, best practices, and value to match. I met with the head of the HOA throughout the bidding process and we struck up a great rapport.
So I was disappointed when we didn't get the job. Instead we received a very nice e-mail thanking us for our time and praising our ideas; our bid, for them, was just too high.
Now this job wasn’t going to make or break us. I haven't lost sleep over it. But I do want to learn from it. I always say success leaves clues, but so do strikeouts. Here’s what I took away from this:
1. We need to review our screening process. In this instance, the HOA's entire budget would not have covered our contract. We weren't off by a little; we were off by a mile. Do I wish we had bid less? No. We’re committed to delivering exceptional quality and service, and we can't do that on the cheap. But I do wish our screening process had worked better up front to save both of us—company and prospect—from such a mismatch. What questions are we not asking at the get-go to clarify expectations?
2. We need to do a better job communicating the value we deliver. We’re really chewing over this one at Grunder Landscaping. We’re reassessing all our marketing materials and the customer journey. Are we telling our story as well as we should? Are we demonstrating the benefits we bring in a way prospects and clients can understand and will invest in? What role does each person at Grunder play in accomplishing this?
I'll be sure to share with you what we learn from this process in a future Great Idea.
Have a great week!