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I keep a record of all my estimates. I put them in a spreadsheet and color code them. Green = sold, Red = dead. I went back 3 years and started laughing a bit. What I noticed is I sell a bunch of leads in a row, then don't sell a bunch then sell a bunch. It's up and down just like that for the past 3 years.

As far as I can gather this is due to the lack of attention some leads receive when I am really busy managing the jobs I've already sold. I like to give alot of personal attention to my jobs and do a lot of homeowner hand holding to prevent things from going wrong. This takes up alot of time from call backs and active persual of selling.

Any thoughts?
 

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I agree grump, except in my case a lot of the times I'm doing the jobs while selling others, gets tiresome. (sp ?) word for the day.

Tiresome......To get some one elses tire. :)

Bob
 
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Are people in the trades scared to call back a customer after giving them a bid on a job?

In 10 years of home ownership, from plumbers, to electricians, to concrete contractors to roofers I bet I have had 2 ever call be back after bidding on a job. I can't for the life of me understand why someone in business would invest the initial time to come out to make the bid which could be as much as 2-3 hours when you take into consideration the time it takes to drive there, find it, look at the job, put the estimate together and then go home. You invest 2-3 hours and then won't put in an additional 3-5 minutes following up?

Following up is basic sales 101. Your closing ratios go up dramatically with follow up. Just a simple "Hello, Mike, I'm just following up with you on the job I came out to see a few days ago. Have you made a decision yet? I'm very interested in doing that job for you and wondering if you had any questions about my estimate, or if there were any questions I could answer at this time to help you make your decision."

Way back when I was a little pup in sales, the first lesson I ever learned was you have to ask for the sale. If you don't ask for the sale you reduce your chances of getting it by up to 80%. So many times in those early days some one would comment to me, "You know, I have looked at a handful of (Whatever I was selling) and everybody is basically pretty close in quality or price, but you were the only guy that seemed like he actually wanted me to buy from you."

I'm just so amazed at how a person in the trades will take so much of their time to give you an estimate and then just hand it over to you as if they were getting paid for the estimate and they didn't care if you bought from them or not.
 
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I just wanted to add that the other thing I always did was ask every single customer at some point after the sale was made, why they chose to buy from me. Price was rarely the answer. Price was the answer some times, but you knew that was the reason with those customers before you even asked them.

Most of the time the customer couldn't even give you a solid reason, it was more of a feeling that they trusted you, or you seemed to really care about them or you seemed to really want the job.

Advice I always give to anyone in sales who is not making as much money as they want is to anaylize every bit of their time spent with a customer, from the initial greeting to the close of the deal, ask yourself what you did right that made the deal and if you don't get the deal anaylize every moment of your interaction with the customer and try to pinpoint at what point you either lost the sale or missed an opportunity that was a turning or tipping point that you could have used to your advantage.

I would also be curious to know how many people in the trade follow up with their customers after they are done with them. Do you call them up eagerly 30 days after the job to ask if there is anything that needs to be addressed or do you cringe when the phone rings because it is the customer calling about something that needs to be fixed after the job was done.

Follow up with a customer after the job is the perfect time to ask for referrals for friends or relatives of them that might need your services.

I'll get off the soap box.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Mike I always call my customers back, just less frequent than I would like some weeks. An estimate not persued is a wasted inspection.

The problem is many people running contracting businesses are not business men. No offense to any of my fellow contractors.

I aks all my customers to fill out a survey after the job is done, and in the survey it asks that question. "Why did you choose grumpy's roofing?" Then after they pay I send a hand written thank you card.

Right now at this very moment I am priinting up a merged letter to all my estimates from last year that didn't give me an answer or I wasn't able to connect with for some reason.

So to answer your question: I am one contractor that follows up with his estimates and turns them into customers. 40% closing ratio, and not a single upset customer so far this year.
 

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Mike F, those are true words of wisdom. I've always been good in the mechanical part of the trade, but struggle daily in the business/sales part of it. I always make call-backs too.

I doubt you will find many people on this forum that don't follow up, because the people that take the time to join a forum such as this one to discuss the trades obviously care about their business. If I didn't care, I wouldn't be here, I'd be at my local tavern drinking up my days wages. ;)
 
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Any chance you guys moving to Denver? Nice to see that pros exist. Sometimes I count myself lucky if you can get someone even to call you back. We just had our study wall papered. I called 4 people, all came 'highly' recommended by the wall paper store we purchased our paper from. Out of the 4, 3 called me back. Of the 3, 1 acted like he had never heard from me before, I finally had to ask him, why he was calling me back, why were you returning my call if you don't even know what my call was about, turned out he called me back 4 days later, only by accident because my number had shown up on his caller id! Out of the other 2, one guy was too far out in appointments to work with our schedule (That's the guy I would have wanted!) so guy #4 got the job by default.

He did a really nice job overall. Two days later my wife notices one corner where the paper seems to have lifted a bit. The guy was very professional, said he had been doing this for over 30 years, but of course he never called back after the job to see if everything was okay. I left him a message yesterday, haven't heard from him yet.

I must admit, things have gotten better out here since the down turn in the economy. 2 years ago if you called 4 people you would have been lucky to get 1 call you back.

I believe you both are correct, people who would frequent here probably are going above and beyond their competition.
 

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Grumpy, I'm just curious. Have you tied your records into the stock market, seasons or anything else?
Our season blossoms when the snowbirds come down and wanes after Easter, cyclic. Year before last the stock market was not doing all that well and we had a killer summer. Last year the market was holding it's own and I barely squeaked through. This year I am booked through the entire summer already until Oct. 1 and beyond.
My software can't figure it out, yours?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Nope. I never thought about doing that. I'm talking bi-monthly fluctuations so seasonal is out of the question. I definetly think the stock market has a hand to play, however I dis-believe in the stock market as a whole. When people have less worries they tend to spend more money.
 

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Here I can definitely tie into the stock market as many retirees depend upon it for their income. It used to be that when the market went flat so did I. A down turn was usually good as people started profit taking and investing it elsewhere like in their homes or other properties. I'll be danged if I can figure it out now though, I have to be missing something.
 
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