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Old 01-20-2012, 06:59 AM   #41
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Old 01-20-2012, 07:00 AM   #42
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One think I am going to start doing when giving on the spot bids for interior work: Go out to my van and write it up so I can think WITHOUT the customer staring at me. I can’t think under pressure! This applies to exteriors too when the customer is following me around two feet away. Doh!!!

I always do that for on the spot quotes, just explain that I need a few minutes to work up a price. It's served me well over the years
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Old 01-21-2012, 04:47 PM   #43
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It depends. Probably 70% of my jobs come through referrals. As a result many already feel inclined to use my services - they just want to know the price. If it's within the range they were expecting I'm usually able to close before leaving. I've been doing this long enough that I feel pretty comfortable with my bids (unless they are really complicated jobs). I also only do interiors so the variables are often less and bids are easier to do - at least for me. Sometimes they want to talk it over (or think about it) and get back to me. Usually that means the price is more than they expected. Of those I usually get about 80% positive call backs.

On a non-referral I'm still usually able to give the bid before I leave. On those I'm able to close about 75% of the time either then or on a callback.

I'm always surprised how many people don't get multiple bids or how many other contractors never bother to respond in a timely manner. I've lost track of the number of jobs I've gotten just because I was the one who did the bid promptly and was ready to put them into my schedule - often before they've even gotten any call from the other painting outfits they've contacted. Seems to be human nature that once people have made up their mind to move ahead with the work they want the bid ASAP and to be put on the calendar. Don't ever put people off if you can possibly avoid it. Do the bid, sell your service, and close the deal. No need to be pushy like most car salesmen but think about it: if you've ever gone to purchase a car from a dealership did the salesperson ever tell you they'll get back to you in a few days?

I hear ya. I'm in Pittsburgh and maybe folks decision making protocol is a bit different here, but the way it seems to work here is people need to disseminate and digest the proposal. That seems to typically take anywhere from 1 day to two weeks. My estimates very clearly state that they're not valid beyond 14 days. Obviously this is so I don't get strung out for weeks.

Incidentally, I just had new carpet/hardwood installed in my home. I had 3 companies estimate, and thought about it over a few days and made a decison.

I just have a hard time believing that some guys have an on the spot closing rate as high as they claim on here.

I just can't operate that way, but if it's working for someone, keep on keeping on!
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Old 01-21-2012, 07:10 PM   #44
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I hear ya. I'm in Pittsburgh and maybe folks decision making protocol is a bit different here, but the way it seems to work here is people need to disseminate and digest the proposal. That seems to typically take anywhere from 1 day to two weeks. My estimates very clearly state that they're not valid beyond 14 days. Obviously this is so I don't get strung out for weeks.

Incidentally, I just had new carpet/hardwood installed in my home. I had 3 companies estimate, and thought about it over a few days and made a decison.

I just have a hard time believing that some guys have an on the spot closing rate as high as they claim on here.

I just can't operate that way, but if it's working for someone, keep on keeping on!
I'm in a fairly small town (60K) and have lived here since 63. Being a long time resident and knowing lots of people are definately factors in the majority of my work being referral. Also the clientele is a factor. I'm fortunate to have gotten in with many of the college professors, professional types, and engineers that largely make up the upper level income brackets here. I also get many referrals from high producing realtors. I know many dislike working with them but they have become an important part of my business. When they tell a client that I do great work and that I've done most of the painting in their own homes, those clients listen. Also, the recession didn't hit as hard here as it did in many areas. Many of my customers are more concerned about quality than price. I never take that for granted though. If you do then you'll soon be wondering where all those customers went. I always strive to have my price and work quality equal a good value for my customers.

I think being in a larger market could be more difficult in many ways. There you're just another painting outfit to most people. But, you also have a larger market to draw upon. Not sure if one outweighs the other.
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Old 01-21-2012, 08:28 PM   #45
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Well said Research.
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Old 01-22-2012, 03:51 AM   #46
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For me I need to constantly battle my own laziness, I've told myself many times over the years I should do the estimate on the spot, because if I don't , it can be days before I get it done and back to them. When I finish it on the spot, and deliver it, it's a huge relief, as it's one less thing I need to think about later on. It's such a struggle rushing from here to there, trying to force myself to take a few extra minutes to figure out the bid and write it up. When in the field I use Pre-printed 3 part forms that I put a bunch of logo type stuff at the top where it's open. I have used Pre-printed scope of work for typical exteriors so that I don't have to write up the bulk of the same stuff over and over. It really doesn't take that long to figure out most residential bids, not nearly as much time as I spend procrastinating if I wait to do it at home. That being said I need to finish up a bid I looked at several days ago before the snowstorm shut down the Seattle area. That's my excuse for being late anyways....
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Old 01-22-2012, 07:56 AM   #47
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With the greatest of respect to both methods, I am wondering if this topic is being over thought.
Can one over think improving business?
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Old 01-22-2012, 08:52 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by researchhound View Post

I think being in a larger market could be more difficult in many ways. There you're just another painting outfit to most people. But, you also have a larger market to draw upon. Not sure if one outweighs the other.
In your case Dan I would bet the outcome would be the same since you have cultivated your business for such a long time and obviously do it in a defined professional manner.

