By Carl

sales, Sales Mistakes, sales training

A selling estimator is a bridge that brings the company and customers too one mind. When customers wish for a specific painting service, it’s the job of the estimator to help them realize it’s the quality of job that matters over anything else. The estimator understands the specific needs of a target customer and offers advice accordingly. However, doing the same is not an easy task, especially if you’re priced at the higher end of a completive market area like painting and remodeling. A lot can go wrong during a sales pitch. In this article, we have mentioned some of the sales mistakes most make when selling painting services.

Discussed price too early or too late

Pricing is a delicate matter in sales and services. How you introduce pricing in your discussion with clients can have a significant impact on sales. You have to draw a line about when and how to discuss your service pricing with clients. The key is to mention the pricing around 3 to 4 times in a single conversation. Discussing pricing more than five times can become counterproductive.

So when to discuss the price?

According to top sales conversations data, you should propose the cost estimation within 30 minutes of your opening speech. It is actually seen that if a prospect is interested in your business, then he/she will most likely ask for the pricing within a 42-45 minute mark. Similarly, if you want to keep it short, talk pricing between 13-20 minutes.

Not taking notes during the call

According to a survey by Ariel Group, more than 85 percent of clients think positively about salespersons when they take notes during a conversation. Therefore, the likelihood of your clients falling into the same category is relatively high. Well, most of you might think of giving your full attention to your clients during conversations. However, it may also look odd to take notes while having a conversation. So how do you do it?

Ask for their permission: It is a great way to hold your client’s attention. First, ask them whether they are comfortable with you taking notes. It will build the rapport and trust factor.

Write down in codes or keywords: You cannot write down every word coming down your client’s mouth. Therefore, focus on writing key points instead of the whole sentence. Use keywords in a way that you can still recognize them after 30 days. For example, if the customer wishes for a granite tabletop, then write it with keywords such as “name of the customer” followed by “granite countertop”. Review your notes after the meeting and rewrite them more clearly later.

Not establishing credibility statement

Trust is an essential element in a sale. If they don’t trust you, then they won’t do business with you. There is only one way to do it- through building a well-developed credibility statement designed to help you sell your painting services at higher prices. Keep it simple and effective. Rather than elaborating how you paint the house, let them know how their house will look after you paint it. Spend more time talking about value and less on technology.

Not asking for customers commitment

Gaining customer commitment should be the primary goal of all sales professionals. According to recent research, around 64 percent of salespeople fail to ask customers for commitment. Prepare a list of exceptionally commitment questions that entirely focuses on improving closing rates. This further helps in strengthening sales rep and team performance.

Lack of structured questions

An estimator needs to systematically ask the right questions in order to help the customer understand that what they want most in a paint job and how exactly the company does it the best.It would help if you drafted the questionnaire to gain insight into customers’ needs and convince them to spend more for better results.

Asking to close the order in an improper way

Most painting contractors often face problems while closing the deal.

What to do when the prospect says, “I will let you know” or “let me think about it.”

There are certain ways to ask a prospect to close the sale but here is the best one-

Ask them, “Would you like to get on our schedule?” It would create the maximum impact.

Weak presentation or demonstration structure

Instead of bragging about what you have done in the past, you must focus on the project goals. So prepare a great historical review, including how you will present the proposal/estimateduring the demonstration.

Not following up with the customer

Even though you are knee-deep in work in a busy season, you shouldn’t ignore a prospect. You must remember that your prospects might be approached by other contractors as well. Therefore, it’s essential to follow up with your customers promptly before they go with someone else.

Failure to establish a pain/ gain value proposition

Customers will not fall for your service just because your service comes with great benefits than other painting contractors. Okay, that maybe one added bonus for you but that’s not what customers look for while listening to your pitch. They are only interested how good you’re at solving their problems. Can you help them finish the project fast? Can you offer bespoke service without burning a hole in their pockets? If yes, then how? Prioritize their problems and offer solutions that no other contractor can possibly attain at your estimated budget. Once they see you have a clear pain/gain proposition to their advantage, it will hardly take more time to close the deal.

Do not give out too much information until you are sure the client is interested in doing business with you. Most clients love to get insights without any business intent. There is one thing about being helpful to a client, but you must keep it under limits. Instead of offering information, try to provide solutions in the form of a sales offering.

Making promises you can’t keep

Overpromising is the wrong way to start a relationship. Hiding information, exaggerating your capabilities can be devastating for your business. Instead of overselling, ask the right questions to clients and nudge your prospect in the right direction. Another way to impress clients is to undersell and over-deliver. If your clients’ expectations are low and they receive a better experience, you can easily win them over for the next project.

Overall, it’s better to sell less while sticking with value rather than making more through dishonesty. Lies can only work for the short term.

Not creating psychological urgency

Urgency is a psychological trigger deep-rooted inside the head of the individual. Nobody likes to miss a good thing. Therefore, creating urgency can actually help you to convince a prospective customer to act fast. Take some time to read the underlying requirements of your customer. For example, is she/he wants to remodel the house to impress others? In such a case, you can suggest to them some exclusive ideas saying the raw materials need to be ordered a week before.


Selling a service is an art, and it should be done systematically. If you want to change your approach to estimation, then start by adopting one or two strategies at a time in your following sales conversation. As soon as you thoroughly master the new methods, then add one more sales technique until you master all of them.

Carl Utter

About the author

Carl’s sales career spans almost 30 years in all phases of sales management, sales training, sales coaching, and consulting. He founded The Training Group Inc. in 2000 where he trained and developed some of the largest Painting Contractors in the Country.

In 2017 he made a major decision to narrow his focus on Painting and Remodeling contractors who struggle to get customer to pay more for premium services. Today he is the founder of Contractor Growth Strategy, and his mission is to transform the sales and estimating industry by teaching his world re-known client- Centric Selling System. Carl Believes that premium contractors deserve to charge a premium price. The Client Centric selling system was designed for premium contractors, so they had a systematic way to sell and close projects when the price they charge is higher than the majority of competitors.

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