Sales: Are You There to Help?

By Michael Stone

When selling, are youhere to find out how much money you can make, or to provide a service and help?


Doing Things Right

By Michael Stone

Michael shares a valuable tool that will improve both your sales and your relationships.


Should I Change My Markup If I’m Not Making Sales?

By Michael Stone

Should you change your markup method if you aren’t making sales? Don’t spend hours fiddling with numbers; invest the time in your sales skills.


It’s All About Sales: Gaining a Commitment

By Michael Stone

Can delayed job starts impact material prices and profitability? Not if you gain a commitment first. It’s all about the sales process.


Beliefs That Limit Your Profit

By Michael Stone

Owning and operating a construction business requires a strong will and self-direction, but those qualities can also lead you to hold on to beliefs that limit your profit.


Paying a Salesperson: Commission on Sales, not Profit

By Michael Stone

If you employ a salesperson to help you sell something, you need to pay them for their services. I am a firm believer in paying sales people by commission


Price Proposal Deadlines

By Michael Stone

All price proposals need a deadline because you never know when material and labor costs will increase rapidly.


Construction Sales: Make Time Count

By Michael Stone

Construction sales take time and your time is valuable. Avoid these common time-wasters when selling construction services.


Design Agreements and the Budget

By Michael Stone

The purpose of a design agreement is to get a commitment from your client to design the project so you don’t have to do the design for free. How do you keep the design within the budget?


Construction Websites that Generate Leads

By Michael Stone

A construction website should be a lead generating asset. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but if it doesn’t generate leads it’s a waste of time and effort.


Lowball Pricing in Construction

By Michael Stone

It’s not unusual to find a contractor who sells by deliberately underpricing or underbidding jobs and making up the difference with change work orders.


Remodeling Sales: Setting the Budget

By Michael Stone

A business owner in the UK asked a question that illustrates that remodeling sales challenges are the same regardless of your location.


You Have Better Things to Do than Estimate

By Michael Stone

Getting a commitment from potential clients is critical if you want to save yourself a ton of time and work putting together an estimate that won’t go anywhere. You have better things to do with your time.


The Sales Call: Budget and Design

By Michael Stone

Budget doesn’t need to be a major worry during the design and build of a project if you handle it properly during the sales call.


Four Diamonds of Communication

By Michael Stone

Sales is about communicating and interacting positively with others. Those skills make life easier in any delicate conversation.


Borrowing Jacks

By Michael Stone

I recently had to face what I thought would be an uncomfortable personal conversation. I fussed all morning, then went to visit the person involved.


Clear Sales Communication; It’s Your Responsibility

By Michael Stone

I want to share a recent phone conversation with a contractor concerning a problem they were having with a client.


Hiring a Salesperson

By Michael Stone

I’m a firm believer in treating salespeople well. When they’re treated well, they’ll sell. When they sell, you win.


Let’s Discuss an Acceptable Hourly Rate . . .

By Michael Stone

This note is a painfully perfect example of why you shouldn’t provide details on your pricing.


Words from an Expert on Hiring Contractors

By Michael Stone

A contractor sent us an online article written by a real estate investor with the purpose of educating you on “how to develop a fair relationship with your contractor.”


Insurance Quotes – Getting Paid

By Michael Stone

Insurance work can be good business, but it can also waste your time if the insurance company is playing the three bids game.


On Politely & Confidently Qualifying Leads

By Todd Milton

A guest article: How do you avoid going out on sales calls to look at jobs for folks who obviously do not qualify to purchase from your company?


Missing the Sale

By Michael Stone

Is there anything you can do about the sales you miss?


Promoting Your Business: The County Fair

By Michael Stone

It’s summer, and that means community gatherings for people wanting to have fun. In our area, the main event is the county fair. I’m confident there is a similar event in your area.


Focusing On Price

By Michael Stone

“The #1 reason I lose jobs is ‘your price is too high.’ What am I doing wrong?”


Spare Topics

By Michael Stone

It’s time to catch up on some spare topics I have lying around. These aren’t earth shaking but they can and will impact your bottom line.


Sales: Have Options Ready

By Michael Stone

Give clients options when you quote the work they want done.


