Want to close on more jobs? Here are some tips that work at my company and that could work at yours as well:

Work to overcome objections. If a prospect says something like, “We don't have the money to do this job,” you should say something like: “I understand that roofs are expensive and I understand that it's a major investment.” By agreeing, you encourage customers to lower their guard. Then you can move on with your presentation.

Be completely confident when you present the price. Realize that when you give the prospect a price, your job is now really starting. Ignore comments like, “The price is too high,” or “I can't afford it.” Keep working. Stay comfortable and stay in the saddle.

When you measure the job, thoroughly assess the home and identify problems. Then, on the second call, sell solutions to problems, as opposed to just selling roofing, siding, or windows.

Get the top person in your company (the owner or sales manager) to tape his presentation, especially as it concerns products and the company story. Listen to this tape over and over until you make the material yours.

Don't assume the customer has all the money for the job. Always offer financing and have multiple options. For example, I just sold a $24,000 roof, soffit, and fascia job. The people are on a fixed income, but financing got this deal done.

On a measure call, take outstanding pictures of the home's problems. Make 8-by-10 color pictures and show them to the home owner when you're on your second call. For instance, in a recent canvass window lead, I took pictures of the windows to show to the homeowners. As I was writing up the contract for $9,000 worth of windows, the wife said: “I see my home every day but I had no idea how horrible these windows look.”

Be polite, courteous, and friendly. One study asked: What is the No. 1 quality you most like in a salesperson? The most common answer: being nice. That doesn't mean you don't follow the system or that you try to schmooze prospects into the sale. Be genuine.

Spend your time and attention on the customer and their interests, not your own.

Don't spend excessive time petting the goldfish. Try to give each customer one sincere compliment on their home, pet, kids, etc. Then go straight to the problems you found with the job pictures.

Attitude determines altitude. If you go to work planning to do a lot of bidding, chances are you will do just that. If you go to work planning to do a lot of selling, chances are you will sell.

Learn from every presentation, whether sold or not. Ask yourself two questions right after the call: 1. What did I do well? and 2. What could I have done better? Then do better on the next call. This is called “continuous improvement.” Once you've completed this exercise, forget the people who didn't buy. Concentrate on what you did for the people who did buy, and think about these positive experiences as often as possible.

Get your training time. Salespeople spend hundreds of hours in the car traveling. Don't listen to music, listen to training tapes.

When manufacturer reps come to your company to go over the products you're selling, pick their brains. Take the time to learn what most salespeople don't bother learning, such as the basics of attic ventilation, what makes your windows different, or why your shingles are superior.

In this business, it's easy to shine. The level of competition is so low that you will be the best if you put your mind to it and your back into it. —Ralph Feurer is co-owner of Norton's Quality Exteriors, a roofing, siding, and window company in Midvale, Utah.