Charles Naman, 39, is not your average windows and siding salesman. After a 10-year career in sales and telemarketing, Naman launched his own Seattle-based company from the living room of his apartment in 1998. Then, taking a cue from past experience, he hired a telemarketing staff to generate leads and hired a separate sales staff to close them. But by 2003, he was back to being the sole sales representative for his company. The reason: Nobody he hired could keep up with his closing ratio and he felt like other sales reps would often "burn"good leads.
Last year, using very targeted lead sources along with a support staff of nine, Naman's Quality Home Exteriors topped $1.9 million in sales. To accomplish his level of sales, Naman set 487 appointments. He closed 203 sales. Fourteen canceled, leaving Quality Home Exteriors a total of 189 "net good" contracts. Of the rest of the 487 appointments, 93 were pitched and not sold; 45 appointments got "reset"; 82 were "no good" - the customer wanted only one or two new windows or wanted to replace glass; 45 were "dead" no presentation because they were not going to buy; and 19 were pitched and wanted to "call when they were ready."
Qualified Remodeler spoke with Naman about his success.
Q: It sounds like you're a one man shop.
Liz Palmas, our controller, runs the company. My father Chuck came up from Southern California in 2003 and he does quality control. He runs the crews, making sure that they are all doing what they are supposed to do. I do all the sales and all the marketing and anything to do with the design of the ads.
Q: To get to the 189 "net good" contracts last year, how many people did you see?
I had a total of 487 appointments. That is roughly 40 per month or 10 per week. Subtracting the no-good appointments which I did not pitch, I figure that I had a closing ratio of 57 percent.
Q: The standard closing ratio for a good sales representative is 25 percent, to what do you attribute your success?
It is such a simple formula. First and foremost, I am always on time to the appointment. Second and most important is knowledge. I make a point of being well versed in my product and what my competitors offer. And lastly, when I go out and see a customer, I never shortchange them. I give every person a full presentation as though they have no knowledge of the window and its benefits. The knowledge that I have lets the prospect know they are dealing with a true professional. I tell sales reps when I hire them that enthusiasm is contagious. If you are enthusiastic and positive and knowledgeable, you are ahead of many other people. And I would say the final thing is that I don't do sales gimmicks. I don't do what other companies do.
There are a lot of companies, and I am thinking of one in particular, where they will price a job quite high and use a closing technique where they explain that they are a big commercial company as well as a residential company and that they have a big commercial job 100 miles away. They will say, "If you buy today, I can piggy-back that commercial job on your job and save you a lot of money." They offer large, unbelievable drops in price that appeal to people who can't say no to a good deal. I personally don't operate that way. I am very honest and straightforward about my price. I give them a fair price upfront, and then I give them an incentive to do business the day that I am there.
Q: And what is the incentive to do business the day that you are there?
I typically give them a 10 percent discount off my retail price if they buy the day I am there.
Q: How long does your presentation take to give?
Start to finish, about two hours. And sometimes you can be in there for three. But two and a half hours is normal. Another key is: If I do a presentation and sell them, I immediately go back to the office and send them a thank-you card. And if I don't sell them, I send them a thank-you card. I'll follow back up with a phone call within a week or a couple days if they ask me to.