Transparency and Partnerships

By Michael Stone

What do you do when your partner is listening to someone who knows nothing about construction, but still thinks they knows what’s best?


First Time Homeowner, Uncommunicative Builder

By Michael Stone

We’re aware that homeowners also visit our website. This letter is from a first-time homeowner who’s ready to buy, but his builder isn’t cooperating.


Design Agreement Fees

By Michael Stone

The last thing I want to do is cause a family problem, but apparently I did with one family.


Homeowner Advice: Some Misguided, Some Correct

By Michael Stone

Flaky contractors make us all look bad. But not all advice given to homeowners to protect themselves from fraud is good advice.


Marketing Your Business

By Brian Javeline

Don’t come up with excuses to not be marketing your business. Eventually you will be in the worst position of all, and that is when you say “I need quick help to get my phone to ring”.


You Can’t Ask Too Many Questions

By Michael Stone

When something seems amiss, don’t stop asking questions. A contractor shares his experience on a recent sales call.


Give Them What They Need to Make a Decision

By Michael Stone

Clients are changing, and if you want to stay in the game and make something more than a living, you’ll need to change with them.


Design Agreements Gone Awry

By Michael Stone

We discussed design agreements last week; today we’re going to look at them from another angle. The first step is setting the budget with the client.


Protecting Design Work

By Michael Stone

A contractor who has designed projects asked how to protect his design work.


Training an Architect

By Michael Stone

A contractor we’ve known and worked with for many years sent us a note about his experience working with a new architect. Ideally, the architect would have been working with the contractor from the beginning so he could have educated the client as well.


Share Your Cards

By Michael Stone

Business cards are a simple, inexpensive way to provide everyone you come in contact with the information they need to reach you.


Avoiding a Potential Pain in the Assets

By Michael Stone

A good guy we know was recently working with a potential client when he ran into some concerns.


Canvassing: Connect with the Neighborhood

By Michael Stone

One of the more unpopular things I recommend is canvassing the neighborhood around your jobs. It’s unpopular because it’s misunderstood.


Avoiding Jobs That Don’t Fit

By Michael Stone

It’s smart to specialize on the work that makes you the most money. It’s even better if you know contractors who can pick up the leads outside your specialty.


Getting the Commitment

By Michael Stone

A contractor in Hawaii sent in a note asking about a few sales issues.


Unrealistic Price Expectations

By Michael Stone

If they called you, doesn’t that mean they need or want the work done?


Family Fights

By Michael Stone

The topic is uncomfortable but if you’re involved in residential sales, you’ll see family disagreements. It helps to know what to do.


Make Every Possession Count

By Michael Stone

Many contractors who write us are having a problem with their business, and in many cases, it’s because the contractor has lost focus on what’s important.


Clients Working on Their Job

By Michael Stone

Should you let a client work on the job they’ve hired you and your company to build?


Doing What’s Right

By Michael Stone

How should you handle a mistake? What if it’s a mistake you made over a decade ago?


Breaking Down Price Detail

By Michael Stone

Since the end goal for both the architect and the contractor is a satisfied client, how about working together from the beginning?


Lower Your Price, Gain Exposure

By Michael Stone

Should you take every opportunity to increase exposure for your business? 


Can They Find You?

By Michael Stone

If you’re a dependable, responsible construction-business owner, do potential clients in your area know you exist?


Getting Ahead

By Michael Stone

As we head into Memorial Day weekend, we want to share an upbeat note we received in April from a client.


Looking for a Deal

By Michael Stone

It’s amazing the things a potential client can think of to get you to lower your price.


Sales: Ask Questions and Get Answers

By Michael Stone

The one question too many salespeople stumble over is the budget for the job. They are worried that it looks bad to ask.


Transparency – Or Maybe Not

By Michael Stone

Is transparency the way to go when selling? Be careful who you listen to.


Planning for Profit

By Michael Stone

We recommend setting goals every year, beginning the process about now. If making a profit is one of your goals, Michael outlines practices that will help.  


A Reputation for Cleanliness

By Michael Stone

Every day we drive by a new home under construction. I don’t know how many people pass this new home every day but I would guess it’s in the thousands; the road is always busy.


