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post #1 of Old 08-27-2006, 11:57 PM Thread Starter
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Over qualified?

I did two different estimates last week from my new mailing list. Both of them were in this very rich subdivision, half million dollar homes and up. Both estimates I set up a time to be there and both times the homeowners weren't there to meet me. Just some zit faced kid answered the door and said they'd be back later. I find this very rude when you have a time set to meet someone. So the first one I did a test spot on a deck strip, took my time and waited. The wife finally arrived so I started talking to her and in the middle of our converstation someone she knew pulls up, gets out and literally steps in between us and starts talking to her like I wasn't even there. She then ignored me for the next few minutes. I let it go and just waited my turn. I ended up turning down the job (unstrippable deck). She said she understood I couldn't get the old stain off, but to just work her up a price to wash it and stain it anyway, and she said it like I was some slave or something. I still turned it down because I didn't want my company name tagged on it, but I wanted to tell her where to stick it!

The next day on another estimate, same thing homeowners stepped out upon my arrival so I had no way of selling my services. It was for a deck strip and seal, I got HO email from the kid who answered the door. I figured maybe I could type up something about the washing process and my quality of work, some before/after pics and the price and email it. Well the email address didn't work and I've called twice this weekend and no return phone call.

I was targeting middle to upper class subdivisions and having an okay return on my advertising investments but at least the people are polite enough to keep their schedule time with me. I thought I would purchase this mailing list with very specific criteria like income, home value, age.....basically very well off folks who hire contractors like its going out of style.

I know my new mailing list is nothing but these type of people and I just don't think I can work for jerks like this that think they are so much better than me. It's almost like they have TOO much money and are just too snobby. Does this make sense?

Barry Maddox
Midwest Pro Wash

Last edited by Barry M; 08-28-2006 at 12:01 AM.
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post #2 of Old 08-28-2006, 09:05 AM
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sounds like --------'new money'.....more precisely (mortgaged millionaire's) .... in their Lil McMansions

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post #3 of Old 08-28-2006, 09:06 AM
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I always tried to stay away from communities with large homes. That may sound odd but the homeowners always seemed to treat you like crap and have no respect for your time AND/OR they were living way above their means and they had no money to spend and wanted very low prices.

There were two communities right next to each other in Orlando and I always got called for estimates because we had a good name but I very rarely won or accepted a bid there. They were Islesworth and Keene's Pointe. Islesworth is where you get treated like crap and Keene's Pointe is where they are in over their head and can't afford anything.

Don, have you seen this too or was it just me?

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post #4 of Old 08-28-2006, 12:24 PM
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I haven't really encountered many of these types of customers. There've been a few, but it's rarely an issue. I live on the east side (near UCF) and rarely travel over to Tiger's and Shaq's neighborhoods in the Isleworth and Bay Hill areas. The two properties we just finished in Sarasota were through a GC friend, as previously stated, and the owners of the property were never around.

I do very little advertising and most of our jobs come from networking and/or referrals. Whether it's a GC, realtor, pool service or even a previous residential customer, it seems that the good reference generally helps to keep the new customer more or less at ease.

My charming, no nonsense, eye for an eye approach probably helps too!

I've only 'fired' one customer in 6 years, but if they cross the line of respect, they're done.

As Aerosmith says, "Eat the rich!"

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post #5 of Old 08-28-2006, 12:46 PM
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Barry,

you did what you could to present yourself as a professional and I have to say that I would of done the same thing and walked from the job, if the quality would not be up to par with my reputation. (ie- the unremovable stain)

I find that the world as a whole seems to be getting ruder and ruder by the day. To this I say - lead by example and thank goodness for groups such as this for being able to blow off some steam
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post #6 of Old 08-28-2006, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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Well I'm going to do another estimate in the same subdivision this evening for a house wash, we'll see how it goes. They seemed nice on the phone lets see if they are at least home when I get there.

Barry Maddox
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post #7 of Old 08-28-2006, 07:19 PM
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Good luck and knock em dead with your profesionalism.

Is you vehicle labeled with your company name and number? That too is great advertising for the neighbors to see.
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post #8 of Old 08-28-2006, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
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Yep the truck is lettered for all to see. I just got back and didn't get the job yet, they were stuck on price shopping and are getting a few more estimates. I did my best to educate them and pour on the professionalism

I'm just glad they were polite enough to be there at the time we agreed to meet. I've just been getting frustrated lately running around looking at jobs and giving free estimates that don't amount to anything. I know my prices are right and that I provide a quality service. I'm still trying to polish my marketing and selling skills.

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post #9 of Old 08-28-2006, 09:41 PM
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Hang in there Barry, you are rockin' it. Listen to Phil Rhea's alternate closes seminar again if you haven't already listened to it 10 times.

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post #10 of Old 08-29-2006, 07:24 AM Thread Starter
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Good idea Ken, it has been over a month since I've listened to any of them. Back to the drawing board.

