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Slow Down and Close More

By on July 26, 2012 in Business Practices with 7 Comments

Selling is tough!

Prospects are constantly beating us up. There’s always someone giving a cheaper estimate; often cheaper in every sense.  But, our employees need to feed their families. The schedule needs to be filled. The economy is slow.  We feel like our backs are between a rock and a hard place!  Often, we take whatever the customer will give us. What we get is usually a lower price than what’s deserved for the work done.  In other words, the beatings will continue until morale improves! How can we slow down and close more?

The challenge here is that the perception of “traditional” sales or selling is wrong!

In my first sales position, I was trained in the art of features and benefits. That is, if I talked highly enough about what we do, and was energetic enough in how I said it, then the customer would be excited, too. The result would be a sale.  That may sometimes be true, but it’s shockingly rare!

“Why don’t customers see that we are different!?”

 When it comes to talking about features and benefits, how many of us have gotten caught up in our own sales presentations? I’m guilty.  I love my company, so I love talking about it.  Talking about what makes your company different, and better, is incredibly important.  However, without first making sure the customer actually cares is an even bigger mistake. It’s the kind of mistake that turns even the best “Dog and Pony Show” into a “Show up, and Throw Up.”   We are left to wonder, “Why don’t customers see that we are different!?”

What Do Others Do?

So, what do the best sales rep do? How do they get the price they deserve and close 50% or more of their deals?  I would offer these three reasons. The best sales reps know that people don’t like to be “sold.”  Think about the last time you visited a retail store. When the sales rep asked, “May I help You,” what did you say? “No.”  That is a perfect example.  The best sales reps also know that people buy from people they like, trust, and respect. How can we achieve that if we are always the one talking – ie- giving them the features and benefits?

Most importantly, the best sales reps know that without an understanding the customer’s needs, concerns, and fears, the sale is ALWAYS about price.  With these reasons in mind, it becomes clear that going down the path of “features and benefits” regularly leads to our own demise.  In a very real sense, we cause our own failure.  In other words, the beatings will continue…..

slow down and close moreA Way to Be Different-Slow Down and Close More!

There is one thing you have to your advantage. It is that your competitors are most likely doing the “Show Up and Throw Up” routine as well.  That’s an opportunity to be different, and better!

On your next estimate, try slowing down the process. Before telling the customer all about yourself and your company, focus on them.  Pretend that you are an interviewer and you are writing a story about their job.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • Have you worked with a contractor before? What could they have done better?
  • Have you thought about the people who will be in and around your home (or business)?
  • Besides price, what other concerns might you have about this project?
  • Have you thought about how you will be making your decision? Is there a timeline?
  • Have you thought about what something like this might cost?  We are usually not the lowest price.  If we are not the lowest price, would we still have a chance at getting the job?  Why might you choose us if our price is not the lowest?

Clearly, this is a different approach. I understand this may be outside of your comfort zone at first. It was for me.  If that’s the case, try to find a different way of phrasing the questions; something that works better for you.  The benefits of asking, though,  far out way the discomfort.  Instead of telling the customer all about you, you’ve learned a whole lot about them.  You haven’t tried to “sell” them (yet). You’ve earned their respect by putting their interests first. Most important, you’re questions have brought up issues other than price!

The indirect result is to establish “value”.

You’re different, better. You went about things in a different and more meaningful way. You showed the customer, by example, why you are worth more. You have built a footing to overcome price objections, rather than succumb to them.  You slowed down the process and now have a much better chance of closing the deal.

Slow down and close more!

All the Best!

-Andrew

 

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There Are 7 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Andrew Amrhein says:

    Do you have your own “Slowing Down” success story? Please share!

  2. Nick Dunse says:

    There”s allot I could say but you hit the nail on the head, great post.

  3. Chris Haught says:

    Great post, I always feel like I have an advantage, as a woman, it seems natural to have that dialogue! My husband tends to use the, “show me what you want painted and I’ll tell you what I’ll do for how much” approach!! Thanks for contributing Andrew!

    • Steve Miller says:

      The approach you outline has worked well for me through the years. The only thing I would add is I loved to be the first to look at a project. That way I set the standard for every other contractor. That really helped remove price as the only concern.

  4. This is a great article, Andrew. I intend to use a little more of this when dealing with clients, and I believe that it will have a positive impact on my closing rates. Thank you for writing this.

  5. Andrew Amrhein says:

    Thanks for your comments, everyone. Stepping out of your comfort zone is the key to growth. If I were to emphasize one question over the others, it would be talking about Budget. Mom always told us it was rude to talk about money and politics, so we avoid talking about budget with prospects. It can also be just an uncomfortable topic anyway.

    But, if we are going to avoid playing games (which is the point) and establish value, we must talk about budget — “Have you thought about what something like this might cost?” 99% of people will answer, “No.” But its a great way to start a discussion.

We would love to hear what you think!

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