Keeping Your Prospect’s Pain Front and Center
Here’s a quick story that I like to tell home improvement sales organizations: Very few people really like to go to the dentist. In fact, most of us will say that we dread it. We even make sarcastic jokes along the lines of “That’s about as fun as a root canal.” But, when do we break down and finally go to the dentist? When the “pain” of going to the dentist is less than the physical pain we’re feeling from a bad tooth – isn’t that right?
And so it is with how most homeowners approach home improvements. No one likes having to invest more money in their home. Their home is probably already their biggest monthly expense – and their largest investment. But yet there are times when things going on in our homes are great enough of concerns that the “pain” of ignoring them is greater than the pain of investing and fixing them.
As a home improvement salesperson, then, your job is to help the homeowner realize the “pain” of ignoring their current situation including feeling the emotional side of that pain to the point of where the homeowner is motivated to pursue investing further in their home and doing something about it. All the benefits you have to offer with your home improvement products and services are not benefits at all to the prospective customer until they emotionally feel a need that the benefit will solve!
As a result, successful salespeople keep the pain front and center and they work to make it emotional, even visceral, for the homeowner. They know that, the more the homeowner focuses on their current pain and on finding a solution to that pain, the less they focus on other things including the cost of ending that pain. If, on the other hand, the homeowner loses sight of the pain, they are more likely to remain stuck or even paralyzed in the world of living in the pain rather than solving the problems and moving on to their preferred, pain-free future.
The first step to all of this is establishing what exactly is their pain. This is done through a process that we call “Needs Analysis.” If you never discuss what your customer needs, then you never discover their pain. If you never discuss their pain, you can’t possibly offer them a solution to that pain! As a roofing salesperson, keep in mind that, if it’s going to motivate them to do something about it, the homeowner’s pain has to be at a deeper level than “Our roof is old and we probably need a new one.” Their real pain always goes beyond that surface level reaction and is revealed only when you keep digging with more questions. Why do they need a new roof? What damage is being caused by their current situation? What damage will be caused in the future? What will happen if they choose to ignore this pain? What preferred future will be theirs if they find a solution to the pain? These are questions that will take them to a more emotional – and motivated – level.
While Needs Analysis will be a formal part of your in-home presentation, here are three great times early on in your relationship with a customer to begin collecting this information as well.
- During the appointment setting call, have your appointment setter ask a simple question like “What makes you think that it’s time to get a new roof?” The appointment setter can then record that information and provide it to the salesperson.
- Shortly after meeting the homeowners in person, the salesperson should ask something along the lines of “So, I didn’t take a real close look as I walked up to your home but, right off hand, I didn’t notice anything terribly alarming about your roof. What makes you think that now is the time to replace it?”
- Early on in your initial meeting with the homeowner, take the homeowners outside for a walk around their home. That is a great time to get them to relax and start talking about their roofing concerns. And, it gives the salesperson the opportunity to point concerns out as well, and to take photos. Just as will be done during the more formal Needs Analysis, it is important during this stage that the salesperson takes notes. Writing down what the homeowner tells you sends a clear message to them that you’re a professional and it also serves as a great way for you to have a details information to refer back to during the rest of your presentation.
If the homeowner is not opening up or showing much “pain” about their current roof or their goals for their next roof, here are three ways to break down those walls and still get them to reveal some concerns.
- Talk about other roofs in the neighborhood, and problems you and the homeowner can observe about them. Particularly if there are no immediately observable problems with their own roof, this can be a good way to help the homeowner see the potential for problems down the road.
- Discuss past roofs you have worked on and the problems you have solved for past clients. Talk about concerns that are common to your area such as attic heat gain, roof algae, wind issues, snow and ice, etc.
- Ask them leading questions, such as “Does it get hot in your attic?” and “Have you ever seen a home that just really looked bad because of all of the black streaks on the roof?” to get them to talk about some “pains”.
Keep in mind that, as you discuss things with the homeowner, you want to get them beyond the facts to the emotion. Their fear is not just that their roof might leak but rather that their heirloom antiques might be destroyed or the books in their library, or precious family photos, may get damaged by roof leaks. Their concern is not just that it’s very warm in the upstairs of their home during the summer but that it makes it difficult for their children to sleep well. Keep asking questions … in order to get them beyond the surface pain to the emotional pain.
Throughout the sales process, it is the salesperson’s responsibility to keep the customer’s pain front and center. Once those pains have been identified, especially on an emotional level, you begin to help the homeowner discover a solution. Their pain guides your sales process as you become their expert – their “dentist” if you will – to lead them to a better future. You will want to reiterate how your solution ends their pain, and use third party examples and other ways to help them see that, while there is a monetary cost associated with ending their pain, that cost is less than the risk of living with the pain
This process helps you to build the value of your solution. If you have done things properly, then, the actual monetary cost becomes much less of a concern for the homeowner during the closing process of your sale presentation. If the homeowner does bring up cost concerns, you simply re-visit their pain points, and your solutions. All of this helps them to realize that an investment will be necessary if they are going to solve the pain. The pain has become great enough that, just like we must do when we have a bad tooth, they have to go to the dentist and invest in order to get rid of it.
Thank you for your support of the Residential Metal Roofing Executive Report. As always, we are here to help you in your business, and are always happy to personally address any questions you may have.
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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