Ed Young, Fabricators Coach
Steve Brooks, Sales/Management Coach
Do you follow up on all your quotes?
If not, you should!
If you do follow up, how many times do you call or email before you finally give up? What’s the timing and sequence of that follow up – 2 emails and then a call or 3 calls and then 5 emails – and on what schedule?
Here’s a better question: Do you need to follow up on a quote to close the sale? What if there was a way to close the sale before you even quote? Is that even possible?
Of course, those ‘born’ salespeople, those unique folks with the gift of gab, the ones who will talk to a fence post if it stands still long enough – those uniquely gifted folks close all their quotes, right?
If you think that salespeople are born and not made,
if you think only a few ‘special’ individuals are true salespeople,
then you are not alone.
Most of the folks I talk to think that same way.
Fortunately, they are wrong.
None of us were born knowing how to fabricate countertops. We all learned it somehow. The ability to sell is no different. None of us were born knowing how to sell. Through mistakes, feedback, persistence, and maybe a little coaching, we have learned how to sell relatively well.
But what about those of us who need to sell well but are uncomfortable with that process? Can we be taught to sell effectively? Can we be taught to close every sales prospect? The answer is, “Yes”!
EVERYTHING IS TAUGHT
I have a friend who says, “I didn’t know my name was Jason until somebody told me!” Just like we learned our own names, we can learn to sell.
In our industry, we tend to think the main part of sales is the technical knowledge and decorating skill. We tend to hire people who understand which colors go together the best and who either know our product or can learn it. Those skills are certainly important. However, they are not sufficient.
If we want to close every prospect, if we want to compete on something other than dollars per square foot, if we want to prosper during challenging economic times – then we need to learn sales skills beyond decorating ability and product knowledge. We need to understand how to get prospects to buy from us before we quote.
This starts with understanding our prospective customer.
At a basic level, people buy from people they like, and they tend to like people who are like them. If you pay attention to your salespeople, or yourself, you may notice that they tend to act like themselves. Unfortunately, this means they may not be adjusting enough to match each prospective customer’s differing style.
Think about it. Some people prefer to move quickly and others more slowly. Some are detail oriented, while others prefer the big picture. Some are intense, while others are laid back. You get the idea.
So, if you are acting like yourself, there is a good chance that the customer is actually having to adjust to work with you. This means that if they happen to meet a different salesperson who is more like them, they might decide to not work with you – just because it didn’t feel right.
Sales professionals need to be adept at identifying characteristics of their prospects quickly so that they can adjust their style to match, as well as the sales process and closing strategy.
Next up is the idea of learning from your customer, rather than teaching your customer. So many salespeople feel compelled to “educate” their prospects so that they can make the right decision. But often, the customer is really hoping for some guidance and support in solving their problems.
The customer isn’t necessarily qualified to figure out the perfect solution, even with your attempt to educate them. But guess what, YOU are qualified!
The key is to build trust with your prospect by asking great questions. The more you understand their situation, the more they will trust that your solution will be the best for them – not for you (or your bottom line, or your installers, or whatever you have in inventory).
People are inherently worried that salespeople will try to sell them something that they don’t need, for too much money. By breaking down the typical sales pattern, you can help prospects feel at ease, open up, and ultimately decide to buy from you well before you’ve ever put the quote together.
One of my favorite questions to ask is, “Have you already selected which company you are going to work with for your countertops?” If they haven’t yet, find out why! Find out how they will make that decision and when.
Once they pick you, design them something amazing!
BENEFITS OF SALES TRAINING
Lack of organized sales training is one of the largest gaps in this industry. Without solid sales training, the sales and marketing engine of your company won’t be effective. Investing time and money to generate more sales leads is wasted if your salespeople can’t turn them into orders.
Structured training delivered by a professional sales trainer can deliver the following benefits:
- Lower turnover for your salespeople – Companies that invest in their people have lower turnover.
- Higher customer satisfaction – when salespeople position themselves as the ‘trusted advisor’, prospects are happier with the outcome of the sales process.
- Not just more positive customer ratings but ratings with stronger language – the customer becomes your advocate
- More sales and larger sales – salespeople who are seen as ‘trusted advisors’ close more deals and close larger deals
- Improved profitability
- Grow market share when your competitors are struggling
Your business is running exactly the way you have designed it to run. Your salespeople are only as good as their training. If you want to improve how your business is run, if you want to improve the performance of your salespeople, drop me a line at Ed@FabricatorsCoach.com.
Stevenson Brooks is a master sales coach that has rewritten the sales training handbook for competitive bid markets. His sessions are fun, motivating, industry specific, and effective. You can reach Stevenson at Steve@mbsbllc.com. #EverythingIsTaught
This article was published in the April 2023 Issue of the Slippery Rock Gazette, find it at: