Double Your Business, Steve Burnett Marketing Business Coach Painting Contractor

Sit back, have your coffee or tea handy, and sip with me… I am sitting in the office, sipping coffee, and thinking back to the estimates I went to with Steve.


I can recall:

Mr. Purdy wanted no overspray from the pool cage we were painting to his newly painted roof.

Mrs. Corona wanted to make sure her kitties did not escape while we were painting her interior.

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Mr. Moore desired that we keep a clean and tidy work space upon the close of each night.

(names changed to protect privacy)


What do all these responses have in common?

They are answers to the #1 Question we used to Double Our Close Ratio.


I’ll tell what the question is, but first,


let me tell you why you need this question.


When you are going on estimate after estimate, trying to be awarded the project on the spot, what sets you apart?


What is your USP – Unique Selling Proposition?


I can guarantee, no customer hired a contractor because they were the only contractor who promised to paint the room well, provide clean cut lines, and finish the job to completion.


Every contractor says they will do that and should do so.


What is IT that all customers want?


It’s the answer to this QUESTION that sets apart the projects awarded on the spot and those that need to think it over and get more estimates.




“Mr. Williams, what does an excellent painting EXPERIENCE look like to you?”


What’s the key word here?




Many times, the first words out of their mouth will be,

“Wow, no one has ever asked me that. I would have to say _____(write down with extreme attention to their words everything that they say next!!!)_____.”


For many, it won’t have a thing to do with what makes a professional painting company.

It won’t be:

  • painters that show up on time
  • a fresh new coat of paint applied with precision
  • a company that has documented insurance and licenses
  • has worked for 20+ years
  • provides numerous services

They EXPECT that. But isn’t that what we all want to put all over our vehicles?


Take a look next time you are in traffic, on what gets put on company vehicles.


Now, take a look at what you are putting in your estimate or proposal to share with clients.


If you make this small but enormously powerful change to your estimating procedure, document their response, and repeat their response back to them when going over your proposal, you’ve just reaffirmed to your potential clients exactly why they should hire you!


Watch what happens to your close ratio.


Key: Remember to have a system for sharing your customer responses to your team so they are aware of how they can hit it out of the park with each and every client! After all, you make the promise and it’s your team that delivers! So, make sure to thank them for keeping your promises!


Next Step: Write this question down on your next scheduled estimate, re-read it as you walk to the door, ask at the end of your walk around, before you start writing up the proposal. Comment below with they key word in this powerful question. GO!


About the Author

Steve and I built up, streamlined, and sold Burnett 1-800-PAINTING--- quintupling it in under 3 years during what some called a "bad economy" before selling. We are now helping other painting contractors and entrepreneurs to Double Their Business while reducing their hours. We've been the struggling painters until we figured out what works and now love to share that info with you, to help you do the same! Whether you are building up to sell or pass on to your children, we are here to help you make it a reality.

cliff tucker - October 4, 2015

This is one of those things that differentiate one from the completion…another silver bullet brought to you courtesy of Steve Burnett.

    April Burnett - October 5, 2015

    Thank you, Cliff! We look forward to hearing stories of you using the question in your estimating appointments!

cliff tucker - October 4, 2015

Great insight as all ways…Steve

    April Burnett - October 5, 2015

    Thanks, Cliff! We appreciate your feedback!

Cleve Dayton - October 6, 2015


Great blog. I have been using this question for awhile. I really like to ask it. It was weird and uncomfortable at first because I wouldn’t naturally ask a question with those words. But, I wrote it down, word for word, on my estimate worksheet and started asking it. Now, it is second nature…I don’t even need to see it or read it from the worksheet. Asking the question gives me valuable insight into what the Customer really wants and what he/she is really looking for.

I have found that the best thing to do is be quiet and wait for the answer once I ask the question. Sometimes the Customer doesn’t respond quickly…there is an uncomfortable silence until the Customer speaks. I have learned to anticipate the silence and not let it bother me, because if I start talking then the Customer doesn’t have to answer the question. And then I asked the question for nothing.

Thanks…keep up the good work.

    April Burnett - October 7, 2015

    Thank you, Cleve! What a great testimonial of using the question – at first it may be uncomfortable. I really appreciate your addressing the silence and keeping silent while they think. Genius and spot on! Steve is much better at that part than I am, being an extravert! Way to go, Cleve! Keep Crushing it!

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