Resolve Their Challenges, Make The Sale

By Michael Stone

A survey outlines the challenges homeowners say they’re facing when they remodel or renovate their home. It’s valuable info, because it tells you what they need help with. It’s your job to show them you can provide that help.


Pricing Fears

By Michael Stone

A recent Houzz survey confirmed what you need to know if you’re in sales; it’s not all about price.


Last Minute Requests Before Closing the Sale

By Michael Stone

What do you do when a potential client waits until the proposal is together to request itemization on the project?


We Don’t Advertise

By Michael Stone

“We don’t advertise” is well meaning mischief at its worst. It cuts your company off from a large pool of potential clients who are looking for a contractor to help them get their job built.


Objections Book

By Michael Stone

An objections book is a history of your sales calls. It includes everything you said and did, right or wrong. I have only met two or three others in my thirty-plus years of direct selling who took the time to compile a book, but each one became outstanding in their profession.


An Opinion on Itemized Estimates

By Michael Stone

A building owner challenges our statement that contractors shouldn’t itemize their estimates.


Setting the Budget First

By Michael Stone

In our book, Profitable Sales, A Contractor’s Guide, we discuss the need to set the client’s budget for a project. One of our clients sent a note recently that explains why setting the budget up front is important.


Strengthening Your Business

By Michael Stone

I’ve been around the construction industry long enough to know that it isn’t always rosy. When a recession hits, construction is one of the early victims.


Let Them Know What to Expect

By Michael Stone

If you’re doing service work, make sure your client knows what to expect before you start.


Website SEO Scams

By Brian Javeline

I received a note from Michael Stone. He said, “You wouldn’t believe some of the stories I hear from contractors being approached by people claiming they can help with SEO or getting leads. I want to cover this in a newsletter.”


Generational Differences

By Michael Stone

I’ve been reading advice in a few construction magazines on how to sell to millennials, and I don’t understand the fuss.


Working by Referral

By Michael Stone

When things are good, it’s easy to get lackadaisical about marketing because finding new clients is so easy.


I Don’t Need Any Leads!

By Michael Stone

“I have more work than I can do. I tell new leads to call me after the first of the year.”


Alternatives to a Bad Deal

By Michael Stone

Some business relationships turn out badly; with experience, you can identify and avoid them.


Working for Big Box Stores

By Michael Stone

A young guy asked if signing on with one of the big box stores was a good idea. He hasn’t discovered yet that getting a lot of work doesn’t mean you’ll make lots of money.


Sales Issues: Leaving Your Paperwork

By Michael Stone

Generally speaking, when potential clients don’t want to make a commitment but want to keep your paperwork, they intend to shop it around.


Sales Issues: We’ll Be Getting Three Bids

By Michael Stone

Too many homeowners believe they need three bids for their project. The intent, of course, is to compare proposals so they can make the best decision.


Sales Issues: We Want the Lowest Bid

By Michael Stone

Some clients want the lowest bid for their project, and nothing else matters. It’s your job to try to educate them.


Hiring A Contractor: Truth vs. Myths

By Michael Stone

Some advice on hiring a contractor is just plain wrong.


The One-Legged Sales Call: Find Out If They’re Serious

By Michael Stone

One-legged sales calls. Frankly, this is much to do over a problem with a fairly simple solution.


Careful What You Pay for a Lead

By Michael Stone

I recently read an article reviewing a new lead-generating service, and it stated, “Our contractors only pay us a 5% referral fee, once they win the job.”


Bidding or Selling?

By Michael Stone

Are you bidding on jobs, or are you selling them? There’s a difference.


Matchmaker, Matchmaker

By Michael Stone

Another day, another service that helps homeowners find a contractor.


Free Estimates

By Michael Stone

What you do has value. Respect your time and your knowledge.


Keep Your Head, Get Paid, Protect Yourself

By Michael Stone

Sometimes a potential client expects you to work for free. That’s not a smart route to take unless you have a lot of money in the bank and time on your hands.


Designing a Magnet

By Michael Stone

There are two steps to attracting leads. The first step is being known; the second step is making them interested enough to contact you.


Are Your Clients Thinking “So What?”

By Michael Stone

On a sales call, if you’re speaking and your potential client is thinking “so what?”, you’ve lost them.


