Before we get into our topic this issue, I want to invite you to attend our next “Let’s Be Frank” free conference call! This call will be held on Thursday, November 1 at 11 a.m. Eastern and will feature a conversation with leading metal roofing expert Frank Farmer, president of American Metal Roofs in Michigan. We have something very special planned for this call. In his own words, here’s what Frank will discuss in this informative call:
“Turning reluctant customers into buyers when all they want is your price.”
All sales people are taught to demonstrate their product, refer to expert testimonials, and let the customer experience the product’s features and benefits. I think it goes much further than that. It is important to take an organic approach to turning the corner and closing the sale with the reluctant buyer.
It starts with self-image and how the sales person sees himself. If he sees himself as someone to sell somebody something they are at a disadvantage. People hate sales people. Flipping the paradigm and seeing one’s self as a professional trying to solve the customer’s problems sets the sales person apart from the prospect’s lingering perception of sales people. They actually like people who care.
The next step is controlling the context of the conversation on the phone or in person. Faced with the customer controlling the agenda and demanding that we demo them without their spouse or give them our price, a sales person is faced with a decision. Acquiesce, give a price and slink away, or take charge and explain that’s not the way we work. They must explain they are there to help the customer solve problems and get the products that are best for their specific needs. Statements such as “If you would allow me to help you, I can keep you from falling prey to contractors because of limited knowledge. Will you let me help you?” will gain a lot of progress for the sales person.
This opens the door to explaining there are 15 key components you should know before choosing a metal roof. When the customer sees they are ill equipped to choose a metal roof, they are more likely to want the sales person’s help instead of demanding a price.
To be a part of this conference call, dial in to 857-232-0476 and enter code 332616 at the prompt on Thursday, November 1, at 11 am Eastern. I hope you can join us – you will not regret it!
So, on with our topic this week ….
In 2018, we have been going through a list of “What Does It Take To Be Successful?” articles in the Executive Report. In previous issues, we have looked at Business Systemization, Professionalism, Commitment, Knowing Your Numbers, Marketing and Lead Generation, Referral Maximization, Gaining Local Expert Status, Total Industry Knowledge, Lead Qualification, and Leadership.
In this issue, we’re going to tackle the subject of Permission-Based Selling. I always love this topic because it reminds me of the things our mothers taught us when we were young – how to be polite, have “good manners”, and follow the Golden Rule. If we just think about “Good Old Mom” during the sales presentations, we will find that we are achieving Permission-Based Selling and putting it to our advantage!
Permission-Based selling takes advantage of the prospect’s desire / need to feel in control. Yet the sales person is still guiding the process according to their sales system. In Permission-Based selling, you explain to the prospect what your sales process looks like step-by -step (needless to say, though, do NOT refer to it as your “sales process”!) and, each step of the way, you ask for their permission to proceed to the next step. This allows them to clearly feel “in control” of the process. Can they at some point say “I really don’t want to go further”? Yes, they absolutely can. Rarely will they do that but, if they do indeed stop the process, you have saved considerable time versus plowing through your entire sales presentation and process.
Now, that said, don’t you dare try to use Permission-Based Selling as a qualification tool! That is not at all what it is! What it is simply being nice – like Mom always taught you. It is making the prospect comfortable and being very clear on what they can expect from a relationship with you. And, just like our “Mini-Close Sales Method” does, it also gets them in the habit of saying “Yes” (which is always a good thing!)
Permission-Based selling starts with your Appointment Setter. They help to establish expectations with the prospective customer. Part of that is making sure the homeowners understand what will happen during each step of their meeting with your sales person. They get permission for having the sales person visit their home, having them do some measurements, having them sit down with the owners and talk about their needs, having them present a solution if they have one and, finally, having them provide a proposal that fits the customer’s needs to a “T”.
The salesperson, when they meet the homeowner, then repeats these steps and asks permission before going on to each new step. Again, this practice allows the homeowner to be in control of the situation but the salesperson is guiding the process, following the sales system set forth by your company. Typically, they are saying things like “Mr. and Mrs. Jones, thank you so much for showing me around the outside of your home. Now, is it okay if we go inside and sit down and discuss exactly what you’d like to accomplish with the next roof for your home?” These statements are quite simple and comfortable … and they eliminate what can often be very awkward segues between parts of the sales presentation.
So, to increase your sales person’s ability to connect with prospects and gain their trust, just tell them to think of Mom! Be kind and respectful, and ASK PERMISSION before going on to the next step!
Thanks so much for being a faithful reader of the Residential Metal Roofing Executive Report. Do you have a topic or question that we can address for you? If so, drop me a note and let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a great week, and mark your calendar now for our free “Let’s Be Frank” conference call this Thursday at 11 a.m. Eastern.
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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