How to Close A Sale: Bad First Impressions & Scatterbrains Can Hurt

How to close a sale is much about first impressions.

This reality became more apparent to me recently while my wife and I sought a contractor to replace a concrete patio in our backyard. Our search began with a list of four local concrete contractors.  I phoned all four contractors within a 24 hour period.  Within the next 24 hours only two contractors had returned my phone call.

The remaining two contractors didn’t call back. One of the reasons why they did not know how to close a sale is that they didn’t call back.  Following up with prospects is key sales behavior.

For the purposes of this column I will focus on the two contractors who visited our home.

“Within the next 24 hours only two contractors had returned my phone call.”

My personal, real-time encounter with the first contractor began OK and then things quickly deteriorated.

While I showed him the old patio, the contractor excused himself for a minute to return to his truck so he could retrieve his clipboard and pen.

As he began taking notes, he then remembered that he needed his measuring tape which resulted in a second trip back to his truck.


While, these two brief interruptions might appear insignificant, I quickly began to feel a sense of unease about his scatterbrained and quirky behavior.

Needless to say, this didn’t do much to build my confidence in his organizational ability or lack thereof.

After his data collection and measurement he prepared to depart at which time I asked the scatterbrain for a business card.
My request resulted in another trip to his truck so that the he could retrieve a business card. The scatterbrain seemed like a nice guy, but his disorganized manner left me ill at ease.

“I quickly began to feel a sense of unease about his scatterbrained and quirky behavior.”

The next contractor, who visited our home, knew how to close a sale. His polite and efficient telephone follow up matched his in-person demeanor.

Most striking was what appeared to be a standard operating procedure which he practiced after his truck pulled up to our home. As I watched from my living room window, I observed the second contractor retrieve small, index card size paper from his truck’s sun visor.  This paper must have been a checklist.  In a methodical and deliberate manner he accumulated his required tools: His clipboard, measuring tape, calculator, business cards and pen.

He even looked at himself in a mirror to ensure that he looked presentable. My encounter with the process-based contractor left a favorable first impression.

My encounter with the quality-focused contractor was by far the best. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of my encounters was that the price quoted by the second contractor was not the lowest bid.  However, his services were perceived to be the best and he got the job.

In any home-improvement buying decision, price is only a small factor when customers consider the lasting impression a contractor will have on a beautiful home.

How to close a sale is to never underestimate the power of first impressions.


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