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My feeling is this... Customers get the paralysis by analysis syndrome. They call for the estimate. They need the job done. You are the best company for the job. I know all the get-a-gazillion-estimates crap out there is what drives people's stalls but what it is they are searching for? If its the lowest price, that's probably not many of you here. Its definitely not me.

If a painting company can back up what they are promising with pictures, testimonials, a problem solving presentation, experience and a positive differentiating attitude towards their customers, why not close the sale on the spot? It does not seem efficient to meet a customer, run home, prepare a ton of estimates, mail them, then have to follow up only to get the same closing ratio.
I think most of these customers set out guidelines prior to shopping, just as you would in purchasing a car or anything else that is a pretty penny. regardless if they think you are the best painter or not, they follow their rules prior to making the big decision. Gather all quotes, look em over. check references and so on. Its not as easy as well we need it done, fook it, your hired. I imagine this happens but not that often on big purchases.

Pat
 

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Do you use estimating software?
I have demo'd a few, if I did more repaint proposals, I would certainly use ELMS.

Have a defined presentation?
Kinda sort of!:) I have a certain routine I try to follow, and my "bag of tricks".
It depends on the feedback from the HO. Some want a lot of info, some not so much. Remember the customer stories we talked about?

Do you always price present on the spot?
Depends, if I don't have to research a price/product, and it is a basic repaint that I can figure on the spot. I will put the proposal in the folder, hand it to the customer and say something like, "We'd love to work with you on this project, please let us know if you have any questions and may I call you on Thursday to follow up? Sometimes they open it there and want to make a decision, sometimes not.

If it is from plans, I get the plans, do the proposal, meet and do the same thing.
 

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I'm more curious than proposing anything to anyone at this point. Let me give you a quick background as to why I am asking. Without getting into detail I have had the opportunity to work with a remodeling company that uses one call closes. This company started 4 years ago and did $2.3 million is business last year.

Their system is fantastic. The call goes like this:

1. Meet and greet.
2. Use a survey to ask pertinent questions. The customers really open up during this phase and give you all of the information you need to help them get their vision to paper.
3. Measure and rough drawing.
4. Present feature/benefits via powerpoint. Along the way the salesperson is tying down the customer with leading questions:
"While remodeling is not inexpensive, do you folks agree that it can be a great investment?"
5. Product demonstration so the customer can visualize the benefits being presented to them.
6. Customer gets an intermission while the presenter plugs the numbers into a spread sheet.
7. The price is presented and the customer is then closed. Of course that is a simplification of reality (ie you have to sell and overcome stalls)

I firmly believe this can be adapted to any type of trade/service business. Being who I am, my wheels are spinning.
What does the survey look like? Does it ask them to rate the importance of certain aspects of the project?
 

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I understand how you feel, Dean. Most people feel the same way. What causes you to have buyer's remorse?

Let me ask you this from a different angle. Would your customers have any reasons to have buyer's remorse or do you believe you are the best company for the job?
For me, I want to research my options before committing and a salesman from one company is not going to be able to provide that. If I buy on the spot, I feel like I have not done my due diligence before making a decision and therefore regretting the decision or at least not being certain I made the best decision.

As far as me being the best, I happen to believe when it comes to painting, there is no "best". There are too many painters out there and many of them do great work. Now, for some niches, maybe there are only a few competitors and it is possible to be "the best." Painting is far too saturated for that. Not to mention, the difficultly at defining "best." For one customer, we may be the best, but another job with similar scope may not consider us the best.
 

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I guess I am used to dealing with GC's and PM's and we submit a proposal and wait for the award. In residential estimates I give my presentation and rely on my professionalism, knowledge, reputation and good looks to close a sale but a never ask for it on the spot. I have always thought that if you are asking for a sale it appears to look desperate. I prefer to let the HO make the decision on their own and hopefully I have stood out on my own in total presentation.

I do realize that my closing rates would be much higher if I applied a little "pressure" but I am not sure that is the direction I would want to go. I think there is a fine line between being a good salesman and coming off as sleezy.

I like the steps Ken showed from the company he has been working for but I am just not sure if we, as painting contractors, could show the same in property value increase on a power point presentation as a home remodeling company.
 

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I do realize that my closing rates would be much higher if I applied a little "pressure" but I am not sure that is the direction I would want to go. I think there is a fine line between being a good salesman and coming off as sleezy.

I like the steps Ken showed from the company he has been working for but I am just not sure if we, as painting contractors, could show the same in property value increase on a power point presentation as a home remodeling company.
Sure, but if they called you don't you feel like their minds are 'mostly' made up already? At that point they just need a little nudge.