Barry Maddox
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post #11 of Old 09-09-2006, 03:26 PM
 
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Some Of These Rich People Were Just Born.
I Dont Know About You But I Had To Work For Everything I Have. I Made Lots Of Mistakes, With My Credit Or I Would Be Able To Live In Some Of These Rich Hoods With The A-holes You Speak Of. People Think P-washers Are Low On The Pole I Do Not Understand This. Someone Needs To Tell Mrs Stuck-up That Her Husband Lawyer Is Lower Than Me On The Food Chain. He Went To Twelve Years Of School To Make 200..00 Per Hour. And He Has About 100,000 In Student Loans. I Make 150.00 Per Hour On Average, But In The End If I Walk Into The Benz Dealership Mr Lawyer Walks Out With The Car
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post #12 of Old 09-09-2006, 04:53 PM
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PressureP'd, it is very hard to comprehend your train of thought with every word capitalized like that. Maybe its just my feeble brain but its hard to stay focused.

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post #13 of Old 09-10-2006, 05:01 PM
 
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Professionalism Perceived, Professionalism Acheived

Back in the 90's there was a movie called the Substitute. In one scene the bad guy principal takes down a board and breaks it with his hand and tells the good guy (at this point they are still feeling each other out),"Power Perceived, Power Acheived." Later on the good guy uses the same type tactics in the classroom with some unruly students and after being chastised comes back with the same line.

How does this fit the situation? Well from some of the remarks and come backs, first off grow up. We all have nasty customers who take advantage of us at times. As for being stood up, it sounds like the kid was there and you could do your estimate. Were you hoping for face to face selling time. Some people purposefully aren't there for estimates for precisely that reason. Either they don't like the face to face part or are really shopping around.

You have to be prepared for just this sort of thing. These guys as some of you put are living beyond their means. Why is that? Pride? Greed? They didn't just buy the house so they could be poor people living in a rich neighborhood. They did it for a reason.

IMAGE PERCEPTION! Why are they driving a car they can't afford? IMAGE PERCEPTION! You must be prepared for that. Do your estimate and deliver it in a package they cannot refuse.

Put together an estimate package that gives them all the reason to choose you. Just like they chose the house, neighborhood and car they drive. Appeal to the need for IMAGE here and you will never be turned away for the job. Trying to sell them after you wrote up an estimate may be how you are used to working but change the pace and make them come to you by giving them the image to chase.

It works! You will get the call back because of the image you can put in their mind just like the image they got from looking at the Mercedes brochure, or the builders brochure of the neighborhood.

Make it work for you.

Snapper
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post #14 of Old 09-12-2006, 07:35 AM
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Snapper I agree with you to an extent. I think the missing link of what you described is closing the sale and that cannot be done with just a brochure. You describe fancy marketing and obviously Barry's marketing was effective, he got the call. But good marketing does not equate to closing a sale.

People are used to high end graphics, "out of the box" reticular activation, and well thought out campaigns. These things are effective and modernized calls to action can also be effective at generating interest. I also market on image and perception but when it comes down to it, the public is suspect of contractors in general. That doubt may be compounded by too "gimmicky" a campaign. The missing link from getting people to call to getting them sign the contract is sales. Sales involves face to face interaction.

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post #15 of Old 09-12-2006, 11:16 AM
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Snapper, so your saying play into their weaknesses. Nice

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Originally Posted by PressurePros View Post
People are used to high end graphics, "out of the box" reticular activation, and well thought out campaigns.
One thing I have noticed is that the internet and sites like this one and contractortalk.com are enabling more and more contractors to pull off these well thought out campaigns. I remember just two years ago if you had a professional logo done you really stood out but now everyone has got them. Just a side note.
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The missing link from getting people to call to getting them sign the contract is sales. Sales involves face to face interaction.
I agree with what your saying however I also can see it from the other side. Even though I've done sales myself I do not enjoy being on the customer end of a sales. In my mind a product or service should speak for itself and should not need to be "sold" to me. Of course we know that it increases our chances of a sale but in my mind an effective estimate/bid packet should be able to give all the info needed.

Let's take a step back. If everyone was giving an estimate to the customer in written format without presenting it in person would you still be upset? If so maybe your bid packet needs to be updated to truly present what you have to offer in an easy to understand format.

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post #16 of Old 09-12-2006, 03:53 PM Thread Starter
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Put together an estimate package that gives them all the reason to choose you. Just like they chose the house, neighborhood and car they drive. Appeal to the need for IMAGE here and you will never be turned away for the job. Trying to sell them after you wrote up an estimate may be how you are used to working but change the pace and make them come to you by giving them the image to chase.

Snapper
I respect your opinion but I disagree with it. Let me ask you this, do you think they bought that house or car because the realtor or car salesmen left them a fancy package? No, they were sold face to face. I'm not saying that leaving a professional looking estimate package doesn't work in our industry. But what I've found is that if I can't sell the person face to face then all they have to go on is price, and I don't land many jobs being the lowest bidder. All I'm saying is more times than not, just leaving an estimate is not enough no matter how fancy it is. So when I set up an estimate with someone and they aren't there at that time, it just upsets me because most of the time I won't hear back from them. I guarantee my estimate package is the best one too, but like I said it doesn't matter, they aren't going to pay a couple hundred dollars more for a fancy package, they'll just go with the lowest bidder because I didn't get a chance to sell myself.

