How do you preempt homeowners’ budget objections? “You have only one chance to get it right,” says Sandler sales trainer Chip Doyle. “Once prospects get your proposal, the selling is over.”

First, help the prospect to determine if a remodel even makes financial sense. “The bottom line is that they need to convince themselves,” Doyle says. Help them to articulate their objective, and respond with an appropriate recommendation. Do they plan to move in a year, or do they need to address a long-term issue, such as accommodating aging relatives or a baby on the way?

Spending Muscle

The days of quick loans and abundant home equity are gone. So don’t just ask for the range your prospects are willing to spend; clarify their ability to spend — how they’ll finance the purchase and/or where funds will come from. “It takes only one ‘the bank didn’t approve us’ to make you realize you’ve wasted hours or days on a proposal that should have been structured differently or discussed with different influencers,” Doyle says.

Good Timing

Have a specific place in your selling system to disclose your fees — not at the beginning or, for that matter, when you actually submit your proposal. “The proposal should be anticlimactic, not surprising,” Doyle says. Having a systematic process also takes some emotional pressure off you.

More from Doyle at Mention “Remodeling Magazine” to receive his free e-letter.

—Leah Thayer, senior editor, REMODELING.