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People buy from people they like. Sales is an art. Although there are tactics like an alternative close you mentioned, some of those tactics work better on small ticket items than when your asking someone to spend $5-10K or more. I try to create a rapport with the person so they feel extremely comfortable dealing not only with me but with what we are going to do and I want them to look forward to it. If you perform well once you have the job, they will be customers for life, but it doesn't happen overnight. I lot of my quotes don't commit for a month or longer. The job we just finished was a $12,000 cabinet job. I was the highest price by $3000. He didn't commit to me for 3 months, but was the most comfortable with me and my process, so I got the job, but I didn't hear from him for 3 months. We just finished it and he said he couldn't have been happier with the result and made the right choice. Maybe 5-10% want to commit on the spot, and some call me after years. You need a pipeline working and it just takes time. I say keep plugging away. The more quotes you have in your pipeline, you will eventually reap the results of your hard work. My personal experience is that craigslist is not a great source for leads. Lots of tire kickers, so you just spin your wheels unless you are offering the cheapest price. Knocking on doors works too, but has a lower success ratio as well. The upside is they are free or very cheap. When you are looking for the customer, you have to talk to way more people. When they are looking for you, your odds are much better. For me, direct mail has always turned out decent results because the customer is coming to you, but you have to spend much more money. If you have the money, and can really get some better leads coming your way though. And of course you need a web presence and a google listing so people can find you once your reputation starts to grow. Unfortunately, it just takes time and you need to be patient.
 

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In the early 1980s a friend of mine got into the painting business. He was desperate for work. He asked everyone he knew for help. I knew the owner of a delicatessen. I told him that a friend of mine was a painter and was looking for work. The deli owner told me, "I'd love to get this place painted, but I can't afford to close up to do it. Can your friend work at night?"

My friend showed up each evening at closing time and left a clean, ready-for-business deli each morning. I think it took a couple of days. He ended up doing half the stores on the block at a premium price because he was working at night.

Eventually he got busy enough that he pretty much gave up that work. But when he needed the work, that was a niche that he filled.

Just walk up and down the block and hand out your business cards. Get one job and the rest will follow.

Note: This kind of work is not good for family life. (But neither is being broke.)

Note: This was in Syracuse, New York. But I assume the same issues exist in other cities.
 

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That is even more of a factor when you are working inside their homes. Their being comfortable and feeling they can trust you is a huge factor - feelings that may have nothing to do with your business practices.
This is spot on. Speaking for myself as a consumer, any hint of pressure sales or other aggressive behavior... I'm out.

While the "illusion of scarcity" can be very effective with unsophisticated individuals, it is less effective with other populations. The second anyone starts to pull that, I tell them "let me stop you right there. My father was a salesman, and he taught me that when a decision needs to be made today, it's the easiest decision in the world. The answer is 'no'."

I would never commit to someone who asked me to accept the estimate right on the spot. Need to check references, etc, I'm also not a fan of the handwritten estimate. Get something professional on letterhead, with detailed descriptions of the prep work you plan to do that sets you apart from the competition.

Once you get an established customer base, referrals should keep the business coming in. If you are good.
 

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In the early 1980s a friend of mine got into the painting business. He was desperate for work. He asked everyone he knew for help. I knew the owner of a delicatessen. I told him that a friend of mine was a painter and was looking for work. The deli owner told me, "I'd love to get this place painted, but I can't afford to close up to do it. Can your friend work at night?"

My friend showed up each evening at closing time and left a clean, ready-for-business deli each morning. I think it took a couple of days. He ended up doing half the stores on the block at a premium price because he was working at night.

Eventually he got busy enough that he pretty much gave up that work. But when he needed the work, that was a niche that he filled.

Just walk up and down the block and hand out your business cards. Get one job and the rest will follow.

Note: This kind of work is not good for family life. (But neither is being broke.)

Note: This was in Syracuse, New York. But I assume the same issues exist in other cities.
This brings back nightmares.

