By Carl

contractor sales training, free painting leads

This weekend I received an email from Fred and Peter, a client of mine on the West Coast. I was really glad to see this email because it was only a few months back that things were very different.

Here is their Story-

Peter and his general manager Fred were running a $2m a year residential painting business in a major west coast market. A very well known company with years in business, and an impeccable reputation.

These men were honest, hard working and just finished steering the company through a very difficult couple of covid years.

Everyday leads came in, the two estimators ran those leads, but despite the stellar reputation and 35 years as a pillar in their community the close rates were far below the industry average.

Something had to change

Peter and Fred knew something needed to change, but couldn’t quite put their finger on what they needed to do. As inflation set in, they started raising  prices to keep  the margins where they needed to be, close rates went down even more.

The Problem was starting to Compound

Peter and Fred knew if inflation cost kept going up, supply chain shortages persisted, sales forecasts were looking difficult. This was starting to effect payroll and because of that they were worried they would need to lay-off some well seasoned painters they had work so hard to recruit and train. Because of that they feared losing some great  employees to the hated cross town rival who was always stealing there leads, try to recruit their people out from under them and undercutting their price every chance they got.

That is when fate intervened

This continued into early 2022, until finally they realized something had to change this year.  Fred happened to be talking with a painting contractor up north, Andy, who had shared with Fred, that he had had a similar problem. Fred asked what he had done to turn it around? Andy explained how one of his managers had been involved with an East Coast sales trainer and that” close rates were up nearly 20%, ave sales had improved and he had both of his new estimators selling over $1.3M each, a year.

Could this be exactly What Fred needed?

Fred was stunned at the results Andy was able to achieve. Fred asked “do you think it was the training?” “Absolutely,” Andy answered. “ We put every estimator we hire, through this program and we outsell other contractors, even when we are as much as double in price. It’s been a great investment “

In just a few days

Only a couple of days had passed before I got a call from Fred, and Pete. They were motivated to get started on their sales improvement Journey.

Here is what we did them and here are the results

  1. We did a very detailed sales skills assessment to identify the strengths and the weaknesses of each estimator. The FINXS 18 assessment looks at 18 cortical skills.
  2. Next we worked with the estimators and managers to put together a detailed development plan that was customized to the specific needs of their estimators.
  3. The two estimators, and the their manager were in Client-Centric selling sales training program.
  4. Implemented the Contractor Growth Strategy training and Development concept of ongoing reinforcement to create a deep dive into the skills needed to turnaround the sales results
  5. We started a monthly coaching program with the estimators to work on issues they were running into on sales calls.
  6. Started tracking and measuring the results and sharing the results with the estimators.

Ever since then, sales and close rates are going up. As inflation kicked in Pete and Freds two estimators are learning how to sell at higher prices.

In conclusion. When you give estimators a system, assess the current skills that need improving, focus on results you’re going to have real success.

Now Pete and Fred are making great gross margins, they are keeping all the best painter busy and happy, and best of all they can both sleep better now that shipped has been turnaround.

So here is the email I received. These are real results and only the names have been tampered with.

They started in February and by the end of July here is what they’ve been able to accomplish.

Before winning 2.5 out of 10 estimates to 4.4 out of every ten estimate s

So here’s what happened. Close rates went from 24% to 44%. For Gary and the other estimator, George Went from 24% to 33% close rates.

That means for every ten estimates there banking an addition $15,750.00

 Three Month Rolling Average Close Rates

Uses all occurrences of bids and all occurrences of wins

Estimator      3 Mo Roll       Close/Bid %       YTD Ave Job

Gary            Feb-April              28.0 %         $6,568

                     Mar-May               24.5%        $8,482

                      Apr-June              28.9%        $7,475

                      May-July               44.7%       $ 9,211


George       Feb-April              26.3 %        $ 6,479

                      Mar-May               24.4%        $7,686

                      Apr-Jun                30.4 %        $ 7,337

                      May-Jun               33.3%         $ 7,138

I’m really proud of what Pete and Fred have been able to accomplish. George and Gary are great guys to work with. I really enjoy how committed they are to improving their sales ability. They take the work seriously and it just goes to show what can happen when you

  1. Get the right people. Who truly desire improvement.
  2. Doing the right things. Having a sales system that works
  3. The right way. – Using real Client Centric tactics that keeps the customer front and center.

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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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