I met a roofing contractor not long ago who told me that his salespeople always make two calls and close 80% to 90% of those second appointments. Here’s how it works.

The first call has the salesperson going out to the house in response to any request for a price or service. It could be a roof repair or a roof replacement. The house could be five minutes or an hour away from the office. Whoever takes that call at the company doesn’t ask that all buying parties be present. The salesperson’s job at that first appointment is to gather the information he needs to prepare a proposal, then return to sell it.

Many Methods

I wondered about the need for that second appointment when it seems that with adequate preparation everything could be accomplished that needed to be accomplished to ask for the business on that first call. So I asked the roofing contractor, and the answer was that this process gets homeowners to trust the company enough to drop their guard.

OK, I thought, but what happens if, after you’ve measured and returned to the office to prepare your proposal, your competitor comes out to the house and lays out a price? And what if that salesperson comes out to the house and it’s a job the company can’t do or shouldn’t do? What if the homeowner needs it and wants it but can’t afford to pay for it, even with financing?

Window and siding companies typically don’t have the luxury of a second call. What they do instead is get as much information as they can over the phone when the call comes in. Why are you calling? What’s the age of the house? How long have you lived there? How long do you plan to live there?

Qualify the lead ahead of time and specify what needs to happen on that first call (all buying parties present, etc.) and you reduce the chance that that salesperson will run an appointment where there isn’t the slightest possibility of the homeowner buying then and there.

Preparation to the Pre-Close

Part of this is the nature of the work. When someone calls a roofing company it’s because they have a problem. If the company can’t come up with a solution — say the roof requires extensive structural work — or the homeowner can’t afford the job, the salesperson will find that out when he gets there.

A window or siding salesperson can only ask for that business on the first call because the company took the trouble to qualify the appointment. That way he knows that the homeowner is interested and he can present them with a price that’s both profitable for the company and that fairly compensates the sales rep.

Homeowners want a price and maybe, if they can’t afford to pay cash, they want terms. Personally, I would be willing to do a lot – short of losing money – to avoid having to go back out to the house. If I have to come down, I come down. If I have to call the manager and get some kind of authorization or agreement, I do that. I’m going to do everything I can to see if I can get that job while I’m there. There may be no second chance. —Grant Winstead operates the Success Sales System That Never Fails, designed to help home improvement owners and salespeople close at higher rates and “put more profits in your pocket.” Reach him at [email protected] or 703.728.4966.