“The Good News (And Not) For Planning Our 2018 Business”

As we stand at the threshold of a new year and new opportunities, we may be wondering what it will take to release our message to the population we intend to serve and how to connect with them. Once we do that, how do we engage them and ultimately make a sale so we can make money and they can get the improvements that will enhance their homes and their lives? 

Sometimes, we overthink this. That’s part of the good news. The rest is that 2018 is no different than any other year in our experience except in the way we apply ourselves and remember to keep the client first. Everything else emanates from that.

Selling is so simple. We don’t always have the right solutions, at the right price, or the right client who can a decision that seems ready to be made. Other than this, selling is straightforward and simple – not easy, but definitely not complicated.

Before we look at this some more, the not so good news. Many people will read blogs, websites, books, and articles, or attend webinars or seminars trying to absorb the latest and greatest sales techniques for the new year. Actually, there is nothing new. It’s quite old-school.

Before we can make a sale, we must engage our clients (that we have met through some form of marketing, referral, or personal introduction) and ask them questions to determine what they want and what will help them live their lives better in their current homes. We observe their situation to see if we agree with their opinion or diagnosis of their living environment. We may ask additional clarifying or qualifying questions. We determine their objectives and budget. We learn their timing and any other contributing factors (funding, addressing special needs during construction, access to their home, and other decision-makers, for instance) that may control their decision or when the work can be stared and completed. We strike a meeting of the minds and get their written approval (consent) on our prepared job scope. That’s how we make a sale. Of course, we must listen intently and purposefully to their responses. Otherwise, asking the questions is pointless. When the sale is not made on the initial visit – which quite often is the case – we follow-up until the sale is ready to happen.

This is the same way to make a sale and meet with a client that has been effective for a long time. Forget about all of the “new” techniques, automated programs, tricks, shortcuts, and other ways that are supposed to introduce us to the current way of selling. The current way is the old way – the way it’s been for decades.

The difference in the way we meet with our clients and create a sale with them from the way a retail establishment or others dealing in a product – when selling the product is the main objective – is that we are interested in creating solutions and not in moving a product.

Imagine walking into a department store to get an outfit to wear and having the sales clerk take one look at us as we approached them, pick out something for us to wear in a color they thought we would like (regardless of the occasion, our mood, or colors already present in our closet), guess at the size, ring it up, put it in a bag or box, and have it ready for us to take as soon as we paid for it. What if it didn’t fit us, what if we didn’t like it as much as the clerk apparently did, what if the reason we were buying it was not taken into consideration by the clerk (how could it be without them ever speaking to us to find out?), and what if the price point (higher or lower) was not what expected or had in mind? Of course, this is an extreme example that likely would never happen, and it’s obvious why. No one can make a sale without learning at least a little (and hopefully a great deal more) about what the client or customer desires and then appealing to that need.

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