flexiblefullpage
interstitial1
Currently Reading

Customer Leadership

Advertisement
billboard
Sales

Customer Leadership

How to give remodeling clients what they need, instead of what they want


By Chip Doyle October 6, 2020
Sales Tactics
Sales Tactics
This article first appeared in the Sept/Oct 2020 issue of Pro Remodeler.

When it comes to newer salespeople, one of the biggest areas of growth that I see revolves around customer leadership. The traditional perception of customer service is to do what the customer asks, and then hand them a bill. That does not work in remodeling. Remodeling is a complex, expensive sale, and homeowners don’t have a lot of experience buying it. Following a traditional customer-service model can be disastrous for both the company and homeowner.

Customer leadership is a mindset required in complex industries like law, medicine, financial services, and certainly remodeling. In these industries, employees must lead the customer through a challenging process to ensure success. The customer is not always right.

Here are a few things to consider when thinking about customer leadership. 

Lead Source

Be proactive in searching out your ideal customers through public speaking and referrals. Close ratio is primarily a function of lead source, and if you want to work on the best projects, waiting for the phone to ring is not ideal. Embrace the role of subject-matter expert by establishing yourself as a thought leader in the industry. You’ll have your pick of the best projects. Furthermore, these methods of lead generation are often the least expensive with the highest ROI.

Stop Giving Customers What They Want

Consultants like to say, “Give the customer what they need, instead of what they want.” But identifying need is more than asking one or two questions. It requires an exploration of the client’s lifestyle and desires. I’ve found the biggest impediment to asking enough questions is the employee not understanding they are a leader-—not a follower—to the customer.  

There are a few things that you can start right away to exhibit customer leadership.

If a customer is ready to buy, don’t make them wait to sign agreements...

Begin by controlling the overwhelming number of options that your customer faces. Lead the customer to the optimum choice by getting important information up-front and offering fewer options. Don’t let a customer hijack your proven process. 

Be a Leader in Time Management

Find ways to reduce the amount of time required to make the sale and produce the design. Practice professional time management and stick to Gantt charts for all aspects of customer service, not just construction activities. If a customer is ready to buy, don’t make them wait to sign agreements or take unnecessary time in the design process.

This is a prevailing problem in design/build firms today. In some cases, there’s plenty of business to be had, yet the salespeople and designers are holding up production. Time kills deals.

Don’t Rely on the Customer to Stay on Budget 

Clients have no idea how their “wish list” and “nice-to-haves” are crushing their budget. Lead the customer to stay on budget unless you have explicit permission to spend more. I’ve had designers tell me the customer felt betrayed, even though everyone was transparent that the project would come in over budget. It’s not enough to tell them—you must lead them to make decisions that stay within an agreed-upon range.

Self-image is a key component to customer leadership. Some people may never be comfortable leading. Making this mental shift is the crucial first step to ensuring a new employee is handling customer interactions properly. It takes skill and finesse, but simply changing the mindset of customer leadership will cause instant improvement in the employee’s interactions with homeowners

Chip Doyle teaches salespeople “how to sell without sounding like a salesperson.” He speaks at dozens of events per year and is the author of "Selling to Homeowners – The Sandler Way."

Tags


Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
leaderboard2

Related Stories

10 Remodeling Sales Techniques for 2024

Mark Richardson explains the benefits of visual selling, strategic questioning, intentional messaging, and more on this episode of Remodeling Mastery

3 Ways to Start and Operate a Successful Handyman Division

So, you want to start a small projects division? Three successful remodelers lay out their winning approaches and hard-learned lessons

6 Results-Proven Marketing and Sales Tips for Contractors

The Pinnacle Experience’s keynote speaker, author of "They Ask, You Answer" offers results-driven tips contractors can start today for improved leads

How to Get More Leads with a Stronger Remodeling Brand

Discover how to build a strong brand for your construction company, and learn key strategies to differentiate and attract better leads
 

How to Increase Your Odds of Closing Remodeling Sales

Use these tips to hone your sales process and grow close ratio

Building A Small Projects Division from the Ground Up

Through hard work and careful strategy, Harth Home Services has seen big growth

A Mindset of Serving Others

A research study shows surprising results about what makes us take ownership of our work.

10 Questions to Identify Sales Weaknesses

Mark Richardson runs you through a proper fitness check-up—for you and your sales team, that is.

How to Communicate with Today's Cautious Remodeling Client

Amid economic skepticism, Americans continue to spend. Now, how can you get them to spend on remodeling?

7 Tips to Lower Remodeling Costs

As material and labor prices spiral out of control, many homeowners are putting the brakes on remodeling projects. Use these guidelines to bring down costs. 

Advertisement
boombox2
Advertisement
halfpage2
Advertisement
native1

More in Category




Advertisement
native2
Advertisement
halfpage1
Advertisement
leaderboard1