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you book an appointment,both husband and wife say they will be there.
you get there but the wife is on the couch with her lap top and her husband is the one asking questions ect... the wife seems disinterested and could care less about the do you handle it?

the wife is preoccupied with her child or on the phone..
you obviously want the undivied attention of both and even ask if another day wpuld be better with that the guy says no,nows the perfect time.
Sorry davinci...didn't see this earlier!

Regarding sitting on the couch preoccupied...."Mary? Would you mind taking a minute? I need to ask you a few questions before I can figure out how to price this project for you guys."

This gives a false time constraint that you're only going to need her for a minute and then you keep her engaged throughout the demo. If she doesn't make a move to get up then just open up your kit or a brochure and say, "Could you take a look at this? I was wondering what you think of this." and lay a brochure on the table. That should get her over to the table.

If they insist that he makes the decisions and she'll just approve the $$ then you need to be a little more assertive. "Joe..Mary. This is probably going to be one of the largest investments you make in this home. Unfortunately you're not going to find a company of any salt that's going to come over, move a window up and down, shoot you a price, and leave the estimate on the table, including myself. That's only because you'd be doing a terrible disservice to yourself and no one wants to be a party to that. If we need to do this when we can all sit down then I'm up for that. If this is the perfect time then let's all get together and get through this and you can tell me what you guys would like to do. Which option would you prefer?"

You've stated your position, packaged it as looking out for their interests, and given them two viable choices. You'll either be sitting at the table or resetting it.

If the wife is doing the phone thing I say, "Mary, excuse me. I'm going to need you in a few minutes. Are you going to be able to join us? Yes, I know Joe handles this sort of thing but I have some questions specifically for you." Then stand there until she gives you and answer.

With the kids sometimes you'll have to suck that I'll usually grab the kids and say, "Alright everybody. Gather over here. I'd like to make a little deal. If you can be patient and let me and your folks visit for a little bit then when we're done I'll let you have your parents all to yourselves and you get to do whatever you want after I leave. Is that a deal?!" The parents usually laugh and the kids like it. If they're quiet I'll actually invite them to join us as long as they can remain quite and they're allowed to ask questions as long as they raise their hands.

The important thing is taking control of the situation and leading the engagement. If you don't then you're fighting a losing battle.
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