When Your Client Sets the Price

By Michael Stone

When your client wants a lower price, something has to change. It shouldn’t be just your price.


Thank You Notes

By Michael Stone

I’m a strong proponent of thank you notes. We received a creative note from a contractor the other day.


Your Sales Presentation

By Michael Stone

Given how valuable leads are, once you get one, you need a sales procedure to help make the sale.


Finding a Trustworthy Contractor

By Michael Stone

If you’re trying to make a living in residential remodeling or specialty work, it’s important to know what the general public is being told about you.


Proprietary Business Information

By Michael Stone

An architect he knew asked him to meet with the owners of a proposed new home. As they were discussing the project, the architect asked our friend, in front of the clients, “What’s your overhead and profit percentage?”


The Relationship Between Budget and Design

By Michael Stone

One problem contractors run into is dealing with clients who want to change the scope of the project after signing the design agreement, and not realizing how it might impact their budget.


Know Before You Quote

By Michael Stone

It’s cheaper to ask questions than pay for mistakes. A coaching client is trying to fix the problem created by an former salesperson’s expensive omission.


Can You Be Too Professional?

By Michael Stone

Can you be too professional? A contractor shares the story of a sale that he was told he lost because he was dressed too professionally and responded to questions too confidently.


What’s a Reasonable Advertising Budget?

By Michael Stone

How much should you spend on advertising? How much is too much?


Owners Supplying Their Own Materials

By Michael Stone

Should you let a client furnish their own materials?


The Salesperson’s Real Job

By Michael Stone

When I think about major influences on my sales training, I think of Tom Hopkins. He was an outstanding salesman who become a gifted sales trainer, and I still receive and read his newsletters.


Make Sales Happen

By Michael Stone

A design agreement is nothing more than an agreement to work with the client to design their project. That’s not the final goal of a remodeling contractor; your business is about building projects.


Are They Helping or Hurting?

By Michael Stone

I’m not convinced that Porch is interested in helping our industry. From what I’ve seen, I think they’re only positioning themselves to make money off contractors.


Referral Fees and Sales Commissions

By Michael Stone

A referral fee is what you pay to the person who provides you a lead. A sales commission is what you pay a salesperson to close a sale.


Lead Generation Tactics

By Devon Stone

Use Lead Gen tactics to your advantage B …

Lead Generation Tactics Read More »


Wasting Time: Red Flags on a Sales Call

By Michael Stone

A potential client wanted to get a bid on some work at her home. Our coaching client was pretty sure the lead was dead, and wanted to know if she should have done anything differently to have made the sale.


Penciling a Salesperson

By Michael Stone

If salespeople know the business owner will back them up and pay them fairly, they’re motivated to produce profitable sales. If they aren’t motivated to make sales, the business is in trouble.


Client Outrage

By Michael Stone

Real or fake outrage can be a client’s attempt to elicit an emotional response from you to get what they want. It often puts you in the position of questioning yourself and your company, not dealing with the subject at hand.


The Downside of Commission Sales

By Michael Stone

I’ve long been an advocate for paying salespeople on straight commission. Not everyone agrees, not even all the experts, but in my experience straight commission is the best way to go.


They Want a Bid Today

By Michael Stone

Every once in a while, your phone will ring and the potential client on the other end will tell you they want a bid today. What should you do? 


Final Payments, Emailed Quotes

By Michael Stone

Never let your final payment exceed 2% of the sales price. And your contract should include a finance charge clause for payments not made on time.


Leads are Gold

By Michael Stone

Too many contractors care only about getting leads. They believe that if they get enough leads and can bid on enough jobs, they’ll be successful. That’s not the case.


Pay Salespeople Fairly: Commission Sales

By Michael Stone

There are lots of opinions on how to pay a salesperson. Your salespeople have to be able to make a good living and provide for their family.


What’s Your Specialty?

By Michael Stone

If you're one of the many contractors who start an advertising message with, "We specialize in . . . ", good for you. But if you follow that statement with a long laundry list of things you do, you're hurting your business.


Getting Involved with a Storm Chaser

By Michael Stone

Last week, a contractor called to ask my opinion on getting involved with storm chasers that were in his area.


