As someone who hails from the manufacturing end of things, you might think I’d be the last person to say the following but it is something I firmly believe.
“People Buy You, Not Product!”
I believe that, in the in-home sales process, clients decide in the first few minutes whether the salesperson is someone they can do business with. Certainly, you can get through that step of things with a great first impression but then “blow it” later on and lose the deal. However, if that prospect decides early on that you are NOT someone they can do business with, your chances of having the pleasure of serving that customer are slim to none.
So, to get the sale, you MUST make a GREAT first impression and do all you can to continue along those lines toward a successful sale.
I think it’s safe to say that consumers make purchases from salespeople whom they trust. The moment you lose their trust, you’ve lost the sale. But, how do you garner and maintain that trust? That’s the big question! Let’s take a look at several great ways to get your prospect to trust you with their business.
- Gaining trust starts before you even meet the prospect. You need a professional appointment setter who has told the prospect a bit about you and what they can expect, including describing the vehicle you will arrive in. You call to confirm the appointment a few hours in advance. You arrive at the home a few minutes early in a clean, well-kept vehicle. You park on the street rather than in their driveway if at all possible. You show up at the door dressed nicely and professionally, groomed well, and smelling fresh. All of these things help to develop trust and comfort.
- You have a plan for the sales process. That plan includes “permission marketing” which allows the prospect to be in control each step of the way as you guide them through the process.
- Being a great listener is a key to gaining trust. Too often as salespeople we think that we gain confidence from the prospect by spilling our guts and trying to show them how brilliant and charming we are. The reality is, though, they have invited us to their home because they have worries, concerns, and pains that need remedied. A salesperson who allows them to share those worries, concerns, and pains will gain their confidence that they can solve those issues for them. The salesperson who never listens to the prospect’s concerns is viewed as someone who can never possibly solve those concerns.
- People tend to most like people who look like themselves. In choosing how you dress and behave, successful salespeople know how to “mirror” the client. By looking and even acting a lot like the client, you naturally develop a comfort level with them that will instill confidence in yourself.
- Ask questions. Again, your job is to learn about the client’s concerns. You can’t do that without asking questions and then listening – including physically writing down their responses. Think of yourself as “Columbo” minus the dishevelment and the trench coat — there to capture and record as much helpful information as possible. “Ice breaker” questions early on in the conversation can be very helpful and also, for you, very informational. Here are two of our favorites:
a. “What attracted you to buy this particular home?” (The answers to this question will tell you exactly what the prospect really cares about!)
b. “As I walked in and glanced up very quickly at your roof, I did not see any glaring concerns – maybe I will later when we walk around your home – but, tell me, what makes you think it is time for a new roof?”
- Know your stuff! First of all, asking questions that no other company has asked them helps to show that you know what you’re doing. Next, have the knowledge you need to be able to answer the questions they ask you and, should they stump you with a question, have someone you can call right then and there to get them the answer – don’t promise to “get back with them on that” (that only gives them a reason to delay the purchase) – go ahead and bring in the expert you need to give them a great and true answer on the spot.
- It may be said that Flattery will get you everywhere but, in the sales process, the key is Sincerity. Compliment them on their home and the things they have done to it. Be human, natural, and at ease – not the “slick” self-absorbed salesperson they were worried you’d be. Disarm the client with just how “un-salesy” you are! Instead, focus on kindness, concern, and professionalism.
- Turn every prospect into a referral. By doing things to relate the prospect’s current situation to past customers you have served and delighted, you can turn each prospect into feeling like a referral, whether they were really referred to you by a past client or not! You can also discuss other roofs you have seen in their neighborhood – both good and bad – and use this to your advantage in making the client feel comfortable and at ease working with you.
- Use lots of testimonials. Most of us do not really like to pat ourselves on the back so, rather than tell our own stories, we end up talking about the product we’re selling. But, again, People Buy You, Not Product! So, have testimonials, printed or video, to tell your story. And, when you do tell your own story, do so not by bragging but by simply telling the prospect of real-life cases when you met customer needs in extraordinary ways.
- As part of your Personal Story, give the client your written pledge – on beautiful formal parchment paper – and sign it in front of them. This is your commitment – your sacred promise – of what they can expect from you if they choose to give you their business.
- As part of your Company Story, include a review of your company’s Core Vales – those things that form the banks of the river for how your company operates.
Remember – selling is not about Product and it is not about You! It is always about the client and their needs. By doing very specific things, you will learn about the customer and end up gaining their confidence that you are the person they want to work with.
Let me know if I can help as you institute these things in your company. I am happy to help you write your personal pledges and core values if you’d like. Additionally, my offer of a free one-hour phone consultation with you and your sales team always stands! You can reach me at 800-543-8938, ext 201 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Todd Miller has spent his entire career in the metal building products manufacturing industry. He is president of Isaiah Industries, an organization recognized as one of the world’s leading metal roofing manufacturers. Todd is currently Vice President of the MRA (Metal Roofing Association) and a Past Chair of MCA (Metal Construction Association). Through his website, he strives to raise the bar on standards and practices to provide property owners with the best possible products for successful roofing projects.
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