Thursday, April 23, 2015

How to Close More Deals – Part Three The Measure Call

Professional Selling

Professional selling is needs-analysis driven, and the questions you ask uncover the client’s needs.

Understanding client needs and providing solutions is what selling is all about. As I have said many times, people buy for emotional reasons, and they avoid buying from people they don’t trust. By asking detailed and specific questions from the onset, you acquire all the inside information you need to close a deal. You also get the client relaxed and comfortable with you because they perceive your questions as concern for their best interests.

The Measure Call

I like to refer to the emotional buying needs of the client as “triggers.” This is what will persuade them to buy from you when you present back to them their triggers. In essence, you flip their buying triggers.

The measure call presents the greatest opportunity to ask specifically designed questions to find these triggers. You conduct the measure call under the guise of a site inspection in order to ‘measure’ the quantity of work they want done.

You visit the site, you do take measurements, check dimensions, gather information, and collect additional information on what work the client wants done.

The client perceives your visit as just that, not as a sales call. You catch them off guard and, with the right questions, perfectly timed, they will reveal to you all the information you need to close the deal in the final selling process I call the Proposal Stage.

The two greatest points you need to understand about using the measure call is:

  • 1.     Ask pertinent, drill-down questions.

  • 2.       Listen intently.

First Impressions

People don’t make first impressions, they get anchored to them. It is important to remember that your first impression on your prospective client will weigh heavily on them and hiring you as their contractor.

Dress professionally to fit the meeting. You should have some form of identification, and don’t be afraid to present it to them. Now is the time to also hand them your business card. Your business card should be another selling tool, and not just a plain old ordinary business card. You can learn how to build a powerful business card that sells from my E Book: “The Contractor’s Magical Marketing Tool Belt!”

This also the time to leave some promotional materials, such as; Brochure, references, copy of state licenses (if any), and FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions). They can be handed over separately, or in some bound manner.

Small Talk

Building a high comfort level is a primary strategy of the measure call. It also helps you to uncover important information you’ll need to from the client in order to sell it back to them in the proposal stage.

Small talk, that is talk that is of the interest to the client and interwoven in the normal process of measuring for the job, breaks down any apprehensions in the client. It should ‘flow’ naturally and seem unscripted.

Here are some of those questions:

“What made you call us?”

 "If you had a wish list of what you would really like in this job, what would it be?”

“How long have you been considering this work?”

“What prompted you to do this work now?”

These are just a few of the questions. If you would like to learn more of them, I have them in my book, “How to Market & Sell Your Construction Services Like Magic!”

The measure call is an ideal time to clarify the needs and requirements of the client, as well as the restrictions, deadlines, desires, wants, expectations, perceptions and emotional buying triggers so you can formulate a proposal that addresses their needs.


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Again, you accomplish this with your questions to the client and by listening intently to their responses, digging deeper with additional drill down questions when necessary. Avoid talking about yourself. Focus on the client.

If you have executed a thorough measure call you are fully armed and ready to prepare an accurate proposal call that sells your services and keeps the client focused on the benefits of doing business with you, and away from the low price arena.

We’ll talk about that in the next blog. 

Until then …

Good hunting.

Friday, April 10, 2015

How to Close More Deals – Part Two

In the last blog I talked about the process of having a lead qualifying sheet and with that, lead qualifying question or questions. 

The idea behind this is quite simple. To eliminate prospects that will never buy from you or are not your best type customer. This one simple process or part of your lead generation system will save you time and money.

Today, I would like to elaborate on the art of asking questions.

Last week I focused on finding that question that qualifies your prospective client as a real hot prospect.

Since every contractor has a different marketplace or best type client, this ‘qualifying’ question may vary. However, here are some more examples.

“How much do you expect to spend?” This is a great question and sets up the financial perspective the client is coming from. It also gives you an idea of the realistic financial value of the project.

Another great financial question is:

“Will you be paying for the work with your own cash or with a bank loan?” This also sets up the financial status of paying for the work, who will pay, and how long it will take to get paid. No matter where the funds are coming from it is important to find out how much they have to work with. 

Remember, projects often do run over budgets with unforeseen conditions or changes. You need to make sure they have the availability of acquiring the additional monies to cover the changes.

“Are you the final decision-maker or is someone else a part of the final decision making process?”  Too many contractors eager to get a job, expend too much time and money jumping right into a sales pitch without properly qualifying a potential client. 

It’s vitally important to determine who makes the final approval and decision on the deal or project. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself having to start all over again, or out of any opportunity to close a deal.


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Now that you have qualified the client as serious, the next questions should help you drill down on why they want to do the work. To be successful with this part of the process, listen intently and don’t be afraid to ask drill-down or follow-up questions.

The opening question for this part might go something like this.

“Why do you want to do this work?” This questions reveals a powerful emotional buying trigger, the “WHY” 

Again, you might need to drill down a little farther. Remember, people buy for emotional reasons, not a logical one. They JUSTIFY their emotional buying with logic.

Another might be:

“What exactly is the problem you are having?” 

