The lead was a referral, and after two and a half hours of the sales presentation the homeowner liked the siding but said he couldn’t afford to buy. He was adamant that he couldn’t afford it. “We’re already in debt,” he said.

That should have settled it. Debt’s not hard to understand. When you’re in debt, the prospect of adding to that debt feels overwhelming and dangerous, like stepping out of a plane. And for a homeowner, that’s a pretty good reason to say no to the sale, even though you like and want the siding.

My response: Have you considered a debt-consolidation loan?

The homeowner didn’t know what that was. I explained that it’s a loan that would not only enable him to pay for the siding project but would merge all his financial obligations into a single, manageable monthly payment.

He said: You can do that?

I got the loan application and started the process. Two weeks later I met the homeowner at the bank. Loan approved. Siding sold. More importantly, he handed me the names of four other people who might be interested in our company’s products, whether it was windows or siding.

Do something for the customer and often they’re more than willing to do something for you in return.


Of course, it’s not always that easy. I ran an appointment once and arrived to be greeted by the lady of the house — a woman with nine children — who explained that her husband didn’t need to be there since she was the one who made the decisions. The husband came around the corner and quickly confirmed that. He did sign the contract — as a mere formality.

Once that combined window/siding job started, her need for complete control and approval didn’t go away, of course.

She raised an issue — the slashed screen needed replacing, the cable box had to be reinstalled a certain way — and then raised another. Meanwhile, I had no deposit, and when the job was done she refused to sign the completion certificate.

My first recourse might have been to consult a lawyer. Instead, I returned to the house, this time accompanied by my wife. The two women quickly connected, we got together a punch list and one by one checked off every item to the client’s satisfaction. She was happy enough that she supplied me with two excellent leads, one for a door job and another for a re-roof.

Work It Through

Unforeseen obstacles can wreck a sale or a job. What impresses customers is the salesperson’s willingness to work things through. They don’t expect it, and they’re impressed when you pull it off. Why should they want to do something for you if you never really did anything for them except sell them a job?

A problem or obstacle is, at first, a source of stress. But find a way to work with your customer and you will discover that it’s actually a big opportunity to get more business.

—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 or 703.728.4966.