Selling is the art of discovering the customer’s needs and explaining your product in a way that the customer views your solution as having enough value to warrant your price. This is done by systematically handling customer inquiries so that you cover each of those main points. Developing an effective sales style and closing an ever-increasing percentage of the leads you generate is THE KEY to getting your Dealership to the next level.
The Initial Contact
Your first contact with the customer will normally come from a phone call. A couple of rules of thumb about how to handle this initial call will help you with your sales call later on.
1) Your first question should always be “where did you hear about us?”
2) When you begin your conversation with the customer, give a brief description of what the CTI product is and what it can do for them.
3) Normally after this description, you will have the question “how much does it cost? This question cannot be answered over the phone so you need to do one of two things a) let the customer know that the only way you can give them a price is by seeing the job and finding out what kind of look they want, or b) Giving the customer a “ballpark” square footage price. Ballparking should only be done if you are trying to pre-qualify the customer because of the distance the job is from your location or because you are too busy to chase down leads that may or may not pan out. Setting an appointment is the key to your first phone call. Nothing can happen unless you have a set time to make a presentation to all the decision-makers.
Once you have a good feel from the first part of the call, ask the customer to choose between two times (i.e. Thursday at 3:00 or Friday at 6:00) and also ask if everyone who will be involved in the decision will be available for that time.
When speaking to people face to face (i.e. Home shows, talking to people in checkout lines, etc.), the same rules apply, make sure everyone who will be making the decision will be available and set an appointment so you can come out and give the customer a presentation.
Making an effective Sales Call
Once you have set the appointment, you need to have a number of things with you to insure that your call goes well. You should always have this checklist of items available whenever you go on a call. The easiest way to insure this is by keeping these items in a box or crate in your truck. The items listed below are the core items you should have with you. You will find other items useful as you run more leads:
* Measuring Wheel * Sample Boards
* Photo Album * Contract & Project sheet
* Calculator * Pen
* Pitch Book * Appointment Book
* Referral Letters * Videos
* Yellow legal pad
The Sales Call
All calls will follow these four main areas, keep them in mind every time you talk to your customer:
Preliminaries > Investigating > Demonstrate Capabilities > Obtain Commitment
Your sales call should start with what is called a “warm up”. This is nothing more than getting to know the customer to a certain extent prior to going into your sales call. Asking neutral questions about their line of work, how long they have lived in their home, etc. This warm up allows you to loosen up the customer so they will feel more at ease with you being in their home. In addition, people buy from people they like, so allowing the customer to get to know you a little bit will help you to close more sales. This part of the call shouldn’t take more than 5-10 minutes.
The first part of your presentation should be educating the customer about what you will be doing to their area to rectify any problems and also to get some ideas about the look that they want to achieve with the spray system. Explaining to the customer how cracks are formed, how you will fix the problem, and how you will be allowing this crooked crack to become a straight crack through the use of tension cuts helps to build value in what you will be doing for the customer. So any prep work should be explained in its entirety. Asking questions such as “what did you hope to see once I’m done?” will help the customer begin thinking about the looks they want. You should also allow them to look at your photo album to help generate ideas. One thing to keep in mind however is that the more you can guide a customer to an agreed upon look, the more sales you will close and the more satisfied customers you will have in the future. Too many Dealers allow the customer to take control of what kind of look you need to provide them. This not only leads to confused customers, but it may also lead to a look that will not only damage your reputation with future customers but will also leave an unsatisfied customer. You need to realize that you are the expert when it comes to this system. Guiding the customer through a set of options (light vs. dark, gray vs. brown, etc.) to give them a solution within the set of looks that you know work will make you more effective at selling as well as make it easier on you when it comes to getting the work down.
Once you have all the information from the job site, take the customer back inside for a site down presentation. You will still need to work your numbers up, so keep the customer busy by letting them watch one of the CTI videos. When you have worked up your numbers, start your presentation by asking questions that get the customer talking about what they want from you. These questions tend to get the ball rolling:
- What did you see in my advertisement that prompted you to call?
- What kind of budget did you have in mind for this job?
- What don’t you like about the area now?
- What would be a perfect solution for you?
If you ask a few questions like these, you’ll be amazed how quickly the customer will open up to you. TAKE NOTES, the information they are giving you is “this is why I want to buy your product”. So don’t miss anything, write down the highlights of what they customer says so you can refer back to it when you start to tell them how you will solve their problems.
Once you have the information from your customers, you then need to provide a solution to the problems they have posed or tell them how you can deliver the product they are looking for. The key element to remember during this part of the presentation is to keep your discussion limited to the points the customer brought up during the investigating stage and don’t discuss anything else. Too many Dealers want to impress the customer with their knowledge of concrete, the CTI system, etc. to find that they are only confusing the customer in the end. If, through your questioning, the customer brings up that they want a product that is skid resistant, will brighten up their patio area, and will be easy to clean, your presentation will cover those three areas ONLY.
When you have brought out all the information the customer has to offer concerning their needs, you have presented the CTI system as the solution to what they are looking for, then it is time to get paid. You need to ask for the order every time you present to a customer. A customer will rarely offer to take the lead in this part of the presentation, so mustering up the courage to say “I’ll need a check for ½ tonight and the remainder will be due when the job is finished” is the only way you will get the ball rolling. Don’t get hung up on fancy closing techniques or saying the perfect line to get the customer to buy. Normally a customer will respect you more if you are direct and to the point and most of all CONFIDENT when you ask them to make a decision.
When objections do occur, they normally fall into two categories. The first is considered a stall, this is when the customer says “we need to think about it.” Most Dealers will say “OK, how about if I get with you some time next week?” What they don’t understand is that the customer will be “thinking” about this offer for another five minutes after you leave and will be trying to talk himself out of why he should buy your product most of the time. The most effective way to handle a stall is to mention that you need to pack up your presentation materials in your truck anyway so you’ll be right back. Pack up your materials, walk out of the house, and DON’T SAY ANOTHER WORD. This allows the customer to have that five minutes to ask his or her spouse “do you like it?” or “can we afford $4,000?” without you being right there. This is normally all the time and discussion the customer needs, so give them about five minutes and walk back in and ask for the order a second time, a majority of the time you will get a yes at this point.
The second objection is on of price and normally sounds like “we didn’t think it was going to be that much.” This does not mean the customer doesn’t want the product. What it does mean is that the solution you provided doesn’t have enough value to warrant the price you quoted. To cure this, you can do one of two things, you can go back into your presentation, probe more into what the customer wants or expound on the solution you provided to make it clearer to the customer. The other solution is to begin a negotiation on the price you quoted. The key element here is to always ask for something in return whenever you give up something on the job. If you state that you will offer a $500 discount and do not give a reason (other than you are desperate for work), you will completely de-value your product and you will lose the sale every time. If the customer needs a discount to make a decision, ask for such things as referral letters, the ability to use their home as a display home for the neighborhood, or that you can keep your lawn signs up for 30 days after the job as opposed to the normal week. There are many negotiation points you can refer to, just remember to ask for something that you feel is equivalent to the discount you are offering. Once you have addressed the objection, and offered your negotiated solution, ask for the order again.
These four key elements are a firm foundation on which to build your business.
- Wanting success and preparing yourself for it with the right mental attitude.
- Developing a plan for your success and sticking to it,
- Developing a system for feedback so you know whether your plan is working
- Executing the plan flawlessly.
If you keep yourself on these four points and keep yourself open to new opportunities as they arise, you will find your Dealership and your Dreams growing to heights you may never have imagined before.