How to Turn Failed Bids Into New Sales

Sometimes, you bid on a project and you don’t win. It happens from time to time, and it’s hard to know why. The good news is that you may have a second chance to make a first impression. In some cases, you only missed out because the client was looking for something you didn’t offer, or even that they made a choice they would later regret. Here are a few ways that you can help turn it around.

Keep Them on the Mailing List
If you’re working primarily with clients who aren’t businesses, you don’t necessarily have to trash their contact information once you learn that you didn’t land the project. Clients go with different contractors for a variety of services. Just because you weren’t the right fit for the first one, it doesn’t mean you’re out of the running forever. If they signed up for any kind of mailings that you offer, printed or electronic, continue to send it to them. This is one way that you can stay on their radar for future projects.

Request Feedback
If you have the ability, it’s always worth asking them why they chose someone else other than your business. In this case, you have to be prepared to hear some constructive criticism, and possibly some less-than-constructive criticism as well. Nobody wants to hear about the mistakes that they made, but you won’t be able to improve unless you’re aware of them. Sometimes, it’s simply a case of who arrived first and landed the job. In other cases, a few simple decisions on your part could have made the difference between coming in first and coming in last.

Identify Obvious Problems
Based on that feedback, identify obvious problems with your workflow as it relates to your bid for that particular project. For example, many contractors take too long to return client phone calls or emails. Clients might still be interested in getting a consultation for comparison, but there’s not much you can do if you show up after they have mostly made the decision. Similarly, clients may expect that most of the transactions will happen in a digital format. If you’re still working off paper and pencil mostly, it might be time to upgrade.

Keep Lines of Communication Open
When you’re interacting with colleagues and larger business clients, keeping the lines of communication open is key. In a world of construction labor shortages, coming in second as a subcontractor on a contractor’s list isn’t necessarily a disaster. It just means that the next time they need to hire a subcontractor, you may still have a chance. Assuming that you know why you weren’t chosen, it’s worth following up with the contractor to thank them for the opportunity. Treat it as a long-term professional relationship, and they’ll be more likely to do the same.

Stay Positive
It’s OK to admit that losing out on a project is really frustrating. However, letting it take over your mood and make it difficult for you to interact with others can create problems long-term. Keep in mind that many business owners hear the word “no” many times before they start to consistently hear the word “yes.” It takes practice to learn how to create a fair bid that clients are likely to accept. If you can take your early experiences in a positive light, you’ll be more likely to learn from them and improve over time.

Learning how to fail and bounce back even stronger is a big part of running a contracting business. You’ll get better with practice, especially if you get the right foundation. To discover more about starting your construction career, contact CSLS today!

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About CSLS

Contractors State License Service (CSLS) is the largest school in California devoted to the Construction professional. For over 23 years, CSLS has helped its students pass the exam to become licensed contractors in the State of California, licensing more students than any other school. From our main offices in Southern California, CSLS operates over 25 locations with full-service support and classrooms. We have grown to this extent by providing quality, professional services. In comparison, this provides 7 times the number of convenient locations than the second largest contractor school. Contractors State License Services is one of the only contractor schools in the state that is run by educators, not lawyers or people mostly interested in the bonding and insurance business. Contractors State License Services formerly operated under the oversight of the State of California's Bureau for Private Post Secondary and Vocational Education. As of January 1 2010, the new Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) came into existence replacing the BPPVE. CSLS now operates under the provisions of the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 (CPPEA), Article 4 Section 94874(f). Our Mission is simple; We can help you pass your California Contractors License Exam. Celebrating our 25th year, CSLS has helped over 120,000 students pass the California contractor licensing exam to become licensed contractors in the State of California. Additionally, we offer complete home study and online contractor’s license programs to help you pass your California contractors license exam. CSLS offers licensing classes for all types of contractor licenses, including General Engineering Contractor, General Building Contractor, Specialty Contractor, Insulation and Acoustical Contractor, Framing and Rough Carpentry Contractor, Cabinet, Millwork and Finish Carpentry Contractor, Concrete Contractor, Drywall Contractor, Electrical Contractor, Elevator Contractor, Landscaping Contractor, Warm-Air Heating, Ventilating and Air-Conditioning Contractor, and many others. For a complete list of contractor licenses, visit and tuned for more informative posts.