“Thank you for your proposal. I will have to compare it with the other five proposals I received last week. I’ll get back to you in a couple of weeks.” How many times have you heard these lines lately from prospective clients? They tell you they will get back to you as you watch your time and your proposal vaporize into thin air.
This is a common complaint in home remodeling and custom home sales as we continue to trudge through these uncertain times. Salespeople have been calling my office to vent about how tough it is to sell a project this year. They ask me what can be done to secure work for the year. I listen patiently to their tales of woe about how the phone is not ringing, how clients are putting projects on hold and how the world is coming to an end. The drama!
The phone is going to ring this year, but it probably won’t ring as often as it has in prior years. We need to accept the facts, adjust our business models to accommodate the reality of today’s business environment and commit to the highest level of visible professional services. In short this means: When the phone does ring, each call must be treated with the utmost respect; pay close attention to the homeowner’s needs and goals; and most importantly do not act like a desperate salesperson who has not sold a project in six months.
This will be the year of the professional salesperson who understands how to build long-lasting relationships and provide outstanding results that exceed clients’ expectations from start to finish — with no excuses. The bar must be set high because the stakes are even higher. Many companies will not survive the first quarter, and for those that do a few may find themselves struggling to survive the second quarter.
Unprofessional salespeople have a burning desire to talk about the production of the project and product knowledge. Of course they also want to talk about themselves. The professional salesperson’s motive is not to focus on the project but on the social relationship and the human dynamic between him and the customers.
Professional salespeople know they have a better chance of increasing their close rate on a golf course rather than in a traditional office setting. Why? Because the professional salesperson can shift the focus of the sales call to playing a round of golf. It is all about building the relationship, trust and adding value.
Sales is a lot like dating. We have all been on dates where the other person would not stop talking; not the best role for a salesperson. When you find yourself in front of a client in a sales situation, make the meeting all about them and not about you.
In dating we know it takes time to build a meaningful relationship and the sales world is no different. Remember how engaging you were? How you listened to each other and, more importantly, how you actively made each other feel? Homeowners want to feel good about making a purchase and in today’s market that must be the highest priority on your list.
Remember, people buy emotionally. At some point of the sale, they will justify spending money for several intellectual reasons, but these reasons are often forgotten because of how they feel.
To change your close rate, you must change your sales behavior. This is the year for professional salespeople and companies that have a sales system that will exceed the homeowner’s expectations.