The Why Determines the What

Too often, we show up to give an estimate for a painting job and assume what the customer wants. After all, they called us for a painting estimate. But until we know why they called, we can’t really determine what they need or want.

Just last week, a customer told me that he wanted all of his fascia and soffit boards replaced. When I showed up, I asked him why he wanted so much repair work. He replied that he just assumed that, given the condition of his house, it would be required. His primary reason for calling was to do the maintenance he had been neglecting.

I soon discovered that less than 10 percent of his fascia and soffit were actually in need of replacement. I could have bid the job he originally asked for. But that isn’t what he needed or wanted. It would have cost a lot more money.

It would have been a different story if he had said that he wanted to bite the bullet and put on Hardi so that he’d never have to worry about rotted wood again. His “why” would have been much different. And that would have changed what I bid.

As it was, I bid what he needed and really wanted. I got the job.

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