The Time to Close the Sale is Before the Sales Process Begins
The most important part of the sales process is the close. You can think of the close as the point in your presentation where you state to them the most compelling reasons to accept your proposal, answer questions, and overcome objections. In this article, I want to challenge you to rethink this sales model and turn it upside down.
If you’ve been selling for a while you know that the key to getting the job is often a matter of overcoming your clientsâ€™ objections. Certainly you hear many of the same objections over and over again. You should be able to anticipate these and deal with them before they are raised, and not after. Objections can include any number of things.
Think about the most common objections you encounter in your sales process. For me there are three biggies. They are credibility (can I really do what I claim I can), trust (do they believe what I am telling them), and value (is my price too high). Yours may be different, but let’ use these in order to narrow it down and offer specific advice.
Creating a Sense of Trust
Very few people are going to come out and tell you they don’t trust you. Instead they may say, “I need to think about it for a while.” Once you’re out of their house, you won’t be coming back. Trust can be built up by positive polite actions. The best time to overcome concerns is when you pull up to the customer’ home.
1. Don’t park in their driveway unless invited to. The best place to park is on the street where the vehicle can be seen from the front door. Be sure your vehicle is professionally lettered.
2. For most service industries, the salesperson should arrive wearing a clean uniform. Your client will be impressed with a clean uniform because it suggests you are not simply a salesperson, but that you are also middle class and came ready to work if needed.
3. Make sure your hands are clean. No smoking or smelling of smoke, and absolutely no ball caps. Don’t ever face a client wearing a pair of sunglasses.
4. Be sure to knock on the door rather than ringing the doorbell (there may be children sleeping). Always stand back at least three feet after knocking, so you can be seen clearly through the peephole.
5. When greeting your client, hand them a business card with your left hand, keeping your right hand free to shake a man’ hand. If you are dealing with the lady of the house, wait on her to offer to shake your hand. You never offer to shake a woman’ hand first.
6. Carry a piece of scrap carpet to set your tools on. Never set any type of equipment or tool directly on your client’s floor or carpet. Take your shoes off when entering their home, or wear booties over your shoes. You should respect your client and their home at all times.
7. Offer genuine compliments. Notice their pictures or pets and relate to them. It’ okay to share that you have a cat or dog too!
Don’t forget, you’ve been called out to solve a problem. You will build credibility (and help with the trust issue) by asking deep probing questions, questions that show you really care about their problem. Whether that problem is temperature, security, bugs or remodeling, your client expects you to recommend a solution. To properly diagnose the problem, you must first perform a thorough analysis.
If you have a technical background, you may be over-relying on your technical skill. Clients don’t buy things, they invest in solutions. Use your technical ability to analyze the situation, but don’t forget to thoroughly question the homeowner. Your discussion with the homeowner is the foundation of your close. You are building trust and credibility.
Using open-ended questions is the key. If you sell air conditioning you might ask, “How do you feel about your current system?” If you are in the kitchen remodeling business you may ask, “How do you feel about your countertops? Are there any materials you are particularly fond of?” Closed-ended questions are also powerful when used correctly. For example, “What is most important to you, the overall price or warranty?”
The Dreaded Price Objection
Our research clearly shows that this is the one objection most salespeople are afraid of. First, let’ make one thing perfectly clear: price and value are not necessarily the same thing. You can pay very little and get a bad deal. You can pay a lot and get a great value.
They key to overcoming the price objection is to build more value into your sales proposal than any other salesperson has. In other words, make your solution such a “great deal” that they would be crazy not to accept it. Let’ elaborate.
Value can be measured using the following formula: Benefit – Price = Value. When you reduce what you are giving the client by what the client must pay, anything left over is called value (or a great deal). To build value you must figure out what is most important to your client and give them a solution. Talk about benefits and not features. How will this appliance save them money, make them more comfortable, or increase the value of their home? Everyone has hot buttons. You must figure out what that hot button is and provide the correct solution. If your solution solves more of their problems than anyone else’s proposal did, then your proposal is the best deal.
Here is some good general advice in dealing with objections.
Treat Objections as Questions
Always treat objections as if your client was saying, “I’m not sold yet on the facts and information you have presented. Could you please give me more information, so that I can make an educated decision?”
Never Disagree With an Objection
Never start a sentence with a “stop word” such as “BUT”. How many times have you heard that “the salesman won the argument but lost the sale”? This doesn’t mean that you have to agree the customer is right and you’re wrong. However, it does mean that you can agree to understand his point of view.
Bring Up Common Objections First
Many times the best way to overcome an objection is to mention it first (before it even crosses the customer’ mind) and overcome it during your presentation.
For example, if you were having difficulty with the price of a super-high efficiency appliance, remind your client several times during the presentation that, “It is the cheapest appliance on the market to own due to its reliability and supreme efficiency.” By the time you get to the close, “The price is too high!” will not be an objection.
Remember this: you help build trust and credibility with your actions from the moment you arrive at the client’s doorstep. Building trust help you to pre-address objections that the client may have, but won’t mention. One thing is certain: People prefer to spend money with those that they like. You must convince your client that you understand their problem and that you have the correct solution. They must believe that you are honest and know what you are talking about. The most important thing you can do is be polite, energetic, and enthusiastic.