View Full Version : close the sale on the spot or call back?

03-03-2001, 05:48 AM
Just wondering how many try and close the sale of a potential property on the spot while giving estimate or do you give the estimate and leave a proposal form for the services included and call back in a day or two and ask if they are interested in having you work for them?


03-03-2001, 06:03 AM
I always ask for the sale before I leave. If they need time to think about it, I will explain to them I will call them in 2 or 3 days to bring closure to their request. I do not pressure sell. Typically if I get the I need a week or so to think about it- I know they are most likely "shopping" for the chapest price. I try not to leave a service agreemnt in a mailbox. I know of several competitors who will review your agreement in the mailbox and lower their prices just to get the job- but thats for another thread.
If I do leave it in the box I still ask for the sale when I
speak with them.


mowing king
03-03-2001, 06:13 AM
I teach my sales staff to always close onthe first visit,if at all possible. Except for larger landscape projects,we have a sales system with pricing charts and fill in the blank estimating forms. We can give a price during the first visit and run check closes along the way and finish with the order form close then get the 50% deposit,thank them and get going to the next appt.

someone always makes a sale. Either they sold you on why thay can't or won't buy from you OR you sold them that your their new landscaper.

03-03-2001, 10:22 AM
Jim Lewis has a great idea about when you have to leave a service agreement at the door. You can put it in a company envelope leave it on the door, and then its protected from the competitons eyes.

I also think that Joes got it just about right for dealing with the potential clients.

Hope this helps.

lawrence stone
03-03-2001, 10:59 AM
I do my site visits on Tuesday PM and Saturday only. No exceptions. I prefer Saturday cuz you can get walk up estimates from other home owners (who happen to be home on Sat.).

I leave a tri fold flyer and a business card on a magnet.
I just take measurements and make notes on a in house site visit form I developed years ago. I have all my services list on this from and I just fill the the sq footage.

Then I do the estimate at home and transpose a proposal on MS Word. Then I send a personalize thank you letter with two copies of my proposal with a small S.A.S.E.

PS I also request a check for the first months services.
This gets them in the habit of paying you.

[Edited by lawrence stone on 03-03-2001 at 03:03 PM]

03-03-2001, 11:41 AM
Stone thats some great ideas. I hadnt thought about asking them to send in a check for the first months services at the time of proposal. I usually waited til after the second mowing and then got them on track that way.

Things for me to weigh as far as options go. I thought it would be better to show them what we can do if its a new client before I presented them with a bill.

However, we have more often than not cut the first two times with a grimaced face and fingers crossed. I think I will try your methodology if we feel a little incertain as we do at times.


03-03-2001, 11:45 AM
You dont ahve any trouble collecting the first month pay from them without having provided any services? This seems to me that the customers would raise an eyebrow if I proposed this method.

03-03-2001, 11:51 AM
Hello Everybody:

I learned after a period of time that it was best to close the sale on the Spot on the first visit!

It wasn't quite as professional bid, I just filled in the blanks & presented it on the spot, butt back then nobody did that anyway, so they were still impressed. No I didn't push it, I just let them know that the sooner a decision was made the sooner I could fit them in my schedule & I could get started to work.:-) I also put a time limit of 30 days on there or I would have to rebid.

Things are different now with Technology these days, now you can carry laptop & printer on the job.

I would have a presentation burned on a cd & would let that occupy their time, while I'm out taking measurements. I would try to have the presentation long enough that they would be just finishing up as I come back with raw figures.

Like I said in another post I would go to great lengths with the presentation on the CD have all kinds of Mumbo Jumbo on it. Before & After Pictures, LOL I would even put Recipes on there & anything else I could think of to give it percieved value & to make them want to keep it.

Why so if they have a puter with Cd or they had a friend that did I would leave them the Cd Presentation. I would have the cover & lable done up real nice in full color with my Company Name, Logo & Phone numbers on their TOO! All it is, is just a Great Silent Salesman that could be working for you later.

Then I would talk a few minutes with potential customer, then I would input figures into my program on my laptop & give them the estimate & tell them that I got to goto my truck for a minute, this gives them time to think about it or talk it over.

Then when I'm at my truck I would print out my bid proposal & go back presenting it to them.

Then the rest is left up to them! What if car salesmen told you that they get back with you later about price on car?

Stone is right about Saturdays, I with Potential Residential Customers did most my bids in the late afternoons. That way both Spouses would be home & that just speeded up the whole process. I also tried to make sure they were home to, because not near as good of results if they not home?

Due to my JawJa RedNeck Religion (Beer Drinking) I reserved Saturdays for working on Equipment, Drinking Beer, Smoking Cigarettes & Catching up on all the Cursing that I couldn't do during the week! :-)

With todays technology you can really KICK ARSE & take names. You be the Competition & let the others try to follow & keep Up.

lawrence stone
03-03-2001, 12:25 PM
Originally posted by syzer
You dont ahve any trouble collecting the first month pay from them without having provided any services? This seems to me that the customers would raise an eyebrow if I proposed this method.

At my first visit I dethatch, aerate, apply seed, and fertilizer. I have too much time and materials invested in the first visit if they forget to pay me. Also there is a $100 early cancellation penalty in my contract.

It's my way or the highway.

