There are a lot of surprising nuances when it comes to the world of home improvement sales. This is especially true regarding the process home improvement companies go through to train their salespeople on how to effectively sell projects to homeowners during the in-home sales environment.
Let’s examine a situation known as the “one-legger,” which essentially is when a contractor or salesperson comes to your home to do a sales pitch on why you should select him to do your project. The appointment is scheduled with both homeowners expecting to be present, but when the contractor or salesperson shows up only one of the two parties (or legs) is there.
When we say parties, we mean a husband and wife or life partners tandem. So what’s the big deal with one party absent from the meeting? Logically, a husband or wife who is present at the meeting can gather that information and effectively communicate it to the other person later on.
But this isn’t how the contractor or salesperson sees the situation. These one-legger appointments are frowned upon behind closed doors in the industry. Oftentimes if there is the indication ahead of time that a meeting may be a one-legger, the contractor or salesperson won’t even show up until they know both parties will be present. They’ll give you a whole slew of reasons why this is. “We have a lot of material to go over. I have samples I can’t leave behind but need to show both of you.” These are just made-up excuses. Heck, even if a wife were to say, “I’m sorry. My husband is in Europe for a month, but I still want to meet with you.” It just won’t matter. Half the time they won’t come out.
Here’s why all of this exists and why contractors and salespeople are so resistant to one-leggers: They can’t do a hard close and get a contract signed on the first visit if both homeowners aren’t there. Therefore, a one-legger meeting simply isn’t worth running.
Even worse than this is when an appointment is scheduled ahead of time and both homeowners had planned to be there. When the contractor or salesperson shows up, however, and realizes that for whatever reason both parties aren’t able to attend, oftentimes he’ll leave and request that the appointment be rescheduled. Of course, he can’t just say, “This is a one-legger. Gotta run!” He’ll inquire during the conversation where the other person is. He’ll use sneaky tactics to find out where the other person is. Although they won’t appear upset, they really are.
Here’s one way that a contractor or salesperson may try to end the originally scheduled meeting in hopes of doing a second one with both homeowners involved. He’ll make up some excuse as to why the meeting needs to be rescheduled. He may do an abbreviated presentation and then set up a secondary appointment when both parties are available. He’ll push for you both to come to the showroom. But one thing he won’t do with just one party present is to reveal the price of the project. He’ll try to hold onto that until both homeowners are present. He’ll only reveal price when he wants to close the deal.
This process of inviting you into the showroom and holding onto that price until both parties are present is a strategy called the “two-step close.” The first step entails showing up and keeping the appointment but not revealing pricing until both parties are available. The second step is to reveal pricing and close the deal when both parties are around.
Insult to Injury
Sometimes homeowners can get insulted during the two-step close. For example, let’s say the contractor or salesperson comes out to your home and is expecting both parties to be present. The husband, for whatever reason, is unable to be there. When the wife is asked, “Where is your husband?” it can come across as the woman not being capable of handling the appointment. It’s projected that the “man of the house” should be there. This insults women – as well it should!
How To Handle It
HomeProHub is revealing the dirty secrets of the one-legger because we want you to know what to do the next time you experience this situation. The first line of defense is awareness. By knowing what a one-legger is, you can be better prepared for the shenanigans of a contractor or salesperson.
Also, if you have an appointment and the contractor or salesperson doesn’t want to do it with just one person (or tries to convert it into a two-step appointment), you can tell them, “I don’t want to do business with companies that only use high-pressure sales tactics.” Move on and find someone who will treat you better.
You can also force their hand. You can tell them that you both agreed to an appointment, that you set aside the time in your busy schedule, and you want to see a bid. If they won’t provide you with one, then that company is a total farce. Get rid of them right away.
If you or anyone you know has experienced the one-legger in the past, feel free to share the story in the comments section below. We’d love to hear about it!