Also IMO people don't buy IMAGE. What people buy is benefits, believable claims, guarantees, reputation, promises, credibilty, you, value, freedom from risk, honesty, comfort, consistency, and the most important, and my favorite they buy SOLUTIONS to their problems. How can I leave that in a pretty package? Just my .02 cents.

Barry Maddox
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Last edited by Barry M; 09-13-2006 at 10:17 PM.
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post #17 of Old 09-13-2006, 07:20 PM
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Even though I've done sales myself I do not enjoy being on the customer end of a sales. In my mind a product or service should speak for itself and should not need to be "sold" to me. Of course we know that it increases our chances of a sale but in my mind an effective estimate/bid packet should be able to give all the info needed.
These are the words spoken by someone that does not like sales. Unfortunately, a hundred years of statistics prove this is wrong. Snapper speaks the words of marketer (probably a damn good one) but I am coming from the angle of 20 years of business ownership, professional salesmanship and corporate sales trainer ( I trained probably well over 1000 guys how to perform, use FAB statements, overcome objections etc.) People want to be sold. That is why they will shop thre different stores until they met someone that will close them and make the sale. I am not talking about high pressure door-to-door salesmanship. These people called me! They want teh work done! They just ned someone to help them pull the trigger.

I can also attest from my own close ratio..

My estimates are given as personalized packets. The cover page has pictures of the customer''s house, his name, my logo.. the presentation is fast paced followed by a personal letter that highlights our experience and describes the way we are better than the competition. This is followed by a detailed proposal and finally the last page will have three for four relevant before and after pictures.

My closing ration on leaving these? Maybe 25% if I call a couple times to follow up.

If I take that proposal and sell them ME along wih that packet?.. I can close 60% every day of the week.

The "leave a proposal in the door" or mailing it to the customer may work for a guy selling a mediocre service based upon price. If you want a top 10% customer d-base that is loyal..

One has to overcome their fear of sales.

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Last edited by PressurePros; 09-13-2006 at 07:22 PM.
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post #18 of Old 09-13-2006, 07:23 PM
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I respect your opinion but I disagree with it. Let me ask you this, do you think they bought that house or car because the realtor or car salesmen left them a fancy package? No, they were sold face to face. I'm not saying that leaving a professional looking estimate package doesn't work in our industry. But what I've found is that if I can't sell the person face to face then all they have to go on is price, and I don't land many jobs being the lowest bidder. All I'm saying is more times than not, just leaving an estimate is not enough no matter how fancy it is. So when I set up an estimate with someone and they aren't there at that time, it just upsets me because most of the time I won't here back from them. I guarantee my estimate package is the best one too, but like I said it doesn't matter, they aren't going to pay a couple hundred dollars more for a fancy package, they'll just go with the lowest bidder because I didn't get a chance to sell myself.

Also IMO people don't buy IMAGE. What people buy is benefits, believable claims, guarantees, reputation, promises, credibilty, you, value, freedom from risk, honesty, comfort, consistency, and the most important, and my favorite they buy SOLUTIONS to their problems. How can I leave that in a pretty package? Just my .02 cents.
Amen!

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post #19 of Old 09-14-2006, 09:04 AM
 
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In a recnet book I read about marketing an entire chapter was devoted to "knowing thy customer"...before reading this book, I had no clue what type of customers I had, wanted or could 'fire'.

I learned that there are some people I truly do not want to work for...the book taught me how to tell before the relationsho was ruined.

some people I might keep..then some, I will kill to keep.

Long story short, I have learned how to work with and around these folks with accurate, yet friendly ways to move torward MY goals.

The phrase " the customer is always right"...is not true. The "proper" customer is always right.

My marketing includes this knolwedge...in every way. I had rtaher have a few great customers than tons of the wrong ones. Great customers end up working for me...
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post #20 of Old 09-14-2006, 12:51 PM
 
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Ken, I too come from a background of sales. In fact my sales started when I opened a High Tech Home Nursing Agency when I left the Military in 1986. I have started, grown and run and sold 12 businesses and am working on growing number 13. (less than 90 days in) That is how I make my living. I derive great pleasure from the start up and development of the system that will make a business work.

If I read the original post it was not about being able to sell the customer, because the customer was not there. Selling to the customer face to face is much easier than selling them in print. But given the options of three different quotes I take the image over the junk everytime. Face to face go get them there are a million different ways to get the order closed.

But when you don't have that customer in front of you like he described then your pereceived business is much more important. Everytime I start a new business, one of the first things I prepare is a presentation packet. Ken described one above. I have learned it is very easy and cheap to add articles, testimonials, CD interviews (very effective by the way) and photos.

You always leave your best work when you can but when you can't be face to face, leave your best face for them to see.

Yes people buy the benefits. Your marketing package will describe those benefits and how they make a difference. And in the end you will eventually get face to face to ink the deal. My voice is crying in the wilderness for those who I have not seen face to face yet.

Snapper
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