Mark Richardson's Think Business: Team selling can increase close rate

Team selling is about showing a greater level of creativity and commitment to a prospective client. Team selling changes the dynamic of the sale itself and increases the odds of getting the sale.

June 11, 2013

We always talk about business as a team sport. We use analogies and metaphors about team sports such as football to describe relationships in the remodeling process—sales being the “offense” and production being the “defense,” for example.

We also know leads are more important in these times, and selling and closing projects can be tough. This tougher environment requires some new and creative ways to sell. Some of these ways require new techniques, but others just require that you take what you already know and apply it to the sales call. One strategy that can increase your close rate and sales volume is “team selling.”

Team selling is not just visiting the client with another sales person or having extra “cooks in the kitchen.” Effective team selling is about differentiating yourself. Team selling is about showing a greater level of creativity and commitment to a prospective client. Team selling changes the dynamic of the sale itself and increases the odds of getting the sale.

I began developing team-selling strategies many years ago, but the approach is still important in today’s selling environment. The way team selling works is quite simple, but it takes time to master.

When you go out on a lead, you take two people not just one. The second person can be another sales person or another member of your team, such as a project manager. You can also have a strategic partnership act as the second person. The key is always that there are two people at the sales call, not just one.

1. Be different. Of the other five remodelers your prospect calls, how many show up with two people? Generally, no other remodelers will send two people. Standing out by showing a greater level of commitment is memorable, and you always want to be remembered in a positive manner.

2. Four eyes and ears are better than two. Seeing the clients and listening to details can increase the likelihood of closing the sale. Many subtle cues can be missed when you are presenting to multiple homeowners. These subtleties can be about the project or more of a personal nature. Although second team members may not be carrying the sales call, they will have ideas that can bring value to the sales process or to the project.

3. Accountability. We all know that following the complete sales process will increase the odds of getting the sale; however, are you and your sales staff always following the sales process? Are you always properly prepared and arriving on time? When you have a team-selling approach, you increase the level of accountability. If you are a professional, the last thing you want to do is fall short on any of the basics with your colleagues observing and investing their time.

4. Feedback and coaching. In a team-selling structure you have an opportunity to coach each other. This can show how the sales flow was perceived by the prospect, or even point out some specific words or gestures that you unconsciously used and were inappropriate. I always recommend that the two team members drive together to the prospect’s house to discuss the lead and talk about each other’s role before the meeting. In the car following the sales call, coach each other on the best way to follow up. If you are open to feedback and want to improve your strategy, help can come from very diverse team members.

5. Empathy. If you occasionally bring other members of your team from production or marketing on a sales call, you not only increase the odds of getting the sale but also strengthen the team relationship. They will be better in their respective jobs by knowing sales. They will have a higher degree of empathy of what happens “in battle” and will want to support you and the sales process with helpful tools. Successful companies are focused on the growth of each team member just as much as top-line sales. If you allow other team members to experience the sales process, it helps promote a team culture within the company.

In closing, I cannot count the number of remodeling owners who have come up to me after a speech and said they have been doing team selling for years and attribute much of their success in tough times to the approach. As you contemplate this process, you might say, “I don’t have anyone to go with me,” or, “I cannot afford the time,” or, “It is awkward to have a second person.” I would argue that if you can master team selling, you will improve your sales skills, increase your close rate 10 to 20 percent, and create a better team culture. There is no downside to team selling for you or the client. PR

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