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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
What are your top questions to qualify a potential customer to see if they are a serious buyer or just wanting to pick your mind / see how much they can save by attempting to do themselves?
This is your initial call back phone contact.
 

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Check out the Sandler Sales method. It deals with this issue perfectly.

Tim
 

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I found sandler's sales method to be weird. I have his CD's which were "geared" towards remodelers.

Anyways here is how I qualify... Do you own the building? Ok when would you like to meet?

You can lose ALOT of business by qualifying.

I have lists and lists of qualification questions filed somwhere on my computer if you do insist on qualifying.
 

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Very easy.
First I try to find out what the approx sq fottage is of the material they want. And I put up a rough (high) estimate to see the reaction.
Most people schedule measures after the initial quote.
If they balk at the price, I then find out what the budget is, then I show them material that will fit into the budget, then schedule a measure.

Nobody walks into my store without the thought of buying. Everyone is a buyer.

For the call ins, I will give them a lower quote right off the bat because I know they are calling 20 different places. I will not schedule a measure until I get them in the store.
 

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I should clarify. Grumpy and I have a different product and his business is more dependant upon volume than ours. I have to qualify for people spending $100,000 plus on a project. For that, I really need to go through more qualifiers for the time investment involved in preparing a bid. I have wasted hours upon hours preparing bids for clients who can't get the financing.

Tim
 

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Discussion Starter #6
EXAMPLE:

Is this your personal home/business?
How did you receive my name/company?
When are you looking to have this work done?
Have you had any work of this type done before, was it on this particular property if so how long ago?
Will you be the person making the decisions?
Etc.etc.
 

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About the only pre-qualifying I do is based on time frame. Asking them "...and how soon were you wanting to start this project?" A lot of people will vomit valuable info you can use to guage there intentions.
 

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Qualified customer; Comes by referral, has waterfront home, has big yacht behind waterfront home, wears a watch worth more than most annual incomes, drives a Rolls, Ferrari or some other pricey toy......Qualified!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I guess excluding you and your dream clientel. I'm refering to the rest of us that don't
have this wonderful situation and I'm also refering to the first contact you have with a
potential customer(usually by phone) so you don't get to see their ferrarri, rolex,etc.etc.
 

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RD, I placed myself in this position and have shared with everyone here how I did it. I got tired of spinning my wheels and dedicated myself to wooing the upper crust. If you spend some time going over the old posts you will find it all in black and white.
By phone, I simply ask where the property is. I work in certain areas and offer referals to those in others.
 

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I'll usually meet with the customer once unless they say something on the phone that leads me to doubt their intentions. When setting the appointment on the phone : "I'll be there on time..... will call if I'm going to be more than a few minutes late yada yada. We'll look at what you're wanting done and if we can meet your design requirements, we can talk about what materials you might want to use, your timeline or schedule and your budget for the job." They'll usually say something to tip you off if they aren't at all serious.

If I think I might have a DIY type, I'll ask if they've thought about doing some of the project themselves to save some money. This will tell you if you need to do some more digging. I've also quit leaving written estimates. If they want it in writing I offer to put in my contract (nicely). I just don't see any benefit to giving it to them in writing.
 

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I never give estimates either. Any price I give a customer is a quote.

Don
 

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trekr said:
I've also quit leaving written estimates. If they want it in writing I offer to put in my contract (nicely). I just don't see any benefit to giving it to them in writing.
I too would like to know how this works. I can't imagine getting work for more than a couple of hundred dollars without a quote of some sort in writing.
 

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Part of my approach, especially with windows, is that I DO give my quotes in writing very detailed. Most guys give the type of window and dollar ammount.

I then tell the customers, "Look, I am upfront with everything. I leave nothing to question. If you are assuming something, I am probably assuming somethign else. Let's get it all out in the open right now and we will both be happier in the end."

people love communication. Did you know that's the #3 complaint in my area when it comes to dealing with contractors? Poor communication.
 

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Grumpy is sort of detailing why I try to avoid a written estimate. Grumpy follows up with a better/more detailed quote and sells on this basis. And regardless of how detailed a quote is someone could come along and point out an ommission-- real or not.

If I'm preparing the estimate while I'm there, I fill out a detailed spec sheet, sit down w/ customer and go line for line. Then I try to close... making this sheet part of the contract.
 

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I too go line by line explaining every word in my estimate both with words and pictures.

Trekr... when someone says to me...
"Xyz said they could do it for $1234"
I say "Really? Can I see their estimate?"
If they say "We didn't get one."
I then say "Well then all you have is an empty promise."

I love it when I sell against guys who don't give written proposals... and if the proposal is HAND written... I say stuff like "What's that word? Oh, Oh I see now." Poking fun at their hand writing since I type my proposals and print my proposals with the customer right infront of me.

If the estimate is on the back of the card, I ask the customer: "Do you really know what you are getting for that price? After all they could be doing just a layover, in which case you are paying too much. Wouldn't you prefer to have it all in writing so there is always a refrence if you have a question or problem?"

Trust me if I thought I could sell more jobs without a written estimate I wouldn't waste my time writing one. I totally would prefer to walk in say "$5,000 when can I start?" but I'd be on welfare real quick. It might work for you, and if it does, maybe I need to take lessons... I just do what works for me.
 

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Grumpy said:
I say "Really? Can I see their estimate?"
If they say "We didn't get one."
I then say "Well then all you have is an empty promise."
That's f-in awesome I love it, consider it stolen Grumpy. I will put a copyright notice to you and I might send you a .001 cent royalty everytime I use it just to keep everything legal and on the up and up.

How about also "What are you going to do after the job when something falls apart? They can't put an estimate in writing, you think maybe your warranty won't be in writing either?"

Follow that one up with "Now sign here, then go get me a beer, and show me any naked pictures of your wife you have."

I don't know, maybe that is getting carried away, maybe leave off the beer part.
 

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trekr said:
If I'm preparing the estimate while I'm there, I fill out a detailed spec sheet, sit down w/ customer and go line for line. Then I try to close... making this sheet part of the contract.
What is the difference between that and a written estimate?
 

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I write detailed specs, I just try to not leave it unless it is part of a signed contract. Just like Grumpy is saying the written estimate is ammo for the next guy. I could follow Grumpy and say "wow he printed this out-- maybe he's so expensive because of his fancy equipment". In my situation, if my customer is faced with an "empty promise" statement, they will remember I was ready and willing to ink the deal with details... By the same token, is an estimate w/o a contract stronger?

My experience just hasn't been great closing business if I leave a written estimate behind. I'd rather try to close-- if I can't, I don't want to provide a sales tool for the next guy.
 
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