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Looking for advice on getting customers off the fence and close the deal. Also, how to determine where they are on other bids and how they stack up.
 

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irving said:
Looking for advice on getting customers off the fence and close the deal. Also, how to determine where they are on other bids and how they stack up.
Irving,as long as you have put together a real estimate of the job,as opposed to pulling a number out of your hat, the other bids are not important.What you need to do is convince the customer that you are the right contractor at the right price(your price). Not to say you can't discount a little to make the close. I will discount 5% maximum,but only if it is a job i want,or by way of a referral.
 

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Aside from a professional bid, which I always do, I am looking for some ideas of a proactive close. Especially from the leads from a lead service. I have a good closing ratio. But it seems that the jobs I think are in the bag, I don't get. The ones I'm not too sure of, I do.

I'm looking for some ideas to evaluate the customer, as to their thoughts on the bids they have received, and improve my closings. Ideas to get the customer to comit. I have my ways, but they don't seem to be working. What are some of other contractor's ways of getting to the bottom of the customers head.
 

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irving said:
Aside from a professional bid, which I always do, I am looking for some ideas of a proactive close. Especially from the leads from a lead service. I have a good closing ratio. But it seems that the jobs I think are in the bag, I don't get. The ones I'm not too sure of, I do.

I'm looking for some ideas to evaluate the customer, as to their thoughts on the bids they have received, and improve my closings. Ideas to get the customer to comit. I have my ways, but they don't seem to be working. What are some of other contractor's ways of getting to the bottom of the customers head.
Irving,there there are three important areas that customers use to evaluate a potential contractor, the person or personel of the company ,the image the company puts forth such as its advertising,vehicles etc..,and the type and level of service the company can provide. This is close to the disney company's,cast ,scene,set,formula. Try to work on improving each of these areas one at a time. As for trying to evaluate the customer,this is difficult as customers will rarely disclose what thier realy thinking.
 

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"Ok, Mr. customer, as you can see we will be doing X Y and Z as detailed in this proposal for you. We will be using ABC materials because as we discussed you like their style. Correct? We have about two weeks of lead time infront of us so sign right here and I'll get that scheduled for you..."

---- Slide over the contract and SHUT THE F UP! ---- Wait for them to say something.

The above is a closing question. Go for the kill. The below can be used to "feel up" your potential customer before asking for the sale or to overcome objections.

Customer says: "I'm not ready to make a decision yet."

You say: "I understand. You probably want to think about it a lil while. Tell me... what factors do you think you will be basing your decision on? (The customer will now tell you what it willt ake to close them) Have you received any other estimates? What are the differences between theirs and mine? (Let's you know where you stand and receive more knowledge of what is important to the customer)

"Oh so you spoke to XYZ & Co. What did you like or dislike about them?" The customer may say "I didn't like their cheap products". (Now you know that you need to focus your sales pitch on your quality of materials.)

Sales is nothing more than listening. The customer will tell you what it will take to close them, and every customer makes decisions differently so there is no one size fits all canned sales pitch that will work IMO. Ask questions and listen to answers.
 

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A big part about my sales approach is educating the customer, but I allow them to educate me. When I walk into a customers house, I may say something very very similiar to this.

"Thank you Mr. Jones for allowing me to stop out. It's my understanding that I'm here to take a look at your roof? Tell me about that..."

The customer may say "My roof leaks." or "The roof looks aged and I want to replace it before it leaks." To which I would follow up: "What do you know about roofing?", "Is there anything specific about this project you think I should know?", "Do you have any ideas you'd like to share?", "Have you ever had your roof replaced before on this or any house? If so how did that go? Were you pleased or displeased? What pleased or displeased you?"

Each answer is a bullet in your gun wheh you ask for the sale.

Yes Mr. Customer I understand that you feel the price is somewhat high, but when you want quality work, it always costs alittle more upfront. Remember the nightmare you told me about when you replaced the roof on your last house? Let's go ahead with this project and I assure you none of the nonsence will happen from us.

SHUT UP.

Remember to never speak after you ask for a sale. NEVER speak until they speak.
 

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I try to avoid at all costs any phrase that is uttered by a "stereotypical" high-pressure salesman.

"What do I need to do to earn your business tonight?"
"What is there to think about?"
"Let me sharpen my pencil and see what I can do for you"
"Let me call my manager and see if we can do something for you"
"If you buy tonight I can save you an additional 10%"

I will reiterate this point again. Most sales are made by LISTENING. Ask questions and listen to the answers. Make the customer feel like you are trying to help them and not trying to extract a check.
 

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I say it over and over again, but nobody listens... have a reason to call the customer back other than to say "Have you thought it over yet?"

Last week I did a kitchen estimate, that consisted of just Corian counters and a custom tile backsplash. I get free upgraded edges with my Corian fabricator, but I quoted the job with standard edges and gave them alacarte upgrades for 5 other edges.

