I hope this finds you well and incredibly busy! We recently met with several metal roofing contractors and one thing I kept hearing was how badly they need installers. We discussed our options for installer training but we also discussed installer recruitment. Please keep a close eye on future issues of the Residential Metal Roofing Executive Report as we will soon have an issue dedicated to ideas for attracting and retaining quality installers.
In this issue, though, we will cover the important topic of Relational Selling. Relational Selling is what often changes a business from ho-hum to world class. It gets to the heart and core of what you do. It builds friendships, and turns your customers into stark-raving fans and referral machines. It creates situations where customers WANT to do business with you and your company. It moves the focus from your salespeople selling to benefit themselves (which is NEVER sustainable) to them selling to benefit your clients.
We have produced a DVD focused on training metal roofing contractors in the art and skill of Relational Selling. It is titled “Shifted Paradigms” and it presents new concepts in in-home selling. Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your address if you’d like to receive a free copy of the “Shifted Paradigms” DVD. Now, let’s talk about Relational Selling…
Fortunately, long gone are the days where the Salesperson tried to bamboozle the Prospect with their bombastic baloney or wow them with their cleverly cunning charm. (Those folks really weren’t nearly as bombastic nor as charming as they thought they were, anyway!) Relational Selling, as an alternative, is High Integrity Selling. It requires your company to be operating under a system of honesty, respect for the customer, and certain ethics adopted by your company. While we encourage you to request a copy of the “Shifted Paradigms” DVD, below are a few “you don’t want to miss this” aspects of Relational Selling.
Relational Selling sets the stage for a comfortable sales experience both for the Salesperson and the prospective customer. Specific techniques are used to make the Prospect comfortable and at ease. One of the basic concepts is “Permission Selling.” This is done right from the first contact with the Prospect through to the final close. It is a process of explaining each step of the sales process thoroughly to the Prospect in advance, and obtaining their permission in the form of a voiced “yes” before ever moving to the next step of the process.
Included in “Permission Selling” is the appointment setting process. In this process, the Appointment Setter for your company (which should never be the Salesperson!) thoroughly explains what a relationship with your company will look like. This includes the Salesperson’s visit. That visit is explained in detail including its expected length and what is expected of the Prospect including their being prepared for the important attic and ventilation inspection. After this explanation, the Appointment Setter asks if it is okay to proceed to scheduling an appointment. This is the permission to go to the next step.
Asking permission does several things. One, it assures your Prospect of “no surprises” which will be very important to them if you’re chosen to work for them as well. Next, it assures your Salesperson of “no surprises,” such as a Prospect who is not prepared for a formal in-home presentation or perhaps who is not expecting to have to provide access to their attic. Asking permission each step allows the Prospect to feel “in control” while the sales process is being guided by your company. And, of course, there is also never any harm in getting the Prospect in the habit of saying “yes” as a frequent response to your company!
Relational Selling includes a thorough Needs Analysis with the Prospect. This starts with the Appointment Setter and continues with the Salesperson. A great way for the Salesperson to get started with this is, again upon permission, doing a “walk around” of the outside of the house with the Prospect shortly upon arrival at their home. This sort of casual “walk and talk” allows the Salesperson and the Prospect to build a connection with one another. Our guards go down a bit when we’re doing more than one thing at once and, getting the homeowner outside to “show off” and discuss their home of which they are rightfully very product is a great way to get some open and honest thoughts from them as to what really frustrates them about their roof (or about other roofs in their neighborhood which you can mutually point out) and what they’d like to accomplish with their next roof.
The Needs Analysis process then leads into helping the homeowner establish their Criteria. By reviewing their needs, you can help them to specify which attributes of roofing will be important factors in their decision. Energy Efficiency? Durability? Beauty? A particular color or look? Low weight? Fire safety? Wind resistance? Environmental impact? As you review their needs and, when necessary, pull examples from their neighborhood or homes you have seen, you create a list of their Criteria. As you do this, just as you would have done during Needs Analysis, take notes as you talk to them. Be their “doctor,” analyzing and studying their pains and needs, in order to present them with a “cure.”
As you begin to present your Solution that fulfills their needs and wants and meets their Criteria, Relational Selling teaches ways of “building the price.” Just as you would not surprise a friend with some unexpected price at the end of your presentation, you do not do that with a Prospect either. Instead, you use examples of other projects as price conditioning and you can even use specific numbers for the things your company will do to meet their Criteria in order to “build the price.” If this is done correctly, they will even be pleasantly surprised by your price proposal at the end.
The final step to Relational Selling before presenting your price proposal is to sell yourself and sell your company. Relational Sellers do this right before closing the deal because they know that, ultimately, people buy people – they do not buy product. So, the strongest part of your presentation needs to focus on why they should do business with you. This is where it becomes so important to know your own story, and the story of your company, and be able to convey those to the prospective customer. Why do you do what you do? What does your company care about above all? What examples and stories will emotionally convey the heart of soul of what you’re offering the client? These are all critical pieces of information to relay to your Client.
The concept of “Permission Selling” is very strong in your closing process as well, keeping the Prospect comfortable and informed during a part of the process that is often anxiety-ridden for both the Salesperson and the Prospect. You explain each step and, with permission to deal with any objections, you review things like the Needs Analysis, the Attic and Ventilation Inspection results, and their Criteria for their roofing decision.
Intrigued by the concept of high-integrity Relational Selling? Just let me know and we will be happy to send you a free copy of our “Shifted Paradigms” sales training DVD that reviews these concepts in greater detail. Would you still like to know more? I’d be happy – make that THRILLED — to hold a one-hour conference call with your sales manager and sales team to discuss these concepts if you like. No charge, and we will set up a time that works well for you. This is our offer to you whether or not you currently sell our products – we want to build friendships and do whatever we can to help you to even greater levels of success! Just drop me a note and we will get it on the calendar! email@example.com
Thanks for your time today. Happy Metal Roofing!
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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