Sales and a New/Old Idea
Sales and a New/Old Idea
Part of selling is observing. I am a lucky guy in that I have been able to observe quite a bit over the past 56 years. There have been many changes in the past 56 years however some people never seem to grasp change or have the ability to change.
My area of sales is in the professional trades of HVAC, Plumbing, and Electrical. This would also encompass finish and rough carpentry, handyman, painting and staining. It also includes retail sales of all sorts with appliances, hardware, and automobiles. To have been right in the middle of all the changes has been fascinating to witness.
Sales principles have not changed. What has changed is the way sales people conduct themselves. The how and why have been altered. The gaining of information has changed and is moving at a rapid pace. A client can Google what it is they are trying to accomplish and become experts in a few short clicks. This does not by any means mean that client is more educated than ever before. The information may not be correct that the client has uncovered. In the trades and retail what this has meant is the sales person must have product knowledge and practical knowledge of how it works and why it works along with installation practices. On top of this and what is more important than product or practical knowledge, it is essential to understand the client’s motives, moods and personalities. Understanding why clients want to make a change of some sort and understanding when the client wants to move forward. Discovering budget and the ability of the client to pay is of utmost importance. These things are and will always be the main factor in a sale becoming sold.
Many tradespeople have practical knowledge; skill to install and believe that is enough. These service providers pound and beat their chest while stating to pick me as I have studied a long time and I have been doing this a very long time and I am really good at what I do. What follows next is a rant concerning how miserable other people are at completing the tasks and they cannot possibly do as good for you as he or she. This is supposed to be enough for the client to choose you as the service provider. The service provider feels he or she should not have to demean themselves by going a few steps above and beyond to help guide a client to own.
Blah blah blah I find out about them and know their family history and they know me. Baloney, all that you have accomplished is a distraction leading to false assurance that you are likable. I get it that likability typically means a sale is easier. Personally I love the likability factor however if we really dissect the time spent you will discover the client does not know you well enough to like or dislike you. In sales; perception has a role and it plays a large part. Build rapport to be a pathway to respect and trust.
With the rapport building discover the personality of the client. Ascertain what it is the client expects from you and deliver on those perceived values. During your chit chat determine what is important to the client and give them that and you will see trust and respect build at a torrid pace. Most trade’s people will make small talk thinking he or she has built a relationship. After all buying is an emotional experience and if you make an emotional connection you are ahead of the game. Most if not all clients understand when you are sincere and when you are playing them and it will come back to haunt you with buyer’s remorse or flat out not call you for a return visit. It is time to have a purpose with your small talk other than to trick the client into thinking you are a great guy or gal.
Take notice of the things that drive your client’s interest and engage them in conversation. Back that emotion with facts that solidifies their reasons to buy. Modify your presentation to the important items the client has stated that drives them to want to buy. Frequently the trade’s person or retail clerk will sell a product to a customer for their own reason verses the customer’s reason to buy. The customer may buy however they will spend the least they have to in order to satisfy the sale.
For some strange reason sales in the trades is guided by many jobs (6-12) you can complete in a day verse visiting 1-3 customers a day. For an example a company charging 120 dollars an hour and completes 10 jobs for 1200 dollars a day working an 8 hour day. A typical day such as that may provide an additional 600 dollars in materials. A decent day’s work for a fair wage in most people’s minds however the day was hustle and bustle with a ton of travel.
What if you took your time and visited 2 customers at 1200 dollars each? Being cynical visit 3 customers at 800 dollars each? 2400 dollars and taking care of all of the problems a customer has at their home. If we break it down you will discover less wear and tear on the vehicles, less wear and tear on the service technician, and less overhead. Some company owners are so afraid of change that they forget there is a second row of trees behind the first row and fail to see the rest of the forest. You’re begging for work? The customer did not ask you to do the other things. My customers will not go for that. You cannot satisfy the customers that call expecting service today. It is time to stop fearing what you do not know.
These same people have not tried this way of selling nor have they thought about doing it this way. They have always done it a different way that has been successful for so many years. Yet they are home by 3 to play on the computer. Then complain because they must work on Saturday when the phone rings. Just because you have done something for years does not make it a best practice.
At some time we must commit and submit to a different idea. Surrender what you know and have learned. It is time to have a revival. Revival is an act or instance of reviving : the state of being revived: as a: renewed attention to or interest in something b: a new presentation or publication of something old. Today is a brand new day to introduce a new way of conducting business. These new ways will more doorways enhancing your ability to wrap up more business and become more profitable.
What stops people from learning and implementing new ways are they do not know what they do not know. Ignorance prohibits a person from seeing the positive positioning towards changing behaviors. This leads to a fear of change that will result in doing something out of character or routine. The, I have done this a long time and my customers like it, without asking their clients if they in fact do like whatever it is they do mindset. Slap your hands in your pocket while kicking at the dirt saying gosh I could never do that as it is begging to do work. By all means continue what you do and give that work to another company. Lastly it is pure laziness that allows the same old thing to repeat the same old results losing business. It is time to remove those blinders in order to see the bigger picture.
Learn something new and different abandon old thought that at 1 time held reverence and you did right or wrong. Again when a person is honest with themself he or she will come to the conclusion and realization that just because something has worked does not mean it is a best practice. Quite frankly you are poisoning and sabotaging your business without knowing you have done damage. We do not know what we do not know and if you are not constantly working to discover what you do not know you are working a business of contradiction.
Without customers there is no business. Everything a company does is to keep or gain customers. Every company markets to existing and new customers. Coupons and discounts are geared to keep you in front of your customers. Phone books and internet are geared so the customer can find you. It is silly and frankly stupid not to do everything you can to complete the sale.
However actions scream the opposite. The concept that is held high is the customer needs me more than I need the customer. When a company is buys the main thought is not about satisfying the customer it transfers to I do not have to service time wasters. Forget the small money customers and the problems they bring. Some will tell the customer they are not important enough for them and to call another company as I will not get back to you.
Whenever any person or company believes the company is above their customers that company is in trouble. The trouble may not be apparent today however the future will bring the rain. When this attitude appears it is followed by disdain, distaste and distrust of the customers. You do not have the right to be angry with your customers. In most cases the customer did not make you angry they were the ones to bring the anger out of you. The tip of the iceberg and your anger and dislike of customers is the result.
Start today and build a plan to service your customers. When you market for new customers have a plan to grow your business to support the addition of customers to your business. Your customers do not have control over how large or small you are that is up to you. Decide today to become part of the new idea and bring sales on board to increase your profitability and service to your customers. Become poart of the change that will increase the perception of your profession.