03-03-2001, 01:43 PM
All great answers, the cd sounds like a good way to go! I have been thinking of making up a presentation package with all the info about starting times, how not bagging can be beneficial for the lawn, equipment used, explain a little bit about the company, courteous, uniformed all that, types of fertilizer used, different packages offered, ect, ect. Can hand this to them while I go take measurements even though you already got the price figured out by looking at the property. I just want to kill time while they go over the info pack and consider the benefits. This just helps take the presure off everyone and then its as easy as coming back and writing the estimate and asking if they have any questions. If all the info is in pack it should be pretty much spelled out. Also like to add at the end that we are only taking on xxx amount of customers this season to keep our quality up to our high standards so the sooner they sign on the better. Just like to see how everyone else is doing it and what they think of this way. Just seems easier then showing up at the door with piece of paper in hand and getting bombarded with questions. Thanks All.


03-03-2001, 02:32 PM
50% of the time I show up to give a bid and nobody is home. I leave the estimate on the door in an envelope as Kris mentioned.

Another 25% of the time, I am speaking to the wife, who prefers to check with her husband first before making decisions. Often they will tell me this before I get to the close. So I just thank them for calling us and tell them I'll look forward to hearing from them. If they don't speak first, I may try to close the sell politely with something like, "We are in your area every thursday. Would you like me to add you to our schedule?"

Another 25% of the time, the husband or both of them are home. Again, I'll use the sentence above to see if they are interested in signing up right there and then. But I never pressure and if they tell me they'd like to think about it I am totally fine with that.

I think for our business it's not as important to close the sell right on the spot as it is in other industries. Main reason being; I am confident in our programs. We have very competitive prices, we have a professional image, we have a state of the art web site with pics and testimonials, etc. I kind of want them to look around. Because I know 90% of my competition doesn't have it as "together" as we do. So I am not insecure. I am fairly confident they'll call back.

03-03-2001, 02:40 PM
As for Stone's comments on giving estimates 2 days per week, I am sure it works well for him but I am not sure it's the best advice for everyone to follow. It depends on your setup, marketing, and how agressively you want to build business.

I take a more agressive approach. For one, I couldn't give estimates only two days per week anyway. I get anywhere from 5-10 calls per day in the spring. If I saved those up for 3.5 days I'd have way too many estimates to give.

More importantly, I'd be missing the boat on a lot of jobs if I didn't respond to calls quickly. A lot of people already have a figure in their head when they call. And they'll give the job to the first company who shows up, appears to be professional, and who's price is at or below what they figured. When I leave estimates for people, I will land 50% of those bids either on the spot or that night when they get home. If another contractor were coming in 2 days, he will lose out because I already got the job.

If making people wait is not a concern of yours and you don't mind losing those customers then Stone's approach is fine. But if you want more jobs quickly, you'd better get out there and give them an estimate quickly.

03-03-2001, 03:41 PM
Hello Jimlewis:

Well it sounds like you are doing a lot better than most of us are doing.:-) 5 to 10 bids a day & Close 50% of all bids. WOW

If you are giving that many bids & closing that many sales. I would raise my prices! You might find out that you can get a extra 10% or more per job? I am not that much interested in what others are charging, I want to make every dime I can & then some.

I never felt insecure, I just want to get the bidding over with & save as much time as I can, anyway I can.:-)

Just an Example:
Steakout has Prime Rib for $6.99, Outback Steak House has Prime Rib for $18.99. When I was in the business if folks wanted my Prime Rib it was more & they paid for it because I was serving it?

Money is Work Divided by Time!

03-03-2001, 05:45 PM
Any time a sale person is selling me a major
sevice or item,he is always told up front that
we have a rule that we never buy at time of presentation.
We take atleast 3 days to think it over.Started that
30 yrs ago after we bought encyclopedias.
At the time we lived in two rooms.


03-03-2001, 09:12 PM
Well, landing 50% of the bids we give is nice. And I do start raising prices as we get more calls and are booked. And I not even close to cheap. We land the jobs we do because we have a good presentation and are relatively well known in our city. In some neighborhoods, we're the premeir company. So our reputation helps us a lot.

But I hate to rape people so I try to give fair prices that are profitable for us and still won't break the customer's wallet. I'd rather be booked for a month and still be landing 50% of my jobs than raise my prices but only be booked for a week or so.

Besides, as long as I am making a good profit, I don't care how busy we get. It's easy to hire more workers and I have the equipment to handle another whole crew if need be. So when we get that busy, I just hire more helpers. Works out well for us.

03-03-2001, 09:16 PM
If only Good help was that easy to find here in PA!

03-03-2001, 09:21 PM
Trust me, it aint that easy to find good help here either. Oregon has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. Sometimes I`ll go through 3 or 4 guys in 1 month before I find a good one. But I`m getting a lot better at finding them nowadays. There are a lot of ways you can improve your chances of finding a good reliable worker. Comes with experience. But that`s a whole other subject....

It`s tough all over though, so don`t feel like your alone.

lawrence stone
03-03-2001, 09:32 PM
Jim Lewis wrote:

>But I hate to rape people so I try to give fair prices that are profitable for us and still won't break the customer's wallet.

This is the key to RETAINING long term Residential maint. customers.

If you price your services real high they are more likely to shop around.

03-03-2001, 09:39 PM
Grassmaster said,

"Due to my JawJa RedNeck Religion (Beer Drinking) I reserved Saturdays for working on Equipment, Drinking Beer, Smoking Cigarettes & Catching up on all the Cursing that I couldn't do during the week! :-)"

I think I know you...I see you every time I look in the mirror! LOL