System for Selling – Part 4: Psychology
In this issue of the Residential Metal Roofing Executive Report, we are going to continue working our way through our System for Selling:
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.
Last issue we discussed, “educate them on available products and companies,” and we will now move to how we must leverage psychology for a true system of selling and the best chance at success.
We all know that tenacious persuasion followed by hard closing is no longer a successful sales system, regardless of product, market, or industry. With educated consumers backed by consumer advocacy groups and social media, you must lead – rather than persuade – consumers to making a decision. This is a delicate dance where you must work with the psychology of likeability, decision making, and listening, rather than fighting it, to be successful. When done with integrity, you are able to help the consumer determine the best solution for them, hopefully a solution your company provides.
Too many salespeople forget or ignore the conscious and subconscious hurdles of likeability that must be immediately overcome with any homeowner. No homeowner looks forward to replacing their roof – they would much rather spend their money elsewhere! – and no homeowner is excited about inviting a salesperson into their home, knowing their only goal is to make a sale. Home improvement contractors and salespeople consistently rank at the top of most-loathed professions lists, right there with lawyers and used car salespeople. This is the reality we cannot ignore and we must understand how to establish likeability and trust with the homeowner. Likeability cannot be won in the first impression and warm-up, but it can certainly be lost:
Look Presentable – Whether consciously or subconsciously, homeowners will determine your intelligence and ability to care for their home from how you care for yourself and vehicle.
Cut the Small Talk – Unless it is obvious the homeowner wants to chit-chat, don’t try to strike up a conversation about their prized fish mounts or classic car. It does not build rapport. Homeowners know it’s not genuine, because they know you are there to sell them a roof! Instead, build true rapport and credibility through a detailed opening survey and involving the homeowner in your inspections.
Enter as Consultant – As we have discussed, we advocate a consultative approach and believe in helping homeowners determine the best solution for them. Opening the appointment with a statement like the below starts the process of breaking down the walls they have constructed to protect themselves from salespeople.
“Mr. and Mrs. Smith, today I would like to complete a thorough exterior inspection of your roof and interior inspection of your attic; I will take some quick measurements; and we can then sit down to review all the roofing options available in order to determine which solution would be best for you. If our company offers that solution, I can provide you with a detailed price and proposal. If not, I can point you in the direction of a reputable company that can. Does that sound like plan to you?”
Once you have completed your opening survey and inspections, the time at the kitchen table is where understanding the psychology of decision making is a must in order to be successful.
Logical Flow – Your information must be presented in an order through which homeowners can understand, process, and apply to their decision. I have been in too many homes with salespeople who want to “have a conversation” with the homeowner and, inevitably, jump around from point to point with no logical order. The homeowners obviously hear the information, but they are given no time or context in which to process and apply it, eliminating your ability to use it to build value in your solution.
Emotional and Logical Value – Every buying decision, whether purchasing a home, car, or roof, is an emotional buying decision. Knowing this, you must incorporate emotion along with logical justification of value. You must have photos and testimonials of homes with compromised beauty due to streaking and staining of asphalt shingles, while also explaining the logic of the increased limestone fillers that cause it. You must show how decking can rot and grow mold from exposed fastener systems, while also explaining the physics of expansion and contraction. If you only present logic, the homeowner will not be emotional enough to make a decision. If you only create emotion, they will cancel because they lack logical justification to fall back on.
Mini Decisions – You must use tying questions at each stage of the presentation to break the decision down from one $35,000 decision at the end. Do you think asphalt shingles are going to be the best solution for you? Would you like to consider systems that rely on exposed fasteners? The homeowners eliminate alternatives themselves and, ideally, are only left with your solution at the end.
We have discussed Neuro-Linguistic Programming before, but it is the study of how an individual’s subconscious interprets words and body language. Knowing the filters homeowners are listening through and that “how” you say information is just as important as “what” you say, gives you an incredible advantage.
Maintain Consultative Approach – You must be committed to the consultative approach and be deliberate with your phrasing so to not compromise it. I have seen many salespeople slip with minor phrases that don’t seem like a big deal but will undermine how a homeowner accepts the information. For example, “now we are going to take a look at available roofing solutions and how most won’t serve you well,” rather than, “now we are going to take a look at available roofing solutions to determine which will serve you well.” It is slight, but consistently giving the homeowner freedom to decide is critical. You must vet every phrase and point from this perspective.
Subtle Messaging – Rather than confronting competing products and compromising your role as consultant, you can use subtle messaging to plants seeds of doubt, “Through fasten metal roof panels were designed for agricultural applications.” You’re not saying, “You shouldn’t put that stuff on your house! It’s barely good enough for chicken coops!” but the homeowner still hears “agricultural” and knows it’s not a suitable solution.
Price Conditioning – As you are educating the homeowner on all available solutions, inserting subtle price conditioning helps them build an expectation of what your number will be. If done properly and you build substantial value, they will expect a much higher number than what you will propose. Educating them that a $10,000 asphalt roof, $25,000 tile roof, and $50,000 slate roof won’t meet their wants and needs lays the groundwork for our price proposal.
This is only some of the psychological elements of sales and buying decisions – it’s no surprise sales trainers often have graduate degrees in psychology! If you continue to learn these elements and how to leverage them, it will transform your sales system and catapult your success.
As a reminder, all issues of the Residential Metal Roofing Executive Report are archived here on our website. We hope it serves as a valuable repository for you to revisit topics we have discussed and can also be a resource for training new salespeople on selling premium, niche products at the kitchen table.
As always, thank you for participating in this conversation and please reach out with any thoughts, questions, or ways we could be of service.
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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