We did a bunch of work a few years ago for a very large bar chain. We were not allowed to start work before 2AM on weekdays and 4AM on weekends, and there was a hard-deck rule of ladders down by 0930 AM. Fortunately, my ops manager was with me at the meeting and pointed out that unpacking and clean-up would be at least an hour total, perhaps more. Made no sense to work on the weekends, as it would be a sub six-hour day. Not worth it with the hour of travel each day.

We worked four days a week, as Mondays were banned due to deliveries. Add in the fact that this was during the month of February, and it was a nightmare.

I had numerous people quit via no-show despite the fact that I was paying a big (and agreed upon) premium. I had to do a lot of stuff myself that I was less than experienced with.

I stood there on a rooftop at 0345 AM running a rotary hammer through the wall of a filled block building on a 15 degree day and thought WTF am I doing.

I actually loved working midnights as a cop. But 0230 starts? Never again.
 

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I stood there on a rooftop at 0345 AM running a rotary hammer through the wall of a filled block building on a 15 degree day and thought WTF am I doing.
:D That's awesome.... the amount of times I've said (or my guys have said to me) this to myself really makes me wonder about my decision making sometimes.... and it continues.
 

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I live by the philosophy that it all sucks and is painful. That way I can be content in the simple things. Like having a warm jacket on while drilling through a block wall on a minus 15 deg. F day.
 

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I live by the philosophy that it all sucks and is painful. That way I can be content in the simple things. Like having a warm jacket on while drilling through a block wall on a minus 15 deg. F day.
Happiness comes in small packages, like a good Americano and a fresh baked scone.(y)
 

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New to the Paint Talk. Recently decided to go into business for my self.

Background, I’m a journeyman painter, commercial, residential. Approaching 30 years old I’m vary fast and produce quality quickly. Cut straight lines prefer to roll with an 18” but I’m faster with a sprayer. Spray anything I can.

Im having trouble landing jobs, I’ve posted on Craigslist, Facebook. Cold called property management companies. I’ve gone knocking on doors, basically pitching that I started a paint company and im offering free estimates and affordable prices. Most of my leads are from knocking on doors.
I’ve done 6 estimates, sold 0. One full exterior is ready but wants to get new windows first. 2 tentative but couldn’t commit, one because of price, one for unknown time frame. The rest threw the cracks. I’m a very good painter I bought a pump and van have all my grip I’m ready to work and I have a mind for business but seems like I spend all my time giving estimates and haven’t made sh**. Looking for advice. I don’t wanna pressure people. They all say my prices seem fair. I need to make SOME SORT OF MONEY, at least enough to pay the bills.

Any advice from experience in my position I’m grateful.
Forewarning... I'm not a painter. Well, a DIY one, but nevertheless not professional. That said, I'm in an MBA program, and have been both a sales person and a sales leader at Fortune 100 companies for the last 20 years. I also have a real estate investment portfolio and am active within that crowd.

That said, here's what I can offer up: Most home owners need to be educated as to the WHEN and the WHY now. So I agree with the other comments on not giving your estimate immediately. I'd provide it in a timely manner (within 24 hours), and I'd instead spend more time asking the homeowner questions as to how familiar they are with painting projects, maybe jokingly comment about how everyone's had a funny DIY experience, and info gather as to where you can educate them. Education = putting them at ease about the decision they're about to make and positions you as someone who cares enough to take the time to ensure they have all of the information. Bring current trends and innovations to their attention. Make sure you can bring an example to the table from previous jobs. During conversation, try to find compelling events... is their daughter's birthday coming up? Grad party? Mother in law moving in? etc. Along those lines... Be the first to bring up the time frame for the job. Asking, "Did you want this done by your daughters birthday?" I'd also figure out a strong "why me" statement. What makes you different? Tell that story. Acknowledge that they can choose any painter, but HERE's why they should pick you, specifically. Experience is great, but they can find that. So what else do you bring to the table? Be able to tell your differentiated story.

