What’s your closing ratio?
Do you know your closing ratio? Would you like to increase your closing ratio?
I am going to give you some tips on how to do this, this is a request by one of the messages left on one of our videos so we are going to capture it right now!
I am Ron Ramsden, I’m a DYB coach, also a painting contractor up here in northern Massachusetts.
What is your closing ratio?
For example, this gentleman went on 10 estimates and he only received two of the jobs, so he has a 20% closing ratio.
We’ll give you a couple tips here, what we do, and what’s worked for us.
We’ve brought our closing ratio to about 50-54%.
Anyways, let’s get right to it; we’re going to talk about pre-qualifying your customers.
When a customer either calls or uses an online system called, you can book me, we have questions that help us to actually pre-qualify the customer.
One of the first ones that I ask is:
– Do you have a budget for us?
We are not known as small contractors; we do larger jobs so we want to know if there’s actually a budget.
– How did you hear about us?
You want to know especially if it’s from a past customer who’s referred us because that gives us a leg up on any competition we may have for getting the job.
– Do you own or rent it?
In some different areas they might be repainting a small bedroom apartment, is that something you want to do, why are you going to look at something like that.
Hopefully down the road, they are going to give you more work, or have you ever heard this one, “I own multiple homes, if you give me a really good deal on this home, I am going to give you the other ones.”
My answer to that will be, “how about if we price this regular and I will give you a discount on the second one,” that ends all conversations.
Really they are just looking for the best price out there, they don’t want quality, they want price and you can’t have both?
– What is your time frame?
They might say, “we’d like to get this done within the next couple weeks,” your reply might be, “well I’m sorry, we are booked out for two months, does that work for you?”
If not we can always hand all these painting estimates off to another painter, especially if you don’t want them.
Maybe a painter in your back pocket, you know through the paint store, or an old friend of yours, he is a one or two man show, say, “hey I know this guy, Jim, he’s a great guy, let me forward you his information and you can touch base with him, and let him know that Ron sent you,” this works out great!
Whatever your questions may be, ask them those questions before you get to the job, you are going to find out that a lot of these times you don’t even want to go look at the job.
What if you are not a lead contractor and they want lead removal, just aks, “when was the house built?”
Well if you are not doing lead, this is something that you shouldn’t be looking at.
Look at the stuff you want to do, you know what your niche is, aim for that stuff, so after you pre-qualify, we set the appointment in the calendar.
Then what we’ll do is we like to send them a video, I have a video I made in my own house, it just says “what to expect on your upcoming painting estimate”, this walks them through what I am going to do, how I am going to arrive, who’s going to be there.
I am also asking them this question,
– What is a great painting experience to you?
The reason we ask this in the video is sometimes when I used to do it right in person, it surprised them and they didn’t know what to actually say.
Many of the comments I have is about their animals, their kids, dust, things like that.
Also that you know the guys arriving at the house to work on it, are not sketchy people, so we then forward the crew leaders face and stuff like that, with a little bio about the crew leader.
We are always staying top of the mind, so when we get to their house they are not like, “I forgot that you were coming.”
They know we are coming because we have emailed them once or twice with different information.
I also put them on our mailing list, they might be getting some information about a charity job that we are doing or something else, so they feel that we are part of the community also.
Make sure you ask them, “what does an exceptional painting experience look like to you?”
When you arrive at the house, arrive like a pro, show up in a nice clean car if you can, I know sometimes it’s depends on the weather here in New England.
Park in front of the house where they can see you when they look out of their window, don’t park in the driveway, you never know who’s coming or going, if your vehicle is going to leak or something like that, park in the street.
Also let the neighbors know that they are having a painter, and they will see your vehicle.
Dress appropriately, maybe a polo shirt and a pair of khakis.
Just like car keys are something you start a vehicle with, khakis are something you wear as pants; maybe you are an active painter still, you are still out in the field, have an extra polo shirt and a set of khakis in the vehicle and you change when you get out to work.
I mean what a great first impression?!
You can never get that first impression back, so knock on the door, if you scheduled for 5 o’clock at night, knock on the door at 5 o’clock.
