How to Grow Your Painting Business, Part 4: Mastering Sales

March 4th, 2015 | Eric Barstow | Painting Business Articles, Videos | No Comments


Hi this is Eric Barstow, the co-owner of Painter Choice and the founder of Painting Business Pro. This is the fourth video in a series of six videos about how to systematically and step-by-step grow your painting business.

The first video we did an overview and the second video, we talked about how to free your time up namely in the production area. We spent too much time in production, we need to free that time so we can focus on marketing and sales. And the third video we talked about the balance of marketing and sales and how you might you know once you start to free some of that time, where do you start marketing and how do you start filling some that free time with sales to start growing your business. We also talked about how critically important sales is and how your biggest, ultimately the biggest limitation to growing your business is going to be your sales ability because you can only afford certain marketing services depending on how good you are at sales. So you really limit the number of potential customers you can even get by not being good enough at sales to service those customers.

So in this video, we want to talk about sales, I’ve got some good news and some bad news, the good news is that I’ve been doing this for ten years and I’ve been training hundreds of thousands of people on sales and I love training sales, I could talk about sales for weeks. The bad news is that I could talk about sales for weeks, if I could tell you something in 10 minute video that’s going to take your sales from 25% to 50%, that would be incredible. Unfortunately I can’t, I can’t do that, the only way to really get really great at sales is by a ton of practice and by learning. So we’re going to kind of cover that though and the first – so we’ll just get right into it.

So the first step in mastering sales and when we talk about mastering sales, what we’re really trying to do is we’re trying to get the biggest bang for our buck. So if we spend a thousand dollars on a marketing service, we want to maximize how much revenue we get out of that thousand dollars, that’s really what we’re talking about when we talk about sales. Because the first part of sales is actually converting the lead and this isn’t, we bump into sales but this isn’t traditionally what you might think of when you think sales. So we get a customer who comes to us, maybe it’s a referral, maybe it’s from a pay per lead service, maybe it’s from our website, or maybe whatever, we get a lead. The first most important thing is to convert your leads and since many of you will probably be starting with the pay per lead service, just because they’re great services, we’ll talk about pay per lead services specifically.

So the ways those services usually work is a customer summit their information online requesting quotes and the moment that they summit that request, we get an email or text message or maybe both and we can call that customer to set up the lead. So there’s a pretty basic process to this, first is, the first most important thing with all of your leads, you have to call on quickly. Customers, homeowners, they don’t want to spend their time looking around for painters all day, so if they ask for a quote from you or they call your company online or they submit their information online and they don’t get contacted by anyone for like sometimes even a few hours, they will just go look somewhere else. It is unbelievably easy to find a painting contractor now with Google, you just go on Google, you type painting contractor and there is thirty of them. It’s not hard to find painters, it is hard however to find painters that respond to phone calls and emails promptly. So if you’re one of the people who get a lead and you contact the customer instantly and instantly I really do mean instantly, call them within 10 minutes at the most, call them, leave a professional voicemail. Professional voicemail might be something like this, “ring ring, hey John this is Eric Barstow with Foothills Painting, I noticed you put through a request on our website for an estimate; I just wanted to give you a call and see we can set up a time to get out there and get you a quote. Really looking forward to hearing from you, you can reach me at this phone number, if I don’t hear from you, I’ll try again in a couple days and we would love to set up a time to get you a quote for your project.” Simple, professional, let them know you’ll try them again. People are busy, don’t freak out if your leads don’t answer, a lot of these people aren’t going to answer.

Second thing I always do with leads, is if you don’t reach them on the first phone call, send them an email, professional email, “hey John this is Eric from Foothills Panting and I noticed that you know you submitted a request on our website to get a quote for your next year painting project, really looking forward to getting you an estimate, you can reach me by email or by this phone number or I’ll try calling you again in a couple days.” You don’t get a hold of them there, try them later that day or the next day, try the next day, and maybe call the first three days and then maybe wait a couple of days, then maybe send another email, then maybe try sending a text a week later. And you’ll just slowly start spacing out how frequently you contact that Customer until maybe after five to ten tries, may be you declare it as a dead lead. But you want to be really diligent because I can’t tell you how many jobs we’ve won because we were the only company that kept following up six months later, no one else called, they were still going to paint, we were just the company that kept calling, so they went with us. So follow-up, just being a little bit better than the next guy with follow-up is easy to do, which kind of brings me to my next point which is “professional.” So this seems obvious but in this industry there’s not a lot of professionalism in the sales process, so if you can just be a little bit more professional than the next guy, that’s going to set you above.

So some really easy things you can do right away to be more professional is have a written contract, you know make sure that you have a nice professional written contract that you’re not right and also if you’re going to deliver an electronic estimate, like a digital one, like you’re going to go home and type it up, get it to them as soon as possible, do not wait three days, do not wait a week, I can’t tell you how many jobs I win because the other painter took two weeks to get the quote over. Get it to them right away and make sure it’s written, it’s on a business card, it’s not verbal, make sure it’s a professional looking agreement. The next thing that you can do is have a professional estimate, so there’s another couple videos I have on YouTube that you can watch about sales that are going to go into you know there’s one that’s setting up the perfect estimate and that walks through you know our initial phone call to the customer, it’s a really detailed phone call, it sets up an hour and a half long estimate where we’re going to meet with the customer, walk the house with them, we’re going to do our estimate right there and we’re going to write up the bid right on the spot. And just by doing our process that way, we separate ourselves and look more professional.

