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Old 09-04-2008, 07:14 PM   #1
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Over the years I’ve gotten a very strong impression that many painting contractors do not like the idea that they have to be a salesman. They view salesmen in a very negative way, like the used car salesman or a high pressure salesman.

Sales does not have to be that way. Sales is really an educational endeavor. A good salesman seeks to understand what the customer wants or needs, and then tries to identify how to meet that want or need. And a really good salesman will be honest when he can’t or shouldn’t.

Bad salesmen focus on the short term. They want to make a buck today and they don’t care about the long term. So tomorrow they need to find another “sucker” so they can repeat the process. That’s not sales. That is being manipulative and dishonest.

Not that long ago I viewed sales negatively. Richard Kaller showed me differently. Sales is an admirable profession, just as painting is. A small contractor, such as myself, must wear many hats. And sales is one of them.

When I adopted a more positive view of that part of the business, my success increased tremendously. Our attitude truly does have an impact on our aptitude.

Brian Phillips
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Old 09-04-2008, 07:29 PM   #2
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Sales or maybe I should say estimates are one of my favorite parts of buisness. Recently I needed some gutters on my house, I took this as a oppurtunity to see other guys in action, giving estimates. I Got six estimates, Two of these estimates were from paint companys that also do gutters, these two paint companys, have been around over ten years, and run around 30 to 50 men, doing residential repaints, they were by far the highest bids for the gutters, one of them gave a estimate on the back of a buisness card, the other one gave me a estimate on his paint bid sheet.
the rest of the guys all came in about half of what the paint company's came in at, and all just gave me a price, no details, no insurance, no references, nothing, I couldnt beleive it.

Another thing that that came to me was how important a in person estimate is, one of the companys asked me to do the measuring and they could give me a price over the phone, well guess what they are not even being considered for the job. I learned something from this, I am guilt of the same thing, for small jobs, My policy from now on is, if we cant meet face to face, you aint getting a estimate, i know Brian has said that many times, but it really has not sunk into untill now.

On another note when it comes to estimating, its a lot easier to do when we are booked and have plenty of leads. If we are hurting for work, i will lower my price, I hate to admitt it, but I know have room to do this and still make a profit.

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Old 09-04-2008, 07:45 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Mac View Post
Sales or maybe I should say estimates are one of my favorite parts of buisness. Recently I needed some gutters on my house, I took this as a oppurtunity to see other guys in action, giving estimates. I Got six estimates, Two of these estimates were from paint companys that also do gutters, these two paint companys, have been around over ten years, and run around 30 to 50 men, doing residential repaints, they were by far the highest bids for the gutters, one of them gave a estimate on the back of a buisness card, the other one gave me a estimate on his paint bid sheet.
the rest of the guys all came in about half of what the paint company's came in at, and all just gave me a price, no details, no insurance, no references, nothing, I couldnt beleive it.

Another thing that that came to me was how important a in person estimate is, one of the companys asked me to do the measuring and they could give me a price over the phone, well guess what they are not even being considered for the job. I learned something from this, I am guilt of the same thing, for small jobs, My policy from now on is, if we cant meet face to face, you aint getting a estimate, i know Brian has said that many times, but it really has not sunk into untill now.

On another note when it comes to estimating, its a lot easier to do when we are booked and have plenty of leads. If we are hurting for work, i will lower my price, I hate to admitt it, but I know have room to do this and still make a profit.
I have learned a ton getting estimates for work on my house. It is fascinating to see how others operate.

Earlier this year I posted about having my trees trimmed. I only got 1 estimate. I never met the guy until he came to get his money-- 3 weeks after the job was done. I didn't want the hassle of dealing with a lot of contractors, he was highly recommended by my landscaper, and I went with him. I had no complaints about the work, but he certainly wasn't professional.

Several years ago I wanted to do an addition on my house. I had to practically beg for someone to show up. They guy I liked best-- and I told my wife when he left that he was the one we should hire-- came in the lowest. It wasn't about price-- though that was a nice surprise. He actually gave me some information about his company. He was the only one who submitted a detailed written estimate, which included some things I didn't want. In fact, he was the only one who submitted a written estimate. That made it easy to identify what was included in the price, unlike all of the other prices I received.

What really got my attention was that the prices I got were $30K to $55K and only one was written.

My point is that the salesman educated me and helped me make a good decision. We were thrilled with the work, and in fact, my office is in the addition, so I enjoy it every single day. And I think about that experience a lot. It put me in the customer's shoes.

Brian Phillips
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Old 09-04-2008, 08:05 PM   #4
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We are all in sales. Wether it's your kids getting you to purchase $150.00 pair of shoes, or you trying to sell the hottie at the end of the bar to give you her number, (or getting your wife to marry you) we all do it. We just don't realize it. When you look at it as a regular part of everyday life, it gets easier.
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Old 09-04-2008, 09:09 PM   #5
 
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I used to sell TV's a while back. My numbers were OK but I didn't care enough about my job to really succeed.

Now I realize what I am doing matters to me a lot more, and I enjoy my job. That helps. And believe me customers can sense that. You only have one chance to make a first impression, and approaching a customer with a smile on your face and a professional manner, you have a step up on the other guy who does this just to make a buck. I assume most guys here like what they do showing the customer you do, shows you care about your work, and often makes a big difference.
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Old 09-04-2008, 09:57 PM   #6
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When meetings go well, I love 'em. When you just can't connect, I hate them. AND, IMO, there is a lot of weight put into "connecting" with the customer.

My F-I-L (god rest), once hired a painter because he, "liked the cut of his jib". I saw what was happening. And sure enough six months later when defects started showing up, John was cussing the painter up and down.

Last fall I got three estimates for doing extensive pool renovations. I took the guy who made a follow up call. Although I did not "connect" with his as well as another, I thought he was more "professional". I wish I had chosen my second choice.

I can not "sell" like a used car salesman. If anything I am not aggressive enough. I should read how to better present myself without false representation



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Old 09-04-2008, 10:35 PM   #7
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Honestly, I think it would me more work to be dishonest. It is just easier to tell the truth and. Plus I like shooting the $h!t with prospective clients. Plus it builds trust. But I am glad to know that there are plenty of bad selling contractors out there. Makes me feel good
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