Customer Satisfaction Selling
authors Dave Yoho
The average “in-home” consumer is “in front” loaded with perceptions regarding the products and services that will be offered by a contractor. Often this includes information as well as misinformation.
Frequently, a prospect’s early impression is colored by their perception of those who sell remodeling or home improvement projects.
So a contractor (or salesperson) enters a prospect’s home facing potential distrust, resistance or misunderstanding. Even under the best circumstances, those who sell to homeowners have to be taught attitude adjustment—inclusive of methods by which to warm-up the prospects and the environment in which they will attempt to sell their products.
In most cases, contractors and salespeople are offering an unfinished product, which has to be defined by pictures, samples and models, and supported by their presentation skills and a preparedness to respond to—and correct—the misinformation the prospects may have, all while maintaining “customer satisfaction.”
Buying Habits and Value Systems
Home improvement projects sold in the home are usually customized to adapt to architectural styles, existing construction and decorations. This requires an understanding of how the product meets the needs of the prospect, which may not be apparent in the early meetings between “buyer and seller.”
“In-home” prospects have different levels of education and may utilize words that describe their wants and needs, which can be confusing. A want may be apparent; a need may have to be uncovered. Prospects also vary in their value systems and buying habits.
“In-home” sellers have to learn how to develop rapport (gain the confidence of prospects and build trust) rapidly in order to be able to transmit their message at a level of understanding and in concert with the prospect’s values and needs.
Modern Sales Methods
(From our recorded series, “The Science of Successful In-Home Selling”)
“Historically, the goal of a sales call would have been described as an encounter that hopefully would result in a conquest or a victory.
In this modern era, the concept of selling a home improvement project might be described as a problem-solving interaction between buyer and seller, wherein there is a deepening of the dependency on each other, and ultimately this leads to a meeting of the minds. This presupposes that the salesperson’s primary aim is to collaborate effectively and establish trust.”
The Origin of Step Selling
Many years ago, our company introduced “step selling” for in-home salespeople. The structure of an in-home sale was divided into various levels of the presentation: the observation, needs assessment, building rapport, selling the company, selling the product, and selling the price. In the early 1960s we called this six sales, or six steps, to a sale. Despite changes in the marketplace and buyers habits, step selling responds to the manner in which the mind can intake and evaluate information.
The concept is built on understanding the way the mind and the feelings of the prospect are functioning during the selling process. Customers need to deal with one idea at a time, and the combination of ideas and need issues has to be delivered in an orderly process that is aimed at fulfilling a need of the prospect and enabling the listeners (prospects) to build a positive relationship with the presenter. It also permits salespeople to process the information being received during a presentation, which incidentally helps them understand the prospect’s value system, leading to the ability to uncover unspoken needs.
For Every Action There is a Reaction, Sometimes Unwisely
Examine how salespeople often react when a prospect says, “I only want a price.” The salesperson perceives that’s what the prospect needs. For the salesperson not to comply is resorting to manipulation and high pressure, so he or she rapidly shows samples, quotes a price and takes the chance that the prospect might buy.
Even very successful salespeople take shortcuts and unconsciously do a disservice to both the prospect and themselves. The prospect may not get complete information or an overview of their needs to which they are entitled and require in order to make a competent decision.
This six-step sales methodology was created to enable in-home salespeople to develop a scientific approach to their task and better serve the needs of their customers. When both sides are served, it creates more business and more satisfied customers. Depending on the product being presented and the style of the lead, there may be nine or 10 steps. The principle remains: “One idea at a time in a structured order.”
Less Telling = Better Selling
It is important to stress that selling is not telling. In-home selling requires listening and information-processing techniques, which actually don’t take more time and energy than presentations made without them. When there is too much telling, there is a lot less listening and processing of what is being said.
As an example in our published and recorded series, entitled “Power Linguistics,” we include a study on listening.
The model includes exercises, which enable those selling in the home to:
- Ask questions to clarify what the other party is saying. This is called L.Q.R. First, listen; second, question; and only then, respond.
- Another exercise teaches communicators to repeat some of what the other party has said. We call this “echolalia.” Phrases such as, “Do I understand that you’d like to ——?” Then repeat a portion of the statement. Or “Do you mean that you tried [here describe what was said] without much success?” These responses not only indicate interest and show you are listening, they also help build an abundance of information, leading to improved dialogue, which leads to greater understanding.
The latter exercise is most beneficially used in response to statements regarding your price, “Your price is too high,” “That’s a lot of money,” or “We’re going to get more prices.” A trained response system teaches you to pause 4 to 8 seconds prior to responding with, “Why do you ‘say’ (‘think’ or ‘feel’) that?” The response to which will guide a trained person to respond—as opposed to cutting the price—with definitive information as to how to proceed. Remember, if you uncover real needs versus stated wants, you improve the level of rapport.
From Good to Extraordinary in Selling
Many who sell products/services in the home ultimately fail in their chosen task because of the lack of this kind of training without which they miss valuable information, insights and buying clues.
Without proper questioning and listening techniques, valuable information may be missed or overlooked. Sometimes even the most skilled salesperson is so excited about delivering their information that they fail to listen carefully and then process the information received, which often contains buying clues provided by prospects.
“Closing the sale is the natural conclusion to the satisfactory completion of each step of the selling process.”
Many sales presentations are geared toward beating down the prospect’s resistance instead of responding to their values.
Our sales system is based on a sales methodology, which is predicated on the following credo:
“A prospect/customer is the key ingredient in a sound sales methodology. How the prospect thinks and feels has to be the major consideration in the development of a sales system—or that system will eventually fail.” |QR
To hear and view online more about this concept visit: bit.ly/2M1FhrH. Dave Yoho Associates is the oldest (since 1962), largest and most successful consulting/training group representing this industry. They also produce the best-selling recorded series, “The Science of Successful In-Home Selling” and the web-based video training series, “Super Sales Training.” For more information visit daveyoho.com or email email@example.com.