Retail education: Guesstimating

Home Columns Retail education: Guesstimating

by Kelly Kramer

Part I of III

This is the beginning of a multi-part educational series, so you might want to keep these columns as part of your training program. One of my very strongest features as a trusted sales advisor is my ability to take a buyer from an in-store education to a final close in the home.

Closing in the home is the most important part of this system for several reasons. First is the fact that simply getting out to my customer’s home improves my odds of finalizing the sale by a tremendous percentage. When a customer walks out of my store, I want her shopping to be done. That means I either want to follow her home with the samples in my hands or set the measure or estimation up no more than 24 hours later. If the customer will not allow me to do this, my odds are cut by an educated guess of about 80% because somewhere in my educational presentation I failed to gain her trust and fill her wants, needs and means.

Getting a buyer from “hello” at the door to getting myself into her home to measure and estimate is the goal of part one of this series. You simply keep her shopping if you don’t get out to the house or business fast. Why would you spend all your time with a good in-store interview, showing demonstrations and finding the proper product, just to send her home with your samples?

Take those samples out yourself and do it now. Never give your samples a chance to be seen by the neighbors or in-laws because they will ruin all your hard work at the store. The obvious scenario is the samples will leave your store and your former buyer will take them down to your sometimes less- than-reputable competition. By following your buyer home, you eliminate a chance to undo your hard work. Besides, in most cases a buyer who sets aside time to shop would also be pleased and surprised that she can use that same time to get this task over with, now.

To use this system you must be able to do a measure in the home and give a final figure on the spot. That’s what this series is all about.


This is a word I use to give my buyer a ballpark figure so she has some general idea what this whole job might run. If you can’t get her comfortable with a price range at the store, she doesn’t want you at the house, putting pressure on her to close. But if you can find her comfort zone in dollars—in the store—she will allow you to come to her home.

The trick in the store is to make sure you keep your guesstimate high because you want the final number at the house to be lower. The idea is that if they allow you out with this higher number, a lower price in the home is a pleasant, no-brainer surprise.

So what’s not to close? So often I listen to sales clerks on a sales floor giving what I know are low-ball guesses just to get out to the customer’s house. This makes no sense at all to me because it makes things harder at this sometimes tense closing moment. When I finalize a “lower” price at the home, again, what’s not to close? In fact, it’s not really even a close; it’s just a natural finish and I never ever have to ask for the sale. My buyer usually just wants to know on which day the installation is going to happen.

In Part II, we’ll go over how to do that in store guesstimate, be very close but just a little high.

Thanks for reading.

Kelly Kramer, based in Loveland, Colo., is an author, inventor and owner of Kelly’s Carpet Wagon. To book him for public speaking engagements, call 970.622.0077 or e-mail

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