You really learn a lot when you’re face to face across the kitchen table.  Besides learning Pop’s take on the most recent news stories (especially the ones involving politics and religion) and Mom’s excuses for the house, the furniture, the mess, the kids, etc., you learn this:  Their point-of-view does not make or break the sale… yours does!  When I first started in in-home sales, I thought I was just there as the narrator for the various bullet points and pictures in my pitch book.  I figured that Mom & Pop were the decision makers and I had no more impact on their decision than a fan has over the outcome of a ball game.  If you take only one thing from this article to make your own, make it this:  You are the decision maker of your own sales presentations!  Your attitude, your enthusiasm, your ideas and your responses will make or break that sale.  It’s really not up to them… they already want what you’ve got or you wouldn’t be there in the first place.  It’s up to you to enthusiastically show them how what you have is the best and most affordable solution to whatever they perceive as their problem or desire.  Now, here are a few things I’ve learned along the way that might make that job a little easier:

  1. Purchases are made emotionally but defended logically.  It almost doesn’t matter what kind of purchase we’re talking about:  New shoes, a used car, a pack of gum or driveway resurfacing.  People make what seem to them to be logical buying decisions, but logic is not what usually motivates their choices… they get emotionally attached to the object of their interest.  And, your enthusiasm (or lack of it) will effect their emotions.

The rub occurs when Hank, their nosey neighbor, comes sauntering into their garage and blurts out something like, “what the heck d’you do that for, Bob?!  Must ‘a cost more than a small country!”  It’s at that point that Bob will start groping around for logical justifications.  You know the dialogue, you’ve been there yourself.  Hank is not going to go away if Bob simply says, “’cause we fell in love with it.”  That may indeed be the truth; but, about the only question that answer goes unchallenged for is, “why’d you pick her to marry?”  (Logic never works for this one!)

The point here is that once you uncover your customer’s perceived need or desire for a CTi’d driveway, enthusiastically talk to their emotions.  “You’ll love how it looks!’  “Yours will be the best looking house on the block!”  “You’ll love how it protects your driveway in the winter.” “The soles of your feet will love it in the summer.”  The emotional attraction will, in most cases, make the sale (that’s how wedding planers stay in business).  But, you’ll need to give your prospects the ammo they need to logically justify their choice:  “Cti is the only product that can withstand 60 freeze/thaw cycles in a twenty-four hour period.”  “Tearing out and replacing your concrete may well fix your problem, but won’t add even one dollar to the value of your home.”  “Not only does it look great, but it cleans up with a garden hose!”  Again, make sure they have ammo as well as sizzle.

  1. If you haven’t sold Momma, you haven’t sold the job!  This one took some time to really appreciate.  I thought if I were talking home improvements, Dad was the decision maker.  Not so!  I have sold jobs that Momma wanted and Dad really didn’t.  But, I have never sold a job that Dad wanted if Momma wasn’t on board, too.  Maybe it has to do with the emotional aspects of any sale; maybe Momma is more tightly tied to the household purse strings; maybe it’s a control issue.  Remember… to get (and keep) a job, Momma has to understand it and give her okay.  Make sure you pay particular attention to Mom at the kitchen table.  Do what she wouldn’t expect any man to do:  listen to her!  Make her questions important… and, respond respectfully.
  1. Don’t do one-legged sits!  Another one for which I was a slow learner.  I used to figure that if I had to give up my dinner and drive forty-five minutes for a lead, I was going to talk to somebody!  Don’t do it.  If Mom and Pop are not both home for the full appointment, tell whoever you meet that you’ll take some measurements (and, perhaps, some pictures) and you’ll reschedule the appointment for when they’re both home.  Tell them there are just too many important considerations to discuss (colors, patterns, textures, etc.).  But, now that you have the dimensions and an accurate picture of the job site, when you return you’ll be able to give them a realistic price after they both choose the other options.  And besides, you may have given the greatest sales presentation in the history of concrete resurfacing, but there is one objection you can not overcome which guarantees your going home empty handed:  “It sounds great, but I have to talk it over with my wife.”  I say again:  Do NOT do one-legged sits!
  1. Don’t give “ball park” quotes! If you’re asked for a “ball park” figure, tell them “Yankee Stadium – $100,000,000!”   Seriously, if you give Bob a “ball park” figure, here’s what’s going to happen when Mary gets home:  “Hi, Mary, that guy was here about the driveway.”  “What did he say, dear?”  “He said it would be $4,500.00.”  “You’re kidding!… I’m glad I wasn’t here when he showed up.”  Bingo, you’ve just been shot through the heart and you’re thirty miles away!

By the way, if many of your appointments wind up as one-leggers, it’s because you’re doing something wrong in the appointment making process.  Colors, patterns, textures, etc. are important considerations which require both Mom & Pop to be there.  Don’t be afraid to require it for an appointment.  You’re a busy person and there are too many other customers out there wanting your time.  I say again:  Do NOT give “ball park” quotes!

  1. Nervousness.  Have you ever heard someone get up to speak to a room full of people and hear their voice cracking as they got started?  Usually their nervousness will subside by the middle of their speech.  The reason they’re nervous is because they have a secret they’re afraid will be uncovered, a secret they don’t want anyone to know:  They’re Nervous!!

Everyone is nervous when they meet and have to speak with new people for the first time.  No difference between an in-home sit and your first high school date (although the outcome is, hopefully, different).  You’re nervous, and your ego is afraid that someone will find out!  Well, guess what, when someone opens the door to their house for a person they haven’t met before, they’re nervous, too.  It’s okay.  It’s the human condition.  My Dad spoke to large groups for decades, and he was always nervous when he was introduced to speak… even when he personally knew everyone in the room.