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The first estimate my company ever produced was for a basement remodel. I spent an hour driving back and forth to the prospective client's house, two hours talking to her, and then several more hours doing a detailed estimate. That evening I went back so that we could review the projected cost and — I assumed — sign a contract. You can guess how this story ends: I didn't get the job.
I must be a slow learner, because for the next several years I continued wasting time on similar dead-end sales calls. It simply didn't occur to me that I needed to be selective about which clients and jobs I spent time trying to get.