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Construction Programs & Results Inc

We Like to See The Good Guys Win!

Customer Looking for Quotes

by Michael Stone

A question came in recently:

I realize that many folks "look for quotes" - in fact, most of the places that provide such advice advise homeowners to do just that. I also realize that I should be focused on my business and how it relates to the homeowner, and not be concerned with "the competition".

As a relatively new contractor, how do I learn to win over prospects that are "looking for quotes"... or do I just move on to the next one?

This is an opportunity most contractors blow. When the customer lets it be known that they are going to get 2 or more quotes, they blow the potential customers away.

There is a better way. When a customer says to you, "We are getting three bids", consider it an invitation to put on your sales hat and set your company as the standard to which all others are compared.

Ask this question:

You: "You are getting other quotes?"

C: "Yes, it's good business." or, "Yes, we are actually getting quotes from a number of companies."

You: "What is your criteria for picking your contractor?"

Their answers may vary here, but most will come up with two, maybe three things they are looking for, such as "We are looking for a company that will build us a good job at a fair price."

Now, set yourself as the standard of measure.

You: "Do you want a company that will start and complete your job on time, get the inspections in a timely manner so you can finish your job and move on with your life?"

Make sure you ask at least three, preferably four or five questions like this one to get them thinking about what they want from their contractor. You want to get about 3 to 5 "yes" answers to your questions in a row. It not only helps you become the standard, but it also gets your customer used to telling you yes. Then tie it all together:

You: "Mr./ Mrs. Customer, all these things I have just mentioned are but a few of the benefits you will get by selecting us as your contractor of choice. We guarantee your satisfaction with our people, our work and your job when it is done. If that is the kind of company you are looking for, rest assured we do all these things, and we do them very well. We have as many references as you may wish to call, and if you want to go and see some of our jobs, that can be arranged very quickly. That is the kind of company you are looking for, isn't it?"

This is a powerful sales tool if used correctly, and you will know if you have done it right when the talk about getting three bids goes away.


Good Morning
I have been reading your blog and I'm enjoying the different posts that you are submitting. The continuos posting is starting to provide a profile of Michael and his great way of thinking and stating thoughts. The customer's questions and how Michael answers them provides insight into a higher standard of business conduct.
Great work!


I have own a copy of Markup and Profit and refer to it often. Over the past several months I have been tracking leads and sales and find that I am closing 1 in 6. I understand that this is not very good from comments in Michael's book and on this website.

However when looking at the leads we are getting, I find that 40% of the calls we receive are for projects that are completely abandoned by the prospect before we even have a chance to set an appointment. Our leads are called back the same day we receive a call or email, but in most cases our abandoned leads are abandoned because we cannot get in touch with them. If we can get to speak with the prospect, we find that people just want a price over the phone or by email. (many of our leads come through email). Only 2 of those abandoned projects were abandoned by the customer after we visted with them, and that was because they did not have the money to complete the project.

This is very frustrating. Our economy is tough around here, but there appears to be lots of work happening, and we are keeping busy (and profitable).

Should I ignore leads that are abandoned by the customer like this? If I do, my closing ratio actually looks pretty good!

Bill Auten

Our sales process had it's flaws as well, and that is what the issue is here. I spent 7 years in commmercial equipment sales, did semi well, but got hosed so many times, I got real gun shy on sales.

I just sat back and waited for my flawed process to generate leads that I did a poor job of turning into sales. I have reengineered that process, to where we have an active response process to leads that are coming in, patterned after Michael's sales process.

If they don't meet the requirements for us to do business with them and give them a proposal, the hell with them and on to someone else to will buy from us.


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