Mark Richardson, CR, is an author, columnist, and business growth strategist. He authored the best-selling book, How Fit Is Your Business? as well as his latest book, Fit to Grow. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301.275.0208.
i am a fan of baseball, especially the science of the game. Winning in baseball is more about not making mistakes than beating the opponent. If you give up fewer walks as a pitcher, you will generally do well. If you make fewer errors as a fielder, the other team will score less. If you avoid strikes as a batter, you will get on base and score runs more often.
In this way, baseball is analogous to remodeling sales. The difference between a 20 percent close rate and a 30 percent close rate translates to a 50 percent increase. With 20 percent you are “striking out” 8 out of 10 times, whereas with 30 percent the number goes to 7 out of 10.
So, if you want to give yourself a 50 percent raise, work on making fewer sales mistakes. The following are nine mistakes I frequently see in salespeople.
1] Not knowing your numbers. Your close rate, project costs and other figures give you insights into what you need to adjust with your swing.
2] Lack of a sales process. If you can master a simple sales process, you will see an increase of 10-20 points in your close rate. Following a process gives you the freedom to be in the moment and focus on helping the client.
3] Not telling the company story. Remodeling is about relationships. If they don’t know your history, your industry position and why you are the authority, they might not move forward with you.
4] Being like everyone else. People buy from companies they see as different. How are you different? If you cannot articulate it easily, the prospect will probably not see the ways you stand out.
5] Judging a book buy the cover. Your first visit with a prospect should be all about helping them sort through their options, not selling them a specific project. If you have the mindset of helping others first and not judging them, you will increase your close rate. Many are guilty of this.
6] Selling to the wrong clients. A friend once told me he estimated that 18 percent of homeowners will not allow you to make a profit. While it’s important to try to help anyone, your home visit is also about filtering out the wrong clients for your business.
7] Being too fast or slow in the home. You need to find the right cadence when working with a prospect. You cannot effectively sell a serious remodeling project in a 30-minute visit. Conversely, if you stay for three hours, it is probably too long. Remaining sensitive to the right pace is critical.
8] Not providing enough reasons to do the project. People make purchases emotionally but rationalize decisions logically. Logic, such as ROI, impending price increases and availability of crews, needs to be peppered into your discussion.
9] Becoming a stranger with past clients. There is a lifetime value in past clients, but those relationships need nurturing. Regular care will result in great returns.
What other mistakes do you see? You can rate yourself and your salespeople by looking at this list. The best salespeople are neither the smartest nor the most talented; they just make fewer mistakes.