Don’t be 10 minutes early, they might have three things going on, they might be cooking, they might have kids running around, they might have a dog who doesn’t want to see you or maybe they are not home.
Don’t surprise them, show up on time, it will go a long way.
If you can’t close on the spot, ask to write the estimate right there if possible.
If you can’t, they will allow you to sit at the kitchen table or go out into your van, sitting at the tables is the best, but go out to your truck, if you have a portable printer, there are so many opportunities with estimate rocket, pep and other estimating software to actually produce it right there in a very quick manner.
If you do end up needing more time if they are not going to be ready to close on the spot, ask them when you could follow-up, “would it be okay if I follow-up on Tuesday at 7 o’clock?”
They might say, “oh no, let’s have it Wednesday at noon,” get a time that you can follow up so you are not intrusive and they are expecting your call.
When you call, say, “hey, it’s Ron from Ramsden 1-800 painting, just following up on that project, if you had any questions?”
Something like that, you’ll have your own monologue, practice it ahead of time, and then it comes out a lot quicker.
Also, you’ve got to ask if you can follow up with a specific time, so if you didn’t close on the spot, you didn’t close on the spot, once you find it, you start closing on the spot.
It’s a lot easier it also saves you time down the road because you are not running home and doing the estimate in your office.
Also, you’ve got to send the estimate over the next day, tell them, “give me 24 hours,” don’t take too long, they are expecting that, they are excited, they want to get this project going, if not they wouldn’t have called you up.
Say you’ll have the estimated proposal by tomorrow at 7 o’clock in the evening if that works for them.
Get it there earlier, see if you can get it to them at 5 o’clock at night and they are going to know that you care, you follow-up, your word is good and you are a good guy or girl.
Anyways, after that appointment, send them a thank you note, have your logo on top, blank on the backside, just to thank them for the opportunity that they gave us, “Mrs. Smith, thank you so much for allowing me to see a beautiful home, I look forward to working with you,”
Something short and sweet, but hand write the address on the outside envelope, nobody sends personalized cards anymore, you’ll be two steps above your competition if you do that.
If you don’t get the job, it’s okay, you can’t get every job, if you get every job, you’d be too busy anyway.
Alright so you didn’t get it, that’s when you follow-up two or three weeks from now, see if you can touch base, pick up the phone, what can they say, they can’t hang up on it, they didn’t hire you anyways.
Follow-up and say, “hey this is Ron from Ramsden 1800 painting, I know I didn’t get your project, but I was wondering how did the project go and they might say, “oh the contractor never showed up, he put me off twice, he did this, he did that,” and they might thank you for your follow-up, and you’ve got the job!
It gives you that second and third chance to get back in the door, you never know what happened, maybe what you offered and what they gave was totally two different things.
Quick story, we had a project a while back that we bid on and it was going on a conversion from Stanwood to white trim throughout the entire house.
The homeowner just had a newborn baby, maybe two-three months old, they were planning on moving out while the work was being done because they didn’t want the fumes for the baby.
My proposal was about $225,000 more than everybody else, and she picked someone else and they are actually my neighbors so I see them quite often.
I asked them how it went, and she said, “well it came out really nice but we didn’t know that he was a one-man show and sometimes he had a helper, we had to move into my mother in-law’s house,” and I had told them 4 to 5 days because we were bringing an entire crew.
She says, “we lived at my mom’s house for almost five weeks, so she said at that point, we wished that we had paid you the price that you asked.”
That’s the follow-up, we ended up painting some exterior work for them a year later, so on the outside of their house.
- Pre-qualify the people as they are coming in
- Follow-up in between the scheduled time and the time you talk to them on the phone you’ll be two steps ahead of everybody else
- Try to close on the spot
- Ask them when you can follow-up
- Send a personalized thank you card
If you don’t get it, still follow-up to let them know that you are around for this project and future projects.
Here is some more info about how to estimate interior paint jobs.
I am Ron Ramsden and I am a DYB coach, if you need to touch base with me, I am at firstname.lastname@example.org, send me an email, if not find me on Facebook.
I just help contractors work on their business so they don’t have to work in their business, have a great day.