A System for Selling – Part 1
I hope this finds you well!
Somewhat contrary to what we expect in an election year, consumers appear to be optimistic! Most of our dealers are incredibly busy, with many building backlogs already extending into summer. I hope the same is true for you! For those of you in areas that have recently experienced extreme weather, I hope you and your families are safe and sound.
First, if you missed it, our last issue of the Residential Metal Roofing Executive Report recapped the topics we have covered in the past year.
In this issue, we will begin a new series on Isaiah Industries’ system for selling – the what, why, and how of selling we find to be most successful for specialty metal roofing. We have discussed important systems in the past, but in this series we will dig deeper into our system for selling.
I recently covered this material for a seminar in Denver, CO. The event was attended by about 15 different companies, all selling different products but with one thing in common: none were using a systemized sales process. As a starting point, I presented a definition for the system we teach:
Isaiah Industries’ selling system is a fully scripted process and presentation to properly evaluate homeowners’ needs and wants, educate them on available product and companies, while leveraging psychology and exclusivity to build maximum value in your unique solution, and culminating in an exact price and proposal.
I know that’s quite the definition and a painfully long sentence! It is necessary though to separate our discussion from what other members of our industry might consider to be a selling system: having business cards, letterhead, and paperwork is not a system; three go-to closes is not a system; a contingency contract and knowing how to work Xactimate is not a system. Rather, a system is a complete, intentional, and replicable process you can measure and manage. Our system meets this definition and includes all the elements mentioned above.
We consistently find that the systemization of best practices separates the good organizations from the great ones; companies that believe there is a “best way” to do something and develop systems to ensure the “best way” is done every time quickly separate themselves as great. I don’t believe any of us would argue that there are usually best methods and practices, whether in selling specialty metal roofing, generating leads, or shooting a foul shot. If this is true, why not systematize your process to give yourself the best chance to close every appointment?
Creating a system for selling is crucial for the successful management of your business. First, you cannot manage what you cannot measure. Without a system, no metric is relevant as you have neither a baseline nor means in which to affect it. If there is no defined system of best practices, how do you know what a successful close rate is? When managing a salesperson whose closing rate has dropped, you are shooting in the dark without a system to return to – do you really know how to help?
A system for selling also provides the framework through which to grow your businesses. Too many organizations can only hope newly hired salespeople will be successful. With a defined system to train and measure to, you can hire individuals who fit the necessary personality type and provide them the tools and system for success. No more burning through four or five hires to find a success and, even still, have no idea what separates him or her from the failures.
Like many folks when they first hear our definition and argument for utilizing a selling system, I am sure some of you immediately raised objections – that’s okay! I am sure we have heard your objection before and we are not claiming you have found zero success with your current methodology. Here are some of the frequent objections we hear and our typical response.
“We’re low pressure, so we just have a conversation with our customers.” – Perfect. We are low pressure too and today’s consumers would not accept any different. Ultimately, though, we paid to generate that appointment in hopes to sell our solution if it is the best solution for the homeowners. Why not use a system to best determine their wants and needs and show how our solution meets them?
“We’re closers! We don’t need a presentation!” – We certainly advocate presenting a price and asking for the order, however, the research is clear that traditional closing tactics lose effectiveness with premium, big-ticket items. We have found that few consumers will be “closed” into purchasing a specialty metal roof that is 3x more than traditional roofing materials.
“We email our price to our customers so they aren’t uncomfortable.” – As we review our system in detail over future Executive Report issues, you will see that we rely on powerful emotion and psychology to build value in our premium solutions. You might give the most eloquent and persuasive presentation, but you waste this emotional and psychological momentum if you fail to ask for the order and instead email it the next day.
“Fully scripted?! I don’t want to sound like a robot!” – We don’t want you to either! Through effective questioning, needs analysis, and inspections, we are able to customize our script and make it most relevant. We cannot be robotic, but we can use a script to leverage the power of NLP principles and build maximum value.
If you do have objections, I hope you can disregard them long enough to participate in this discussion, because, maybe just maybe, you might find some value. Regardless of personal style and unique market dynamics, I think we can agree best practices for success do exist. In preparation for this conversation, I encourage you to formulate a definition for your current system – what is your philosophy? What elements are most critical? This will provide helpful context as we go forward.
As always, thank you for participating in this conversation. Please do not ever hesitate to let us know how we might be of service, whether it relates to our products or not.
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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