Getting Business as a Sub

By Michael Stone

One of the questions we’re asked most often is how a subcontractor can get jobs. How do you go about meeting general contractors and letting them know you’re available to build their jobs?


Let’s Not Talk About the Backlog

By Michael Stone

A major mistake contractors make is to tell a client they can’t start the job for 3-4-5 months. “We are backlogged, can’t possibly start your job before then.”


Website Ideas for Contractors – 15 Website SEO Ideas

By Devon Stone

If you missed our webinar earlier this week with Brian Javeline of MyOnlineToolbox.com, 15 Website Lead Ideas in 20 Minutes, the recording is available here.


We Want To See Your Receipts

By Michael Stone

What if you agreed on a price, now customer wants all receipts for material? Without a clearly written fixed price contract, it's a problem waiting to happen.


Promote Your Jobs for Free Leads

By Michael Stone

Marketing is necessary but it doesn’t have to be challenging. (video)


Where Do You Get Your Leads?

By Michael Stone

A new business wants to market your construction business and provide leads. It'll also give homeowners ammunition making it harder to sell jobs. There’s an alternative.


Making it Work, Profitably

By Michael Stone

My clients are constantly chiseling me down, everyone makes money on the jobs except me.


Making Selections for Their Project

By Michael Stone

If you're a remodeling or new home contractor, how can you get clients to make their selections before you write the contract?  Make it easy for your client.


What’s the Average Price of . . . ?

By Michael Stone

What’s the average cost per square foot for a remodel? Average contractor markup? Average contractor fee? There is no average anything in construction, and here’s why.


Winning the SEO Battle

By Devon Stone

Winning the SEO battle for contractor websites. Brian Javeline of MyOnlineToolbox, is joined by contractors telling what they’ve learned to now generate their own leads.


It Isn’t Your Price. It’s You

By Michael Stone

Address their fears so they feel safe purchasing from you.


Hire Your Own Subs

By Michael Stone

From time to time, you will go out to see a potential client about doing work for them and they’ll ask if they can choose their own subs for their job.


Finding Opportunities

By Michael Stone

Brainstorm business opportunities that your construction company could do, profitably, over the next twelve months.


Ten Cardinal Sales Rules

By Michael Stone

Ten Cardinal Rules for residential construction sales.


Take Charge of Your Company Name

By Michael Stone

Claim your business in local search sites and social media. Almost always free, only takes a minute, might bring in leads, and it will protect your name.


Insurance Repair Work

By Michael Stone

A construction magazine said half of their subscribers were in the path of a hurricane. How many of those contractors are taking advantage of the potential new business?


“I Work in a Competitive Market”

By Michael Stone

Don’t worry about what “the other guy” is charging.


Your Price is Too High

By Michael Stone

“Your price is too high” means you haven’t done your job as a salesperson.


How to Start Your Website

By Devon Stone

Building a website for your small business doesn’t have to be expensive, and it isn’t that complicated when you understand how it works.


Employees Can Generate Sales Leads

By Michael Stone

Employees, properly motivated, can generate a lot of new business for you.


Contract Cancellations

By Michael Stone

Cancellations happen, even with the best of salespeople. Clients have all kinds of reasons to cancel an agreement, and you need to be prepared.


Watermelons and Sales Leads

By Michael Stone

You might not think of watermelons, but one of our clever coaching clients shared a method he’s used to attract new leads for his business.


Design Agreements

By Michael Stone

All too often in construction sales, the focus is on selling a job. Let's rethink that; sell the design agreement so you can do the work needed before the job starts.


Marketing is just like planting seeds

By Michael Stone

For those who don’t understand the need for an ongoing marketing and advertising program for your business, let me try this analogy:


Transparency

By Michael Stone

Transparency, as I understand it, is opening your books to your potential clients and showing them all the numbers pertaining to a job you are quoting.


Connecting with Potential Clients

By Michael Stone

If you aren’t getting a response to your advertising, either printed or on the web, you aren’t connecting with your potential clients. You must connect with them.


Missed Opportunities Cost Money

By Michael Stone

I talk with contractors all the time who miss one opportunity after another and never seem to connect the cost of this miss.


A Bait and Switch Scam?

By Michael Stone

Last weekend I passed a billboard on the side of the road. It loudly declared, "We will build your new home for $32 a square foot."


