A lot of your prospects think they need three bids from three different contractors. Everything they've read advises them to do that. In fact, a lot of you reading this probably make that suggestion in your company's marketing materials.

When you can't do the job or aren't in a position to recommend someone, that's the safe thing to suggest.

But if getting three estimates is about securing the lowest price, chances are good that homeowner is going to get lowballed and possibly taken. Over the years, many a homeowner has appeared on 60 Minutes because they thought they were getting a deal.

Referral Leads Let's say the sales call results from a referral lead, and the customer still insists on three estimates. What then? I ask them to think of it this way: If someone called and asked you for the name of a good tile sub, would you recommend one contractor or three? If you bought a new car and someone asked where you got it, would you tell him the name of the dealership or hand him a list of showrooms? Someone either recommends a company, or they don't.

Experience is another factor. Say I'm a homeowner, and I'm talking to a contractor who has been in the community for 20 years and has an excellent reputation. He has me call three previous clients, who all say great things about his company. He has a local office, and I feel completely comfortable with him. Oh yeah, and he gives a lifetime labor warranty. Do I really have to get three estimates?

All Companies Not Equal Here's another line that works quite well. If a prospect says, “We like you and everything you're saying, but everything we read says to get three estimates.” I say: “Well, good luck, because I've been in this business 26 years, and there are 102 companies in our Yellow Pages you can call for estimates. But if I was going to have work done on my home, there are only 2 that I'd call.” —Phil Rea has conducted more than 13,200 in-home sales calls and trained more than 1,750 salespeople. He shares his sales strategies each month with salespeople across the country through his MasterMind Program. For more information, call 866.441.7445.