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.


3 Sales Copy Habits You Have To Stop Doing Today

By Patrick Walsh

Most home improvement sales copy is filled with nothing but generalities and platitudes. It gives no real reason why a prospect would want to take the next step.


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.


Stop Giving Free Estimates

By David Lupberger

You should stop providing free estimates. It’s called free consulting, and you won’t be successful giving away your time. (Guest Article from David Lupberger, Remodel Force)


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.  


Selling Your Services Online

By Michael Stone

We were recently asked about an online service designed to make it easier to handle sales calls.


Cancelling a Contract, Six Months Later

By Michael Stone

He’d signed an agreement with a client six months earlier for a bathroom remodel. Now the client wanted to cancel the job.


Investing in a Low-Value Home

By Michael Stone

Is it appropriate to build the job a homeowner wants and is ready to pay for, if the home value doesn’t support the project?


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?


Get a Commitment, Make the Sale

By Michael Stone

Getting a commitment from your potential client is a critical step to making the sale.


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.


Value Your Time

By Michael Stone

We’re looking at three scenarios that require a quick judgment call when you’re in front of a client. Handling these scenarios correctly protects your time and lets your client know how you do business.


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.


Sticking to the Budget

By Michael Stone

Potential clients always have a budget for their job. They have at least a rough idea of what they can afford or expect to spend on a project.


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.


Watching Their Budget

By Michael Stone

It’s always appropriate to ask a potential client where they will be getting the funds to pay for their project.


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.


Sales Issues: Make a Good First Impression

By Michael Stone

The first step toward making a sale is making a good first impression. That happens when you return your phone calls and show up to your appointments on time.


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.


Practice Listening

By Michael Stone

It’s the beginning of the holiday season, and I’d like to talk about a topic that can change both your sales ratio and your family relationships.


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.


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.


Closing Sales from a Distance

By Michael Stone

Sometimes a client requests an emailed proposal, and we’re sharing one possible response to that request. But when it’s physically impossible to present a proposal in person, there are ways to increase your chances of closing the sale from a distance.


What’s a Reasonable Advertising Budget?

By Michael Stone

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


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.


Remodelers AutoPilot

By Devon Stone

How to Turn More Leads into Paying Proje …

Remodelers AutoPilot Read More »


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.


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.


Paying Others

By Michael Stone

How do you pay a salesperson? If you were to work for yourself, would you be okay with the rules you’ve established for paying your salespeople?


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?


My Spouse Is Too Busy

By Michael Stone

“My spouse is too busy so I’m handling all the details. When I get all the info I need, we’ll talk about it and select the contractor we want.”


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.”


Show Search Engines Your Site is Alive

By Devon Stone

Lead Generation Companies don’t want you …

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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

Any job today can EASILY get you FREE le …

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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.


Everything In Life You Want, If . . .

By Michael Stone

When you go on a sales call, are you there to see how much money you’ll make on the job, or to help them get the remodel or new home/building or specialty work they want done?


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.


Sharing a Sales Appointment?

By Michael Stone

You’re on a scheduled sales call when the doorbell rings and in walks another contractor. Or you’re in the yard talking to the Owner and up walks another contractor.


Finding Opportunities

By Michael Stone

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


Making Business Work

By Michael Stone

We heard recently from a friend in Canada, and I’d like to share part of his note with you. Sometimes it’s encouraging to hear how someone else is making business work.


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.


“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..


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