The next thing you can do is you can make a really basic client manual; basically just a small binder that’s got a page that’s about you, your warranty information, some before and after pictures, some testimonials and just provide that to the customers. That’s another way that you can just look a little more professional and then lastly like just be professional, dress professional you know and talk professionally and listen. So a lot of that professionalism actually kind of leads into this third point which is you just got to learn, so much of sales is learned over time. I’ve trained so many people in sales and it just takes time and practice and diligence and training and learning and I’ve done a ton of personal development in training and learning and I’ve had great mentors and coaches that have helped me get really good at sales but unfortunately it’s not just a quick fix like, “hey here is how you do great sales.” So I do have a couple other videos where I go into more detail on a sales process, I encourage you to check those out. I also offer a course on my Painting Business Pro course that is heavy on sales, there’s probably about two or three hours of audio including all the scripts and everything like our initial call script, the sales script, the estimate, how we schedule and structure the estimate, all that is included in there and I actually was just talking with a guy last night who had got the course and he’s in New York City, his name is Ritch and he mentions me that before he got my course, he was selling about 35,000 to $50,000 a month and then he bought my course last March and from April to November, he sold a $125,000 a month. He said he almost quadrupled the sales; he sold over a million dollars himself implementing some sales techniques I talked about in that course.

Unfortunately, I can’t fit all them into a 10-minute video, so this is kind of what I’ve got for now, I would encourage you to just keep learning. There so many resources online, not just my resources, there’s a ton of great sales trainers, I mean there’s a ton of resources out there, programs and seminars in ways that you can continually develop yourself with sales. I do have some really good resources that I would recommend and I’ll put in the comments below up, I’ll put links to those other video so you can start to learn more about sales.

But just to recap, this first part is really important, if you do half ass job converting your leads and you set up half as many as the next guy, your sales rate, your overall return on marketing is going to be half. So this is a really important one that you can implement right away that will make a big impact on your return with your marketing dollars spent. Being professional, couple of things you can do right away like we talked about, is one, watch my video on how to set up the perfect estimate, it’s a very professional call, two do a confirmation call and confirm your appointment, three, physically meet with the customer, walked them around the house and customize the estimate to them, four, have a professional contract and if you’re going to email them something, get it to them by the end of the day, over delivered on their expectations, if they think it’s going to be tomorrow, get it to them today, four, make a professional client manual and then, was that four or five? I don’t know, I even lost count. Another thing you do is dress professional, look professional, be professional, talk professional and then the last thing is just keep learning, like get hungry about sales, sales makes you so much money, if you just get 10% better at sales. So I just want to break down a quick number for you, so if you get 10%, you increase your sales rate by 10%. Let’s say in a typical year, let’s just say you do 100 estimates, so you do 100 estimates, you increase your sales rate this year by 10%, so you get an extra ten jobs this year by getting an extra ten jobs at $3,000 a job, that’s an extra $30 K, that’s terrible is a 30k, $30,000 in revenue is what you get. Let’s say your profit margin is 20%, that’s an extra six grand, you cannot work any more time, like you work the exact same amount and you can make an extra $6,000 by increasing your sales rate only 10%. And that’s if you only do a 100 estimate a year; imagine if you’re doing 200 estimates a year, 300 estimate year. If you did 300 estimates a year and increase it by 20%, you get another 60 jobs. Imagine if you had 60 more jobs without having to do any more estimates, you would be a little bit busier managing your production manager but if you followed my advice in the second video, you shouldn’t have to deal with a lot of that production, you should have people in place and great system so that you can just continue to grow.

So the best place that you can put your time is in raising that sales ability, getting your sales better and the best way to do that, is learning and practice. Even if you don’t take anyone’s advice, just go do 500 estimates, you’ll be a much better sales person after 500 estimates if you’re actively focusing on being better. So my best advice to you about doing great at sales, mastering sales, is practice, practice, practice, it’s a never-ending game, have fun with it and serve your customers. Which actually reminds me about the last thing I’ll say, which I found to be that easiest way to naturally do great sales is care more about your customer than you do about making the sale. If you care more about your customer than you care about making the sale, you will sell more than anyone else out there and it’s easier said than done. But you really set your personal agenda aside and you go deliver an amazingly detailed, thorough customize estimate for your customers and really put their concerns first and that’s the best way that you can immediately get better at sales.

So I’d love to keep talking about it but I also want to keep this video short. So if you have any questions put in the comments below, I’m happy to respond to all of them and I’ll keep putting out great stuff about sales but please, get hungry, go get good at sales, go make yourself some more money and in the next video, we’re going to talk a little bit more about marketing, so see you there.


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