Upon more thought I think the outcome is essentially the same between larger and smaller markets, if you offer a professional value to your customers, enjoy what you do, build relationships, learn from your mistakes then I think the building blocks are being placed to succeed.
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Old 01-22-2012, 08:55 AM   #49
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Can one over think improving business?
Yes.



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Old 01-22-2012, 11:26 AM   #50
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Paralysis by analysis?
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Old 01-22-2012, 11:33 AM   #51
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Paralysis by analysis?
It happens.

I think its important to go with the flow a little bit. If a meeting seems to call for the immediate close, go for it. Alot of the times, putting a little space in between it is good too.

I'm not a big believer in being too scripted in small business. I know it is what the business textbooks call for, but I dont think it fits well with the small business model. There are definitely Ken Fenners who are so gifted in sales that they can be running on a script without it appearing that way. Its probably awkward as hell for most, and comes off that way. Not that all one calls are scripted, but that seems to be the prevalent model.

Its not like we need a gazillion leads closed to run 5 guys or less. I believe in being selective. Its no secret that I go with a model of not needing more leads and closes, but needing better leads and closes. And yes, I realize that a larger pool should generate more of the better ones, but I wonder if there is a point of diminishing return in there somewhere that small businesses dont need to cross.



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Old 01-22-2012, 12:33 PM   #52
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It happens.

I think its important to go with the flow a little bit. If a meeting seems to call for the immediate close, go for it. Alot of the times, putting a little space in between it is good too.

I'm not a big believer in being too scripted in small business. I know it is what the business textbooks call for, but I dont think it fits well with the small business model. There are definitely Ken Fenners who are so gifted in sales that they can be running on a script without it appearing that way. Its probably awkward as hell for most, and comes off that way. Not that all one calls are scripted, but that seems to be the prevalent model.

Its not like we need a gazillion leads closed to run 5 guys or less. I believe in being selective. Its no secret that I go with a model of not needing more leads and closes, but needing better leads and closes. And yes, I realize that a larger pool should generate more of the better ones, but I wonder if there is a point of diminishing return in there somewhere that small businesses dont need to cross.

Definitely don't chase after every lead, that is the purpose of qualifying customers. But think you should work at closing those you can. A good sales plan is just that, a plan, you have to be able to adjust. People are not all the same so a one plan fits all approach won't work.

Closing early and often is just one aspect of a plan. A tool in a box full of tools. If you don't close on the spot, your plan changes and you follow up, you utilize another tool. By choosing another tool, your attempts to close have doubled. In the end it is a numbers game. You have to collect so many no's to get a yes.

McDonald's "Do you want some fries with that?" is my favorite analogy for this. McDonald's knows that you won't say yes all or even most of the time, but the chances increase proportionally by asking. There is NO chance of adding on the fries if you don't ask.

Trying to close on the spot is just one more way of increasing the odds in your favor.

JMHO anyway.
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Old 01-23-2012, 08:57 AM   #53
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[QUOTE=sendit6;283603]


I just have a hard time believing that some guys have an on the spot closing rate as high as they claim on here.

We always estimate and try to close the same day. We have a close rate of 46%.

Follow the ABC's.... Always Be Closing!!
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Old 01-23-2012, 04:01 PM   #54
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I agree with Scott to some extent about worrying too much about certain things but on the flip side, not worrying (at least a little bit) about the big things such as marketing and selling can and will stunt your growth.

Everyone has different styles but growth (in life and business) comes from venturing outside your comfort zone. No one here at paint Talk invented selling nor have they revolutionized it. So all we can do is increase the odds into our favor.

CA Painter's smaller cross section survey is on-point. Its always better to be the first guy to call back and the first one to do a presentation/proposal. People are only looking for the right fit. The way I look at it, I am that right fit. No one will give better results, service, and follow up. Why keep looking?
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:15 PM   #55
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Old 01-24-2012, 05:15 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by vermontpainter View Post
I think its important to go with the flow a little bit. If a meeting seems to call for the immediate close, go for it. Alot of the times, putting a little space in between it is good too.
I'm not a big believer in being too scripted in small business.
I agree. It’s good to have a few different systems in place, and be prepared to use the one that’s most appropriate at the time.

I did a bid this morning for a lady who’s response to every question I asked was; “I’ll have to check with my husband”. No point in attempting to bid/close on the spot with her.
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Old 01-24-2012, 10:43 PM   #57
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I agree. It’s good to have a few different systems in place, and be prepared to use the one that’s most appropriate at the time.

I did a bid this morning for a lady who’s response to every question I asked was; “I’ll have to check with my husband”. No point in attempting to bid/close on the spot with her.
The classic "one-legger". Nearly impossible to overcome.
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Old 01-24-2012, 11:12 PM   #58
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The classic "one-legger". Nearly impossible to overcome.
Had one this past summer who I could tell was asking questions (and writing down answers) just so she could figure out how she could do it herself. I cut that one short pretty quickly.
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Old 01-25-2012, 10:59 PM   #59
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Had one this past summer who I could tell was asking questions (and writing down answers) just so she could figure out how she could do it herself. I cut that one short pretty quickly.
They call that " free consulting"!
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Old 01-26-2012, 03:46 PM   #60
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I do both depending on the situation. Sometimes I need to think about a little longer and sometimes I am pretty sure about the cost. As far as them taking notes so they can paint it themselves, knowing how a painter will paint it and doing it yourself it's completely two different things and most of the times they call me to finish it up anyway.

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