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5 Words No Contractor Wants to Hear On a Sales Call

I went on an estimate last week with a client who is in the siding and window business. I left the appointment full of answers about why he wasn’t closing any business. As we walked the property the contractor answered all the homeowner’s questions and concerns without hesitation. He sounded like an authority and presented himself very well.

Then the shit hit the fan

As my client handed the homeowner an estimate for the work (it was a smaller job) the homeowner dropped the $64k dollar question…do you have any information you can leave?

Then the stumbling and fumbling began

My guy didn’t have anything to give the homeowner other than the estimate. Keep in mind, he didn’t run out, he didn’t have anything; not a brochure, not a fact sheet, nothing about his company, himself or the windows – nothing.  To which the homeowner replied –

“Dude, you gotta have something?”

Understand, part of the reason I was there was to help the contractor develop materials for his company, so he already knew he had some issues. But the homeowner’s reaction couldn’t have hit home more.

While my guy hemmed and hawed, I took the lead and let the homeowner know we were in the middle of adding some great new products and services to the lineup and that we would make sure to send him a soft-copy via email ASAP so he had something.

But this deal isn’t going to close

So my guy had to learn a lesson the hard way…and the expensive way. Always have to have some kind of marketing materials to leave behind. I don’t care if it is a brochure you make at home or a four-color high gloss job from the printer, people thirst for knowledge, and you better be ready to give it to them!

So learn this lesson at someone else’s expense and make sure you have a leave-behind to give someone, regardless if they ask for it or not…and your business card doesn’t count!

15 responses to “5 Words No Contractor Wants to Hear On a Sales Call”

  1. Chris Spoerl Avatar
    Chris Spoerl


    Poor Presentation Planning Prevents Proper Performance

    This is a valuable lesson I learned a long time ago in a galaxy far away.

    My old boss asked what my favorite food was. I told him grilled cheese.
    He asked if I went to a restraunt and ordered grilled cheese, and they served it on a paper plate would I pay $6.00 ?

    I told him no.

    My old boss then asked if they served my grilled cheese on a plate, with leaf lettuce, a pickle and chips would I pay $6.00, I told him YES.

    He said it was all in the presentation, and taught me about the “P”s.

    Good article Darren

    1. Darren Avatar

      I love grilled cheese….Sorry, thanks Chris!

  2. Perryn Olson Avatar
    Perryn Olson

    Great post. I’m amazed how many companies are oblivious that brochures, websites, & signage build credibility & trust.

    1. Darren Avatar

      Thanks Perryn for stopping by and commenting! We are going to have to start working together on stuff!

  3. Don Ogden Avatar
    Don Ogden

    I think this, like all of your posts is spot on!
    I would like to add that including references is very important.

    1. Darren Avatar

      Thanks Don! I appreciate that! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  4. Sam Bradley Avatar
    Sam Bradley

    Don’t leave just one marketing piece with the customer, leave three. Chances are they will give one of the ‘extra’ pieces to a friend, neighbor or co-worker to get their opinion of you. If the marketing piece is worthy, you may get additional work.

    1. Darren Avatar

      Good tip Sam!

  5. Tommy Avatar

    Amazing, yet simple-common sense things every contractor should know.

    1. Darren Avatar

      Thanks Tommy for stopping by and commenting!

  6. Greg Avatar

    Great post it’s the simple things we all forget sometimes

    1. Darren Avatar

      Thanks Greg for stopping by and commenting!

  7. Kyle Bedalov Avatar
    Kyle Bedalov

    I just did a presentation last night as a Athletic Coach asking a Booster Club for funds to support a project. Not only did I have three leave behinds with the goals and objectives of the requested projects, I left behind a commitment of Trust in doing so.

    I have learned a great deal of things while working with clients over the past 20 years, both paying and internal clients. Some of those include saying Thank You, even for small things, even more so when you are receiving time and attention. Having a pen so that you can take notes or close the deal. Make sure you review your notes and prepare before speaking. Use peoples first names if you know them, look them in the eye when talking. And more recently, set your phone to silent or turn it off. These are all small things that make presentations better.

    1. Darren Avatar


      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. It’s all about prep!

  8. Keith McGorlick Avatar
    Keith McGorlick

    Great tip Kyle, take it one step farther. Use thank you cards & snail mail! Look for reasons to send them, thanks for taking the time to……call for an estimate, hear my presentation, take my phone call, talk to me on the street, see me at your office, anything to give you an excuse to send them a card with at least 2 business cards in it! Every time you send one, they’re thinking about you when they open it! They’re cheap, and they get your name out there, a good rule of thumb is try to send out 10 a day, they tell me. Sorry to steal your thunder Darren, couldn’t resist!