Or …

“What do you need and what do you don’t need?” Good question since it focuses them on exactly what they need and you don’t have to make assumptions. Everyone has their pain points and during this process, you should be trying to uncover them.

Speaking of pain points, here is another question to uncover what you need to avoid.

“Have you ever worked with a contractor in the past on work like this?” This reveals whether they have had experience before or not. If they have, you would come back with this drill-down questions.

“What did you like and dislike about that experience?” WOW! Dynamite questions. Now they will tell you the things you want to do and the things you want to avoid!

Another question might follow along these lines.

“What are your expectations?”  Another powerful question since it reveals exactly what they expect and allows you to deal with it in a realistic manner. Now is the time to elaborate on how you schedule the work, handle questions, change orders, budgets, allowances, and all those things that can go wrong on a project.

“When do you want to start the work?” This question will help you understand the prospects perspective of when they expect you to be working on their project. In some areas of the country, the permit process can take days if not weeks and this allows you to educate them on that process and details the steps you have to take before any work gets started. Believe me, this question will avoid a ton of misunderstanding in the future.

“When do you expect the work to be completed?” This question gives you two important items. One, when they think the work will be done, which may not be realistic, and two a chance to work the deal back to a matter of urgency which might just help you close it sooner.

Let me explain.

Let’s say that they feel the work should be done by a date three months away. You calculate that it could be done but not unless you get the deal now. In this scenario, you play the urgency back to them. Such as ...

 “Mr. & Mrs. Jones. I know you want the work completed by this date. Unfortunately, the only way I can make that happen is if I have a done deal with you today. Let me explain. The permit process will take three weeks. Ordering the materials with delivery will take six weeks. The work will take three weeks. As you can see, that is your three months! In order to meet your final completion date, I need your approval of my proposal so I can get started today.”

Asking questions, the right questions, is an art form. It takes practice. To start, I would suggest you write down as many questions and drill-down/follow-up questions you can imagine. Then categorize them to the situation they apply.

If you do this, you will start the process of memorizing the questions and knowing when to ask them. However, practice is the best process.

Next week I’ll discuss part three, the Measure Call. Until then, happy hunting!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

How to Close More Deals

In this segment, we are going to discuss a very hot topic. How to close more deals.

This will be a four-part series, so keep coming back for more valuable information.

Now, let's get started.

Being a successful contractor requires two parallel mind setting processes. Getting Sales, and getting them at a price that makes you money (see my eBook – “How to Calculate Your Money-Making Markup!”).

One does not work without the other.

Now here is the problem.

Too many contractors are following a single and dangerous mindset. Getting the job.

Unfortunately, this throws them into the coliseum of rabid dogs who are also fighting to get the job.

The result?

Low pricing! 

The real question you need to ask yourself is this.

Are you selling low price or … are you selling value?

If you are selling low price, you really don’t care about making money. Instead, you just want the job and hope for the best.

However …

If you know you provide vale and a uniqueness with your service that the prospective client cannot get from the competition, you need to develop an approach that will accomplish just that. I cover this in more detail in my book: How to Market & Sell Your Construction Services like Magic!”

In the next three blog articles I will lead you through the steps one at a time.
I am not going to discuss marketing or developing your promotional materials. If you want more on that, you can get my eBook: “The Contractor’s Magical Marketing Tool Belt!” which is loaded which is loaded with examples and information.

In this blog, I am going to discuss the first step. The one you must accomplish first.


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Qualifying Leads

This starts the minute you have first contact with the prospective client. The cornerstone in this system consists of two things:

1.      The questions you ask
2.      The record of the answers.

By designing the questions, your goal is to uncover enough information to validate the value of expending your time with this prospective client. You are trying to uncover whether they are serious, or fit your needs.

Let me give you an example.

I had a high-end roofing contractor who only did slate roofs. To make it even better, he only worked in three specific towns. His qualifying questions was: “In which town is the home located?” If you didn’t live in one of his three towns, you weren’t one of his customers.

Another contractor did high-end kitchens. His average job size was $150k. This made his qualifying question simple. “How much do you expect to spend?”

In my own construction business, my best customers were waterfront facilities. That made my niche and qualifying customer question very easy. “Is this a waterfront facility, and if so, on what body of water is it located?”

Once you have qualified the client as an ideal prospective customer, you can move onto the next series of questions that allow you to drill down for more information on your qualifying sheet.

Qualifying Lead Sheet

Today we have different forms of media that we can keep and track information. It can be on paper, spreadsheet or a good CRM software.

How you keep it doesn’t matter, it is just important to keep it.

The qualifying lead sheet stays in the process for the customer from initial contact, to sales person, to estimator, to job supervisor. It has all the pertinent information gathered on the client from their first call to the end of the job.

By having this information and correlating it, you can develop the profile of your best customers from the psychographics, demographics and geographic. This will help also reduce your advertising costs and focus your marketing dollars with accuracy.

This is important.

When you qualifying your prospective clients, you will reduce the wasted time on clients who will never buy from you, and increase your capture rate. All at higher dollars!

Next week I will talk a little more on the type of drill-down questions you need to ask. Until then, happy hunting!