Don’t Fall Prey to this Remodeling Sales Mistake

Remodeling sales can be broken down into a series of small decisions the homeowner must make, culminating (hopefully) in the signing of a contract with you. An important, and often overlooked, factor in getting through the requisite series of decisions from the homeowner, is whether the salesperson thinks that the next decision is an easy one.

If the homeowner has never made a decision to spend six figures on remodeling their home and the salesperson thinks spending six figures is a lot of money, it is highly unlikely that the salesperson will get the homeowner to decide to spend six figures on the first sales call.

On the other hand, if all the homeowner has to decide is whether to come to the company’s showroom to look at appliances, cabinets, and countertops after the first meeting in the home, then that is a decision that is extremely likely to happen because both the salesperson and the homeowner feel that is a reasonable decision to make.

Or instead, they might decide to retain a designer or sign an agreement for a smaller project. The key is that there is a logical and less risky choice that the homeowner will feel comfortable making. More importantly, the salesperson will be more comfortable asking for the decision.

The Design Build remodeling process is successful precisely for these reasons. But if you have a website with a page titled, “How we work with clients,” then you probably already have good steps identified. If you use an automated system for tracking, these steps are probably labeled as “stages.” Don’t use the default stages in your automated system. Create your own that map to how you work with clients and the incremental decisions they make on the way to purchasing from you.

It is the company’s responsibility (not the homeowner’s) to provide a safe and low-risk process to homeowners to reassure them that they are making the best choice.

Unfortunately, even the most rigorous processes can still be hijacked by an untrained salesperson. Are your salespeople able to succinctly explain your process and know when it’s time to make the next small decision?

I work with many remodelers that claim to use a Design Build process but are frequently chasing their tails with homeowners that have “just one more question.” The salesperson loses sight of the fact that the time to answer those questions about options and selections is not now; it’s after they have made a decision to design them.

Homeowners will rarely have a good process to buy 6 figure remodels, yet it is not uncommon for them to ask the salesperson to deviate from the remodeler’s process. Don’t fall prey to this! (Even my SalesEdge students do it from time to time.)

The salesperson must not go off process. Discipline is key.

Tired of “general” sales training? Get SalesEdge with Chip Doyle! It’s the training program focused on REMODELING sales.  Learn More »

 

Do You Know What You Are Selling?

The last issue of PowerTips was warmly received so I’ve asked Ted Dubin, our Director of Business Development, to continue on the subject of Sales. Ever wonder why you make what seems to be a great presentation but the clients don’t buy?  Perhaps you haven’t told them the Benefit of buying from you!


What Are You Selling?

What do you sell?

Wood and Tile?  Sinks and Tubs?  Windows and Doors?

Rooms and Additions?  Kitchens and Baths?  Drywall and Paint?  Decks or Basements?

Design-Build Services?  Handyman Services?  Property Management?

The Finest Materials?  The Most Experienced Craftsmen?  The Best Reputation in town?

No.

You sell and deliver The Remodeling Experience.  And the feelings that go with the Experience.

Sell the Experience

How ready are you and your staff to deliver a great Remodeling Experience?

OK, well the first part of delivering the Experience is SELLING the Experience.

What should you, the Sales Pro, say to prospective clients to differentiate yourself from those Remodelers that don’t even think about the Experience?

I’ve seen the answer explained many different ways.  I best understand this concept by envisioning it in 3 distinct parts:

Feature->Advantage->Benefit

The Feature explains what it is, the Advantage explains what it does and the Benefit tells everyone why they need it.

Most of our PowerTips readers are awesome craftspeople. They do great work using the finest materials.  Unfortunately, many are not yet Sales Pros.   They are almost always thinking in terms of the project without envisioning how their presentation is received by the customer.  Many will go through an entire sales or design appointment without ever mentioning the actual benefit of working with them.  This is a huge mistake that costs money through lost jobs, frustration, and wasted time. It leaves even the best contractors open to price competition.

No One Cares

To begin to Sell the Experience you must first internalize this fact: No one really cares what you do or how you do it!

What matters to people is how it benefits them in the end.  “We use high-quality materials!”  Who cares?  “We’ve been in business 30 years!”  Who cares?  “We seal and insulate everything and only install the finest windows!”  Who the heck cares!  Without more information these are meaningless phrases that waste everyone’s time and attention.  The only thing that matters is the Benefit.

Big companies know and practice this already.  Remember the Toyota ad slogan “Oh, what a feeling!”?   Toyota went right to the important part of the pitch: the feeling you get when you buy their product.  They didn’t waste time on “Toyota, Oh, what great light-alloy engine blocks!” or “Oh, what efficient manufacturing!”  They went right to what’s important to the purchaser – the Experience.

Think about other commercials you’ve seen.  Campbell’s Soup?  Why, Campbell’s Soup is “Mmm mmm good!”.  You don’t hear “Campbell’s Soup is chicken, flour, salt, and a few veggies in a can!”.  Sometimes the actors in commercials for major consumer companies almost look like they’re having a party while using the product – think ladies shampoo or soft-drink commercials.   I especially love those men’s razor commercials like Gillette’s: you learn about how the razor has 5 blades (Feature) which shaves you extra close (Advantage) but, near the end, there’s always a nice lady making admiring glances at the guy using the razor (Benefit – Oh boy!). You get the point.

So, what is the real benefit of going through the “Remodeling Experience” with you? Does your client get a great feeling of pride and satisfaction?  Peace of mind that their house is strong and secure?  A warm, cozy environment to raise their family in?  You need to figure this out NOW so you can explain it explicitly to your clients if you want to succeed as a Sales Pro and stand apart from the lesser companies out there.

How to Apply This to Your Business

So, when you’re making a presentation to prospective clients, how do you know if you’ve gotten to the Benefit?

There is a 2-word test: the “So What?” test.  If the person you are pitching can ask you a “So What” question, you haven’t presented any compelling Benefit:

“We keep the jobsite clean.” OK … So What?!

“We seal and insulate everything.”  OK …So What?!

These statements are meaningless unless you tell the rest of the story.

When you present to your prospects make sure you go all the way through to the Benefit:

“We keep every jobsite clean so your home is orderly during the process which means you don’t have to worry about a mess or your family’s safety.”

“We seal and insulate everything which will keep the room cool in summer and warm in winter so your family will always be comfortable”

More:

“We use the highest quality materials (Feature) so our work stands up to time and the harshest weather (Advantage) which means you never have to worry about your home (Aha! The Benefit)”

“We’ve been in business 30 years (Feature) which shows we’ve got lots of experience and many satisfied clients (Advantage) so you don’t have to ever be concerned about the people you let into your home (Benefit).”

Your Task

Figure out what it is you REALLY sell, then, make a Feature, Advantage and Benefit chart. Use the list to test-pitch someone else – a staff member or friend – and have them ask you “So What?” till they can’t anymore.  Once you’ve figured out what you really sell then Practice, Practice, Practice!

If you’re interested in improving your selling skills– a necessity in this economy–join our experts and a small group of your peers in a Strategic Action Group. Seats are limited so reserve your seat today!

Becoming a Great Salesperson or Get Rid of the Tire Kickers. . .  and Get the Work You Want!