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During a recent session Mr. David A. Yoho examined one of the most critical aspects of the in-home sales process, where TRUST is established.
This has been called “petting the goldfish” or “warming up”. This is the time when the sales rep attempts to build a positive relationship with the prospect(s). Remarking on collectable items and pets had been the norm for years. Times have changed. Prospects do not have the time for idle conversation with a stranger in their home. Because of the preconceived, negative impressions prospects have about sales professionals, any traditional attempt to sell the product will be met with adversity.
Mr. Yoho explained the importance of the prospect(s) RESPECTING the sales rep. This is important because if the even prospect likes the sales rep, the inherent adversarial nature of the relationship can not be ignored by the prospect. In other words they think “This person is soley here to SELL me something.I do not want to be sold or otherwise victimized!” This is why before anything can happen the prospect must respect you- not as a salesperson but as an INDUSTRY SPECIFIC PROFESSIONAL!. In this case, aHome Improvement Professional. Don’t forget you are not being paid as a designer (fee for service),You are still there to sell the deal, TODAY!
“Milkman” Copyright 2008 Tommy Steele
For those of us born before 1970 may remember the days of home milk delivery. Waking up in the morning, opening the front door and inside the milk box would be milk, juice or even doughnuts! Since the 1970′s dairy consumption in the USA has increased dramatically. More people are buying the product than ever before. So is that good for everybody in the milk business? Well NO! Consider the “Milkman”, the person who sold the product at retail is no longer employed in that capacity.
What does this have to do with SELLING HOME IMPROVEMENTS?
Hearing an experienced Remodeling Contractor describe recent sales results reminds us of the above-mentioned “Milkman”. The Owner said “my sales rep ran 20 leads and only sold three gutter jobs. I know for a fact that these people are going to buy trim and gutters somewhere so I am not happy with my results!” Yes the volume of home improvement products and services may be at an all time high, yet proper marketing and sales techniques means we must focus our efforts on the proper selling situation. In other words, if you are attempting to sell “on a one call close” and you are constantly facing skeptical, hostile prospects either your sales method should be addressed or your marketing dollars should be spent elsewhere. We do not want to go the way of the “Milkman”. He is extinct! Seasons may change, yet the need to write good business is ongoing. With the new year and upcoming Spring projects, many homeowners need to take care of that important project. It could be a new bathroom, entry door, deck or windows. A consumer may contact several contractors with similiar, and in some cases, identical samples. If the product is the same, how can one price be higher than another? Why would a homeowner gladly pay more for a “comparable” home improvement project? Building value throughout the presentation is essential. Building value also makes your company uniquely superior to any and all competitors. Of course an idea, fact or concept introduced to a prospect, must be internalized by the prospect. In other words, the prospect must think it is his/her idea to embrace the value displayed during the sales presentation. Capturing the power of human emotions allows the trained professional to appeal to the emotions that matter most to the prospect.
Most of what is written here may be viewed as common sense, yet an objective portrayal of the issues faced in today’s selling environment provides a starting point to build and enhance the sales presentation. What is called here “eliminating multiple alternatives” means showing that you are the best in every way. Hence there is no need(in the mind of the prospect) to waste time considering lesser alternatives.
MORE INFO HERE! “Concurrent Estimates/Appointments“
by Tommy Steele
The Seasons may change yet one thing that never changes is human nature and the desire to get as much information as possible as soon as possible. Given the hectic schedules that exist in some households, sometimes a homeowner will schedule TWO different estimate/appointments at the same time!
To the seasoned home improvement sales professional this is indeed an affront showing intentional disrespect for the rep. I can recall a kitchen appointment with a “Mr.& Mrs. Prospect”, shortly thereafter a fence sales rep arrives at the door and was invited inside by the homeowner and then went out in the back yard to talk with Mr. Prospect (who himself wanted a fence). He told me to “go ahead with Mrs. Prospect” and give the price to her. Obviously this is not an ideal selling situation! Without confronting or offending the prospect I made a graceful exit under the guise of needing more samples etc. What should be done in this case? I am certainly not there to battle the other rep! If a prospect does this malevolently they are not suitable prospects worthy of your time. It’s time to “hit it hard” with more sales, and less “be backs” on sales calls and less “go backs” on installations!