After not hearing from the homeowner in a couple of days, I called them back to let them know my fabricator was running a sale and I could give them one of the upgraded edges at no cost for them if they were able to sign my contract sometime this week.

Next morning they called and want to know when can I stop by to pick up the deposit.

Lesson #1 Have a reason to call the customer back that makes sense, and benefits them.

How do you do it? The easiest way is to hold something back in your quote.

There is an excellent artical in one of the builder magazines I read about how contractors continually shoot themselves in the foot by not holding any tricks up their sleves to exceed the customers expectations. It's a good lesson that can be applied to the job and the sales call.
 

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Paul Staub said:
"What do I need to do to earn your business tonight?"
"What is there to think about?"
"Let me sharpen my pencil and see what I can do for you"
"Let me call my manager and see if we can do something for you"
"If you buy tonight I can save you an additional 10%"
Paul you might not like or employ them, and I can understand why, but the disturbing fact is they work, and they work alarmingly well. I have personally seen them employed and I have seen them not employed and I have witnessed the higher percentages of closings that result and more importantly I have witnessed the grossly larger profits that result from tactics such as those.

We all have to pick and choose how we run our businesses but I hope your reason for disliking those tactics isn't because you think they are not effective, because they are. While some of the exact phrases might be distastefull, the actual principals they are based on are extremely effective and regarded as actually selling instead of showing which unfortunately is what 99% of contractors do.

"What do I need to do to earn your business tonight?" - is based on the principle of discovering exactly what is motivating your customer. A simple version of this phrase is more powerful than a sales person standing there vomiting crap that the customer doesn't care about for 30 minutes.

"What is there to think about?" - is based on the principle of overcoming objections or discovering what the true objection is so that you can see if you can solve the customers problem. It is actually customer service at its highest degree. A customer saying "I need to think about it " is basically telling a fib. By asking something in that regard you may discover that the customer really needs to finalize a home equity loan, and that by next Tuesday he will have the funds. If that is the case is it wrong to present a solution to the customer that allows you to make the sale and him to get what he wants?

"Let me sharpen my pencil and see what I can do for you" - show me a customer who doesn't like a good deal or says I don't like to negotiate and I will show you the biggest liar in the room. All customers like a deal, some just have to pretend that they aren't negotiating to negotiate.

I could go on but...
 

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Its mostly the wording and the use of those phrases as a pressure tool that I have a problem with. A high pressure salesman who constantly "brow-beats" and asks for the order will always close more sales than someone who says "heres our price call me when you are ready."

Instead of saying ""What do I need to do to earn your business tonight?" I would say "I understand your hesitancy, this is an important decision, is there anything I have left out that is troubling you?"

Instead of saying "what is there to think about?" I would say "so you would like to think about it? I understand many people in your position fell the need to think it over, upgrading your home is an important decision, Let me ask do you like this window? (listen) What do you like about it? (listen) Are you comfortable with our method of installation?(listen) Are you ok with the price? (listen) If a favorableanswer is given to most of the questions then I would ask "which part of the project will require the most thought?"

and so on...
 

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Let me sharpen my pencil and see what I can do for you" - show me a customer who doesn't like a good deal or says I don't like to negotiate and I will show you the biggest liar in the room. All customers like a deal, some just have to pretend that they aren't negotiating to negotiate.
Actually I am not fond of this closing tactic.
the others are fine, but this one just chaps my self esteem and I believe it creates distrust.
in other words you are saying
"I really can charge less, so I will...I just only charge this rate for gripers"


I will also agree that the most common reason for salespeople to have lousy closing ratios, is because they do not ask for the sale. And even if they do, they cannot handle objections without *issing people off like some greasy pen jockey.

Don't be afraid to ask blunt, straight forward questions, and keep them open ended!
 

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Flor, a honest days work for a honest days pay has always worked for me. Take it or leave it.
You get what you pay for.
 

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Price, Quality, Service

pick any 2
 

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I highly, highly recommend Zig Ziglar's Secrets of Closing the Sale. It is an excellant book. I read Markup and Profit and noticed how many times Michael Stone made references to Zig Ziglar. I looked into his books and found Secrets of Closing the Sale.
 

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I highly, highly recommend Zig Ziglar's Secrets of Closing the Sale. It is an excellant book. I read Markup and Profit and noticed how many times Michael Stone made references to Zig Ziglar. I looked into his books and found Secrets of Closing the Sale.
I enjoyed that book as well. I also reccomend:

"Soft Selling in a Hard World" by Jerry Vass
"How to Sell Anything to Anybody" by Joe Girard
"How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie (not sales specific)
"The New Science of Selling and Pesuasion" by William Brooks (geared toward sales management)
"Why We Buy" by Paco Underhill (The book is about marketing in a retail environment, it was great for me but may not benefit most contractors)
 
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