Additionally, contractors/pros in my area are slammed with work. Search Facebook and Nextdoor for 'painter needed' and reach out to each PAINTER that was referred. One of them has to have more jobs than he can handle. Ask him if he had anyone turn him down because they didn't want to wait until he was free. Ask him what it would take to get him to refer you directly for those jobs. Might be worth kicking him 5% as a referral fee. Also, for anyone that's turned you down because of cost, negotiate lowering your estimate in exchange for a positive review (assuming quality is up to snuff). Not ideal, but to the homeowners I know, referrals/references are gold. And if you have some teed up, print those on a post card and hand them out (find my reviews on ABC.com or whatever). If you don't have a facebook for your business, with reviews, make one. Have your friends comment/leave reviews + others you've already done work for. Last but not least... guarantee your work. Minimize the risk in their heads with knowing they have that guarantee. Hope some of this at least helped!
 

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And Holland, when I ask for the businesss, after looking at my pictures telling them about my experience and presenting them with the quote, I ask for the sale like this (there’s usually a pause when they look at the quote)

like I said I’m new in business, I’m offering these jobs affordable prices because I’m looking to make a name for myself and get referrals ,I do charge a 10% deposit, are you comfortable scheduling with me today or do you need some time to think about it”

most say they need some time I follow up in 6 days

I don’t wannna pressure people, but I am not scared to ask for there businesss after all I’m in business to do business. I’ve put a lot of money up in taxes and equipment to be scared to ask for business.
Try asking what they care about most before asking for the business... Get to the end, they've seen the pictures, heard your WHY ME... then ask them what they care about most... getting this done in a certain time frame, cost, or ensuring they're making the right choice going with you? Obviously they will care about all of these, but most people will elaborate or give you more info you can then use to figure out where they should fit in your follow ups. Also, ask if they feel your quote is fair. And earlier in the process, make sure you ask how many other pros/companies they've talked to about this already, otherwise they won't know if the quote is fair, and if you could find a way to show them that it is, you're solid. Alternatively ask how many they'd ideally like to see. Ask if they want help identifying other good pros. Then reach out to those same painter referrals from Facebook/Nextdoor, and build some good rapport by sending them over to do a quote.

I had a mudder once ask me how many quotes I needed to see and when I told him at least 3, he pulled up Facebook, messaged two other mudders and arranged a time with them to quote my job. I ended up going with the first guy, but even if I didn't, I'd have still given him a good review for being a stand up dude. Only way I wouldn't have gone with him was if pricing was way out of left field, or the timing didn't work for when I needed the job done.
 

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Observation/Opinion/Question:

Homeowners often place more value on being liked by their contractor rather than the value they place on the deliverable itself. If that were the case, would having a "hard to get" attitude provoke a homeowner into hiring a "disinterested" contractor rather than hire a phony who was being overly accommodating in order to reach the same ends?

And what would merit a hard to get attitude?
 

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Observation/Opinion/Question:

Homeowners often place more value on being liked by their contractor rather than the value they place on the deliverable itself. If that were the case, would having a "hard to get" attitude provoke a homeowner into hiring a "disinterested" contractor rather than hire a phony who was being overly accommodating in order to reach the same ends?

And what would merit a hard to get attitude?
I've serviced a lot of customers and have become good friends with about 5, but if I had to guess if they were forced to choose between me liking them or me providing great work, I'm pretty sure it'd be the latter, despite my charm and whit.

I've never tried playing hard to get with a customer, (not on purpose anyways), so I can't really speak on that, but I do know that when I try to hire someone to perform a service who seems especially hard to get, (or get ahold of), I'd just as soon they stay hard to get and get the eff outta the way so I can hire someone else. And if I already hired them and they pulled that crap, they might find me a little hard to get when it comes time to be paid.
 
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