For me though its FINESSE. You have to read them, and read them well, on the spot. Then I decide if I try to close now or mail something later.
 

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Sure, but if they called you don't you feel like their minds are 'mostly' made up already? At that point they just need a little nudge.

For me though its FINESSE. You have to read them, and read them well, on the spot. Then I decide if I try to close now or mail something later.

In reading them I try to accomodate their needs and show that my company would be the best fit to satisfy their needs.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
I think most of these customers set out guidelines prior to shopping, just as you would in purchasing a car or anything else that is a pretty penny. regardless if they think you are the best painter or not, they follow their rules prior to making the big decision. Gather all quotes, look em over. check references and so on. Its not as easy as well we need it done, fook it, your hired. I imagine this happens but not that often on big purchases.

Pat
I agree that can be the case. But I ask again... aren't you the best person for the job, Pat? I'm asking you, not the homeowner or about the H.O's preconceived notions. Of course you are. If you didn't believe you were, you would not be in business. Sales is the art of gentle persuasion. All of us have to convince people that it is OUR product that they want to purchase.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
What does the survey look like? Does it ask them to rate the importance of certain aspects of the project?
How did you hear about us?
How old is your home?
How long have you lived here?
How long have you thought about painting?
What concerns have prevented you from moving forward?
Have you ever hired a painter?

You get the general idea. Its a good ice breaking session and takes about 5 five minutes. There are more questions you can ask, Chris, but if you let the customer talk and acknowledge their concerns, they loosen up dramatically.
'
 

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Discussion Starter #32
I guess I am used to dealing with GC's and PM's and we submit a proposal and wait for the award. In residential estimates I give my presentation and rely on my professionalism, knowledge, reputation and good looks to close a sale but a never ask for it on the spot. I have always thought that if you are asking for a sale it appears to look desperate. I prefer to let the HO make the decision on their own and hopefully I have stood out on my own in total presentation.
Chris, I have known you long enough to mention that your whole statement is the ego side, not the business side of you. People and personalities rely on chance. Businesses rely on effort and bold moves.

"I'll dress nice and wear some great cologne then go sit in a booth at the back of the nightclub" is probably not the best way to guarantee that evening's success. This is the same in principle as going 75% of the way in a sale and then not asking for the business. It is usually little more than fear of rejection that causes one to not ask for the sale.

I do realize that my closing rates would be much higher if I applied a little "pressure" but I am not sure that is the direction I would want to go. I think there is a fine line between being a good salesman and coming off as sleezy.
There is also a fine line of having top spend another ten, twenty or thirty thousand in advertising to generate leads to compensate for lower closing rates. Chris, you have to trust me on this, people expect you to ask for the business. They don't get put off. You've earned the right to do it. The difference between sleazy and being good is in the personality of the salesman. If you can form a bond, present benefits and meet a budget, you have earned the business. Help the homeowner buy. They, and all of us, often need a nudge to make a commitment. If we didn't, there would be no salespeople in a car dealership. We need them to take us through the steps.

I like the steps Ken showed from the company he has been working for but I am just not sure if we, as painting contractors, could show the same in property value increase on a power point presentation as a home remodeling company.
Of course you can. I am working with three companies. Last week I sold two $25,000+ basements, a $9400 bathroom facelift and a $70,000 sunroom addition. (all on one close) None of those were necessities. I present on home value increase but when people really get interested is in talking about the intangibles. Painting will brighten your home, your mood, increase your likelihood of selling, etc. Plenty of benefits in it.
 

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I'm more curious than proposing anything to anyone at this point. Let me give you a quick background as to why I am asking. Without getting into detail I have had the opportunity to work with a remodeling company that uses one call closes. This company started 4 years ago and did $2.3 million is business last year.

Their system is fantastic. The call goes like this:

1. Meet and greet.
2. Use a survey to ask pertinent questions. The customers really open up during this phase and give you all of the information you need to help them get their vision to paper.
3. Measure and rough drawing.
4. Present feature/benefits via powerpoint. Along the way the salesperson is tying down the customer with leading questions:
"While remodeling is not inexpensive, do you folks agree that it can be a great investment?"
5. Product demonstration so the customer can visualize the benefits being presented to them.
6. Customer gets an intermission while the presenter plugs the numbers into a spread sheet.
7. The price is presented and the customer is then closed. Of course that is a simplification of reality (ie you have to sell and overcome stalls)

I firmly believe this can be adapted to any type of trade/service business. Being who I am, my wheels are spinning.
I think it’s a great idea! I hate waiting for a home owner to call me back as they receive three other bids from competitors.