Pass those savings along?

By Michael Stone

I read an article where the author talked about passing savings on to clients. This sounds well and good, but place it low on your priorities when putting a job together.


Learn to Paint Pictures

By Michael Stone

Construction (with the exception of new homes) is a service business. Your focus can't be on putting pieces together to build a job, it has to be on your clients.


The Job Price Isn’t Negotiable

By Michael Stone

I wrote a Blog post for another company recently stating that I didn't think it very smart to negotiate the price of your work. A reader agreed with me and said:


There’s Nothing Like a Handwritten Note

By Michael Stone

Someone asked the other day about sending cards or notes to old clients. They wanted to know what could be said that would be of interest to the client.


Cleaning Up After a Low Bid Contractor

By Michael Stone

This potential client had a house built using the “lowest bid” contractor. The builder cut corners, leaving out little details like collar ties on the roof rafters.


Your Price Isn’t Negotiable

By Michael Stone

I heard about a scam a local building owner is pulling on his subs. He has several properties and is apparently worth a considerable sum.


Should Salespeople Have to Generate Leads?

By Michael Stone

Someone asked me recently if I thought a salesperson for a construction-related company should help provide leads, and how many. Yes, they should help provide leads.


Who Asks the Questions?

By Michael Stone

Most contractors I talk to believe their neck of the woods is different. They believe their clients are more difficult to sell to than anywhere else in the country.


Newsletters for Marketing your Construction Business

By Michael Stone

We receive newsletters every week from construction-related companies around the US and Canada. We applaud all of you using a newsletter as a communication tool.


What Goes On a Business Card?

By Michael Stone

One of the topics was business cards, we spent several minutes reviewing the value of a business card and how it can help promote your company.


Price Your Services Fairly – Then Hold Your Ground

By Michael Stone

She got a call from a guy about cleaning 300 feet of his driveway. When she told him her minimum trip charge ($300), she heard the famous, "Your rates are too high!"


Market Your Business with Pumpkins

By Michael Stone

A marketing idea for your business: pumpkins.


A Market in Holiday Lighting

By Michael Stone

You need to start planning your advertising to potential clients that you are available to install and take down Christmas lights and decorations.


Selling On Price Alone

By Michael Stone

I was reminded again recently of the need for in-house training on what it takes to pay the bills in a construction related company.


Your Image in a Few Words

By Michael Stone

Have you thought about the image you project? It's important to create an association between what you provide and what your potential client wants or needs.


Construction Business Advertising Example

By Michael Stone

I don’t know much about their company, but I do know they understand communication with their customers and all those they do business with.


Practicing What We Preach

By Michael Stone

One of our goals is to improve the image …

Practicing What We Preach Read More »


Free Estimates: when you don’t give your work away

By Michael Stone

The contractor presented a design agreement with a $3,000 fee to design the job, 1/2 of the fee would be credited back when a contract was signed for the final job.


Fixed Price Quotations or Itemization?

By Michael Stone

I read an article telling general and specialty contractors to give itemized estimates. Oh joy. It talks about goodwill, trust, comparing estimates, and other tripe.


Upselling: Give Them Options

By Michael Stone

If you are in business, you are in sales. No rationalizing, you are in sales. If you don’t sell something at a profit, you are going to go away.


Charging for Estimates

By Michael Stone

If you’ve been in construction sales very long, you’ve met potential customers who ask for an estimate, but after a lot of work you learn they were just shopping.


Specialize in Construction – Stay Focused

By Michael Stone

After working with a few hundred coaching clients, I believe that the key to profitability in construction is staying focused on doing a few things well.


Getting Paid for Quotes – Part 1

By Michael Stone

Design agreements, letters of intent – get paid for written quotes.


I Work By Referral Only

By Michael Stone

In a recent class, I made the statement that referral leads should never account for more than 20% to 25% of your work. Boom, the argument was on.


Does Your Construction Business Have a Website?

By Michael Stone

Today websites are becoming a must as the customers who have money to spend are doing so by way of the Internet.


Customer Looking for Quotes

By Michael Stone

As a relatively new contractor, how do I win over prospects that are “looking for quotes” – homeowners who are “getting three bids” for their construction project


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