I often take the opportunity to be an imposter prospect. To do this, I go into a place of business where kitchen and bath products are offered; I make sure it's a place where I won't be recognized. I ask questions about product, service and design to see how the designer/salespeople answer them, because I know that these are the same answers that they are giving to their prospects. I also do this to get a sense of how important my business would be to them and what level of passion they have for their job. It's amazing what kind of responses I get.
Let me share some answers I have been given. In one business, I asked to see the manager and asked questions about what would be considered the firm's best brand of cabinetry. I'll add that this was after the person behind the counter couldn't answer the simplest of questions. In fact, I felt my mere presence was an intrusion. The answer I received from the manager was: "XXXXX is the best we carry. In fact, it is the best cabinet built in America."
Another question I proposed was, "Where is the seam in this solid surface top?" The answer: "This top is made special for us and is made without any seams."
Recently, a kitchen dealer in our market area advertised its sales/designers as professional in complete kitchen and bath remodeling. I called and asked the company's designer how many foot-candles of light should be on the task work areas in the kitchen. The reply was, "Just put those little fluorescent lights under the wall cabinets and that will be enough."
In nearly every case where I was an imposter, I found a real indifference from the salespeople. In many instances, it appeared that I was an interference, and I was handled with an attitude of "I'll answer his question and then I hope he will leave."
So, what does this mean for people like you and me? It means opportunity opportunity to pass on accurate information, and more of it, so that we will be the trustworthy resource for our prospects' projects.
To get that business, we need to liven up our presentations. We need to make a difference to our prospects, and create an environment where they will want to do business with us.
If you are enthused and have a passion for your work, your prospect will feel it and will be enthusiastic about the project and toward you. A selling attitude laced with enthusiasm is a positive key difference between winners and losers.
I believe that you will liven up your presentation if you set goals. Most goals measure our selling success and are expressed in dollars, often in yearly or monthly terms. I have found, however, if my goal is selling the next prospect, and I focus my energy on the prospect's needs and my offering fits, the sale is likely to take place and the financial goals will take care of themselves. Your energy when focused on the prospect and the project will create a feeling of trust, and the prospective customer will believe that you will make a difference.
To qualify a prospect, you need to know WHO who the customer is, who is doing the work, who is involved in the decision process; WHAT what type of product and services will be necessary to solve the prospect's needs and do we have what it takes; WHERE where is the project located; and WHEN can you meet the completion date required.
Another way for you to liven up your sales presentation is to
always have control of the selling process. Early in the
sales/design process, let the prospects know how you operate what
they can expect from you and your firm. At the same time, let the
prospects know what will be expected from them so that a team
effort is created.
As your business changes and grows, you will always find yourself working and changing your processes to ensure success. Key elements will help you along the way.
Be a problem solver. This gets back to your industry knowledge and ability to apply it toward the customers' needs. Being the prospect's problem solver will bring you favorable results.
In addition, create a fun environment. I have a sales/designer, Steve "Woody" Koehn, whose personality lends itself toward creating a fun yet professional experience for his clients. I have had many couples tell me after working with Woody what a good experience they had that it was fun. Fun is not a bad word in selling, as long as the environment stays professional.
I have always enjoyed using demonstrations in my selling process so that the prospect can experience more than just looking at displays. I want the prospect to experience the convenience of my products and designs. I want the person to hear, smell, taste, touch and see my offering. With demonstrations, we can prove to the prospect that we have what he or she will want to own. Demonstrations will liven up a presentation, and often the prospect will make a greater investment with a better understanding of our products and designs.
Demonstration is also a great way to create value before you give the price. Price is never important until one knows what benefits will be gained or losses be avoided. Demonstrations will liven up your presentation if they are well practiced, properly involve the prospect and promote benefits that will be important to your prospect.
In addition, liven up your presentation by properly asking questions beyond qualifying. What we know as salespeople isn't important until we know what the prospect knows. Without knowing the selling targets, it is easy for the selling process to get bogged down, lose momentum and weaken the opportunity to earn the sale.
It's important that you reflect on the experiences you have had as a customer. Evaluate what you believe created a positive, well-focused and lively presentation one that earned your trust and business. I suspect that, when you do this, you will identify some of the characteristics we have covered. Put these into practice in your selling style and enjoy the success.