I did two bids One this past Friday and one on Saturday, They were both fairly small jobs but I closed both of them right on the spot!!!

It's all about confidence I walked in the place with the mentality that I already had the jobs. I presented my sales package which I bring on every bid, Including quality checklist, references and testimonials, my company values statement, plus a photo album of some past projects, Proof of insurance and a copy of my HIC license. This right here already blows away my competition. Plus not to mention I'm young, tall, attractive and clean cut. I wear my company hoddie or t, plus whites that are ironed and clean. I measure the job. I provide my prospective clients with accurate product information and what I will do on the job, plus I bring a BM fan deck with me. I ask them questions about them and try to relate to them on a personal level. This is easy for me I'm a people’s person and am very polit.

The only thing is I don’t have anything yet to type the proposal on the spot, so I give them the price and tell them I will email them a copy of the proposal. I try to collect a fifty dollar deposit to lock in the date so they don’t cancel the last minute. And the job is mine.
 

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I really can't understand why someone would go through the qualifying, appointment, and sales processes without asking for the sale. Unless the customer sat there blindfolded and dropped their finger on your name in the yellow pages, there's probably a pretty good reason why they called you in the first place.

Everything that Ken has listed should be a part of anyone's sales presentation. The fallacy is that some think that bidding is nothing more than a numbers game, ie; the more bids you do the more likely a customer will choose you. I suppose that there is some merit to doing it this way, but not asking for the sale just left the customer with the option of shopping some more. You do 10 bids and close on 3 - asking for the sale can up your closing ratio substantially.
 

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I'm more curious than proposing anything to anyone at this point. Let me give you a quick background as to why I am asking. Without getting into detail I have had the opportunity to work with a remodeling company that uses one call closes. This company started 4 years ago and did $2.3 million is business last year.

Their system is fantastic. The call goes like this:

1. Meet and greet.
2. Use a survey to ask pertinent questions. The customers really open up during this phase and give you all of the information you need to help them get their vision to paper.
3. Measure and rough drawing.
4. Present feature/benefits via powerpoint. Along the way the salesperson is tying down the customer with leading questions:
"While remodeling is not inexpensive, do you folks agree that it can be a great investment?"
5. Product demonstration so the customer can visualize the benefits being presented to them.
6. Customer gets an intermission while the presenter plugs the numbers into a spread sheet.
7. The price is presented and the customer is then closed. Of course that is a simplification of reality (ie you have to sell and overcome stalls)

I firmly believe this can be adapted to any type of trade/service business. Being who I am, my wheels are spinning.
I would so hire you to do all my sales/bids if you lived close by. I am a pretty decent salesman but I really don't like doing it.

I was always fascinated by the psychology of selling however, and loved to learn new techniques. The biggest thing was being able to read people, and figure out what they want even though they may not say it.

I guess with high end remodeling that is over $20k is a hard fast sell, I can't even get together most of the information in the first visit I need anyway. So I don't even try to price jobs like that.

I give them a couple of price ranges, and gauge their reaction to see if they are serious.
 

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Discussion Starter #37
Every customer has an aversion to buying things they need. People will gladly plop down $35K for a car, $2000 for a big screen or blow $3K on a week's vacation. Those aren't needs, those are wants. A good salesperson will help turn the customer's needs into desires. I am not going to sell anyone a $30,000 mechanical drawing. What I can sell is a warm, dry basement that is a haven for relaxing or a sound proof place to put the kids where they can play Wii Dance with their friends without monopolizing the TV or sound like they are coming through the floor.

What are the benefits of a paint job?

"We will prep your walls properly and use the best paint".

--- or ---

Because we use high quality paints along with the very important proper prep, you can clean the scuffs from your walls easily and without damaging the paint. This means you will be able to go longer between paint jobs and the walls can be kept looking fresh and clean... ::smile:: even with two sons that forget where the stair railing is.

(during your survey, you found out the homeowner's pet peeve was the long scuff line running up the steps)
 

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Do you have some examples of surveys? That is something that I should being to compile, and use rather than depending on me asking verbal questions. People are probably more honest and forthright writing their answers.
 

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Discussion Starter #39
str8, you have to ask the questions. People will write short answers, but they will talk themselves into the gallows if you let them. I posted some sample questions above in another reply.
 

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We always try to do a one call close. ABC.... Always Be Closing. We have a salesman we call the Velvet Hammer, no high pressure, nice and sweet, bit will always hammer the sale home.
 
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