(To read part one of this series, click here)
In the Aug. 28 issue of this publication, I discussed how sales is a two-step process. The three major things customers use to decide who to hire include trust, feeling listened to, and getting a good deal (price is a part of this). If the first two aren’t addressed, customers almost always default to price.
HOW IT’S NORMALLY DONE
Throwing numbers at people with a minimum amount of information isn’t going to get the job done. Talking to potential customers about technical stuff when they have no clue about what it is you do isn’t going to work either. This is why they pick the “cheap” guy — you’re not giving them a reason to pick you.
A BETTER WAY
Remember, in the first sale, we’re convincing customers they should actually go ahead with the project they’re considering. Sometimes, of course, they don’t have much choice. If their furnace’s heat exchanger is cracked, the furnace has to go. But, if they’re considering an upgrade because they want to gain efficiency or are tired of constant repairs, sometimes they need a little nudge to land on our side of the fence.
Asking good questions based around your customer’s wants and needs followed by listening to their answers is what causes them to trust you have their best interests at heart. They want to feel like you’re listening to them. If they’re thinking they might replace their furnace, there are safety, comfort, and efficiency issues to ask about. Every system has some issues, or perceived issues, that can be addressed. We just have to dig them out.
IT’S NOT REALLY SALES, JUST A CONVERSATION
So you show up to Shelly’s house because she and her husband are thinking about replacing their HVAC system.
In looking at the existing system with her, you notice free-standing electric heaters in a room or two. You ask her about that, and she lets you know that, yes, there are cold areas in the house.
You notice Shelly has a new baby. You ask if they have CO detectors and explain why they’re important if they don’t.
Review their heating bill. Winter heating bills can really eat into a budget. Discuss how new equipment and technologies can really help control those energy expenditures.
Is Shelly interested in going green? If so, you should introduce some of the products and methods available to address this concern.
Shelly has a couple of pets in the house, so you should explain IAQ. Mention how air exchangers are an efficient way to keep the air fresh.
If Shelly has various smart devices in the home, discuss the new, cutting-edge thermostats that can be accessed via these smart devices.
AWESOME STUFF IS FLUFF TO CUSTOMERS
Notice how you never once mentioned how awesome your company is, that your company has a really neat new shop, or that all your install and service vehicles are four years old and newer?
You’ve failed to highlight how your company just invested $5,000 in new, flashy vehicle wraps; that all your techs get trained and certified; or that your company belongs to this, that, and the other association?
Customers don’t care about you, your company, shop, vehicles, or anything else about you — at least not at this stage of the game. They care about the three things I mentioned above: trust, feeling heard, and getting a decent deal.
That said, if you show up in an old van that leaks oil on their driveway in ripped jeans and a 1993 Van Halen T-shirt (these are considered classics only in certain circles), it could possibly affect the outcome of the sale. I think you know that, though.
It’s not that all the things we’re so proud of aren’t important. They’re extremely important. These bells and whistles help make our businesses reputable, but they aren’t what gets you the sale most of the time. I look at them as all the things needed to provide the support structure necessary to serve customers.
So, be proud of all the awesomeness your company has achieved. Keep improving and moving ahead with all these things, just don’t try to use them to impress customers. Did I mention they don’t care?
CLOSING THE SALE
To quote Dan Holohan, “Picture in your mind’s eye.” If you follow my advice, you’re no longer there to talk customers into something. You’re no longer there to throw numbers at them and hope the three other bids they’ve received aren’t that much lower than yours. You no longer have to try to impress them with all the technical jargon they don’t understand anyhow, which really just muddies the water for everyone except the salesperson.
Take the feedback they’ve just given you, create a proposal with all the concerns you uncovered in your conversation, and present it.
By presenting it, I don’t mean email it to them and wait for a phone call. Create a clear, concise, and detailed document. Bring it to their house and talk about every concern you uncovered. Do it item by item and explain what the various fixes are.
Then, simply ask for the sale. You don’t need, or want, fancy closing techniques or to be pushy. But you do have to ask. Not asking will many times cause all this work you’ve done to be wasted.
IT’S ALL ABOUT RESULTS
When you make the sale about customers and address all their concerns, they can see it’s possible to get what they want. Going ahead with the project is better than waiting. At the same time, you’re setting your company apart from the competition. No one else is going through all the trouble to understand them and what they want. Convincing them to go with you instead of the other guy is just a natural next step.
This process isn’t going to win you every sale, especially from the price shoppers I mentioned in my last article, but you’ll definitely sell more jobs. The jobs you do sell will grant you customers for life. You’ll also feel a lot better about yourself when you give people what they want and make more money per sale in the long run.
Publication date: 10/9/2017