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“Cynicism Prevails or a Stained Mind”
by Tommy Steele
On an appointment/client observation I heard a homeowner/prospect say “if you say so” after credentials and customer testimonial were presented. Even though the credentials were properly displayed with State License number, insurance coverage and several hundred installed jobs in that same zip code, the Prospect replied: “You’ve got the gift of gab”. One statement was based on distrust, the other was based on resentment. In this case resenting the fact that the rep spoke with a pleasant voice, questioning statements pertaining to credentials is tantamount to questioningintegrity. In either case embedded emotions in the mind of the prospect prevent a rational objective analysis of relevant information. These same emotions exist with most prospects, but not to this extent.
Proper Home Improvement Sales Training addresses the important emotional concerns displayed by prospects. Selling Home Improvements is an ongoing endeavor where the primary participant (sales rep) must adhere to a structured program thus assuring positive results.
EVEN MORE VALUABLE INFO REGARDING IN-HOME SALES…..
Are you facing price objections and lower priced competition?
Has this always been the case? Today with an abundance of information many consumers consider themselves self-appointed experts. When we also consider the fact that many prospects view the sales professional as suspect, closing the sale has become somewhat more difficult at times. Knowing that human emotions control the purchasing decision allows us to formulate a sales presentation that will embrace and utilize this fact. We cannot expect a person to make an emotional decision based on a logical set of facts. Emotions and beliefs become sacred dogma in the mind of the prospect. We know prospects want the product to work as intended and that they want a “good deal” on the price…
We all like to think of ourselves as rational, clear thinking individuals. Considering any major purchase, issues of price, quality and value are the main concerns. Would it not be reasonable to conclude that most people want to get the best project/product at the best price? Yet where is the logic in in the following statement?
“I like the product and the price, but even if the job was only one Dollar I would not buy it today!”
The preceding statement is driven by emotional factors or core beliefs in the mind of the prospect. Because of the emotional nature of consumer purchasing decisions, a sales plan based on a rational appeal to reason will not address the main obstacles to the sales process.
A decision to buy is based on emotion
People THEN seek ways to justify their decision rationally.
Outdated selling techniques fail to accept this fact. Knowing WHAT objections/obstacles we must address, and more importantly the reasons WHY, are critical components of a Home Improvement Sales Training program!
If “selling” is the successful transference of beliefs from one individual to another, all aspects of the interaction must be utilized to build on the prospect’s main concerns: fear of loss, criticism from others, as well as the desire to gain, and acceptance/approval of key individuals. In order to close the sale the prospect must see YOUR company/product as unique in several vital aspects. Consider various replacement windows, siding, and roofing samples and products, and the fact that most contractors use the same samples and install a similiar, if not identical product. How can a unique aspect to such a project exist? This is one of the many goals of a properly structured Home Improvement Sales Training program.
Excellent sales training is important, yet incompetence and arrogant misuse of languagecan make what would normally be a difficult task nearly impossible.
OK HERE’S ANOTHER PIECE OF VALUABLE INFO WHEN YOU ARE “SELLING IN THE HOME!”
Here is a powerful example of language and the effect it can have on thoughts:
Prospect: “Is this the only window you SELL?“
Home Improvement Sales Professional: “Rather than offer several levels of quality based on price we INSTALL the ONE window that provides the best performance and value.”
Using the verb, INSTALL eliminates another verb, SELL.
Remember, the word “S E L L” is a “four letter word” (profane reference) in the mind of many prospects. Negative words create negative images in the mind of the prospect. In this case the prospect does not want to be the victim of anill fated, overpriced job. Using a positive word like INSTALL creates a happier picture for the prospect. The prospect imagines how good life will be once their need or problem has been properly addressed. Proper use of language lets the Home Improvement Sales Professional build value while eliminating lesser alternatives. It is vitally necessary that the prospect begin to think “Hey this person is more concerned about the windows falling out of the house than SELLING me the job“.
Gaining the respect of the prospect is the key. This process begins during the needs assessment or “walk around”.All aspects of the company’s image must present the salesperson as a skilled technician who can safely address the prospect’s concerns. If a sales force adheres to the appearance and tactics of a bygone era, (coat and tie clad sales reps),consider what has happened to the sliderule, washboard, and 8 track audio tape, all now are obsolete.The first step is to avoid improper use of language, meaning NEVER, again NEVER, not even once, should the word “SELL” be used by the sales rep. The word that should ALWAYS be used instead is“INSTALL” ,