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Let’s Talk Selling

I have been spending a lot of time lately helping contractors close new business. Or, more to the point, helping them learn how to do it themselves. So, I thought I would talk about it here a bit.

Selling is what happens after the marketing works

But for many contractors, the sales call process is a pain in the…butt. They would prefer shaving the tip of their pinkie off as opposed to sitting in front of Ms. Smith while trying to close her on a new kitchen.

And because the “sit” comes so infrequently these days, guys are getting rusty. Or worse, they never really learned how to sell because money was sloshing around all over the place a few years ago and they could pick or chose the jobs they took.

Why I care

My job is to get your phone to ring, your door to open or your email box to fill up. That is where most marketers would be happy. Your YP rep, newspaper person, or Google account executive would tell you, “hey, we did our job, the rest is on you”.

Well, I say, what good is getting to the water’s edge, right? My job is to fill your pocket with $5 bills where $1 bills used to be.

That’s why I don’t care what kind of traffic your site gets, or how many times your phone rings. If you talk to me, you know I want to know what has converted. What has actually turned into a lead, which has turned into new business, and then turned into a referral source.

Because it doesn’t count until the register rings boys and girls!

There is no other metric more important these days than the sound of the cash register closing with money in the draw, am I right?

That’s why I get on you when I KNOW you have a pile of leads sitting somewhere in your office that needs to be dusted off and called again. Yeah I know, you called them…100 times. Well, call them again.

The Law of 17

17 is the new magic number people. That’s right, according to some ridiculous marketing statistic somewhere, people need to hear your name, see your logo, work truck or ad 17 TIMES before they remember you.

Of course that is French for ‘spend more on marketing’, but somewhere between 1 and 17 is the real number. And I would tend to believe it is on the higher end of that range than the lower, wouldn’t you?

Which brings me back to me…cause it’s all about me!

I can’t help you close more business if you stink at closing, or stink at developing referrals, or stink at developing a features and benefits speech that get’s people to buy into your story and say ‘YES! You must be the contractor for my project’, so we are going to talk about sales, and selling and closing a little bit around here.

And this is where you come in!

I give away more free stuff here than a bridge and tunnel  hooker, and I already know all this crap, but you guys need to start helping each other out here too. So I want to know your ideas and what works and what doesn’t, so put something down there in the comments!

8 responses to “Let’s Talk Selling”

  1. Christian Spoerl Avatar
    Christian Spoerl

    17 is also the number of Dave Brown, the NYG QB I try to forget.

    Very good article. What we found out is that marketing drives calls in, but YOU need to need qualify prospects. So you are correct, you did your job but we also need to do our job.

    Thanks for the tips, and your consulting services !

    1. Darren Avatar

      You are welcome Chris! You make it easy!

  2. Wayne Avatar

    I like to first start with a phone call and a series of questions that help me gauge the level of interest and then figure out their pain points. From here I can put together my strategy in order to convert this particular client.

    Keep it coming Darren

    1. Darren Avatar

      Thanks Wayne! Good tip!

  3. Tom McHaffie Avatar
    Tom McHaffie

    In preparation for starting a replacement window business to supplement custom home building, I sat through 10 sales presentations from replacement window contractors, posing as a potential customer. Usually the presentations took an hour and 1/2 to two hours (i.e. too long), including measuring 14 windows. Although these companies generally have the reputation of being “hard sell” types, I found them to be more like robots. Only 1 of the 10 followed up, and that was only to say his boss would like to come by and possibly give me a better price (they were by far the highest price company). Not one of them really tried to close the sale while in my house…yet all were willing to give me a price right there.

    The main take-away for me though, was that the best salesmen are the best listeners. These guys were good talkers (for 1 & 1/2 hours), but poor at finding out why the customer called them in the first place. Not one of them told me that I don’t need new windows (which I don’t), for instance. I learned more about windows than I’ve ever learned as a custom home builder of 22 years…but did I really need to know all that stuff…or could the salesman have made a sale, or in this case, not wasted his time, if he had just asked the right questions? My point…features and benefits are great…but there better be a lot of listening before, during and after! And then follow up with tenacity like Darren says!

    Thanks Darren for the great post(s)….and for listening to our needs!

    1. Darren Avatar

      I love it Tom…black ops! Gotta admit, I do it too! And you are welcome Tom! Thanks for commenting!

  4. Sam Bradley Avatar
    Sam Bradley

    Your second paragraph says it all. Without a “sales process” you fall victum to the “buyer/seller dance” where the buyer leads and the seller gets their toes (price) stepped on. Tom’s comments above are proof that without a planned process, you are going to look just like all the other sales people the buyer is talking to which leaves them no choice but to base their buying decision on price. The process should also include leaving no loose ends. End each sales call should end with a complete understanding of everyone’s future actions and responsibilities.
    Combine a good sales process with appropriate marketing and you’ll be busier than a one armed wing walker with a wedgie!

  5. Roger Avatar

    Your best assets are the muscles in your jaw – tighten them and shut up! LISTEN to what the client wants. They called you to solve a problem for them. They don’t care how much you know about everything else in your trade – they only care about how much you know about how to SOLVE THEIR PROBLEM.

    Walk in expecting to walk out with a signed contract. LISTEN for what their problem is (their interpretation of it) and tell them how you can solve it. That’s all they want. Don’t sell them your price – sell yourself and your solution.