Here at Remodelers Advantage we set aside the month of June to focus on an issue that plagues most service-based businesses, but can be a critical metric in looking at the success of a remodeling firm. Last year we named June “Slippage Awareness Month” and this year you will see content submissions from our consulting, sales and production experts here at R/A. Enjoy!
One of the riskiest maneuvers in your remodeling business is the handoff of information from Sales to Production. Too often, it’s where slippage begins.
Slippage happens at the beginning of the process because details of the project are hazy. Without clear background information, the Production team must diagnose a problem on the fly or ask the client questions that should have been answered well before. Taking guesswork and hesitation away from your Production Team is critical to reducing slippage and boosting profits.
Knowing the roles your salespeople must play can help. Those roles go well beyond a static job description of duties and responsibilities, it’s how an effective Salesperson functions within your company. Like an actor, an effective Salesperson slips in and out of roles seamlessly when working with clients. Understanding these roles is key to properly executing the crucial hand-off from Sales to Production. Here are a few of the roles your Sales staff must play.
Like a good therapist, it’s essential to listen, not just hear, what clients are saying. Salespeople need to understand the “why” of the project. If Production knows why the client is remodeling, it enables better decision-making when faced with roadblock.
For example, if the team knows the clients are renovating to sell the home in a year, they’ll be better prepared with a suggestion if they discover a hidden condition — advising the best solution when it comes to resale value.
Knowing the why behind a project will ultimately empower the Production team to be more efficient and adaptable.
It’s time to put on the Sherlock Holmes hat — Sales has to solve the ultimate mystery within the project. The constantly lurking question of “what could possibly go wrong?”
Sales needs to ask questions, discover clues, and solve mysteries to make sure the Production Team don’t discover things at a later date.
That could mean finding information about similar houses in the neighborhood, perhaps talking to a neighbor that has recently had a project completed. Even with the walls up, and the house intact, a seasoned remodeling detective will know what to look for above, below, and around the home to uncover a looming disaster. Let the Production team bring the house to justice, the Salesperson has to find the evidence.
Like any great journalist, the Salesperson’ goal is to gather the details to make a great story. Ask questions to discover the clients’ personalities and goals. Find out where they’re they from, where they went to college, what they like to do in their spare time.
Ferret out the details of the house, the clients and their lifestyle, learn about their pets, the neighbors or the neighborhood. When putting together a Client Book or a Production package, tell a story your production team can’t put down. They have to know what happens to the dog on Tuesdays, and why they can’t park on the street on Wednesdays. When Production’s able to vigorously work through the project with limited issues, slippage will go down.
There are many ways that a Salesperson can look at themselves as a doctor in a remodeling project. The first attribute of any good doctor is knowledge.
Dr. Salesperson must understand how a house works, and what to look for based on the symptoms at hand. They also need to be able to listen. This could be the most valuable skill to possess when working with a new client. To properly prepare their Surgical Team (Production), Dr. Sales must to use active listening, then properly diagnose what’s ailing the house.
Dr. Sales also needs a good bedside manner — able to comfort, set expectations, and make sure the client is prepared for a successful project.
Going Beyond the Job Description
Take a closer look at the roles your Sales Team plays, and how to build on them. Look past the formal tasks and responsibilities set out in a job description and work with your team to expand their roles based on individual capabilities and talents. By adapting these roles and playing the parts, the sales process becomes the catalyst for reducing slippage.