As I finished up my last sales appointment of the day, I looked at the time. Had it really been 3 hours and 45 minutes since I arrived at this house? The good news was the time put in with this customer paid off; it ended in a $25,600 closed sale.
After arriving to Mrs. Balle's home, I was greeted by her with written instructions from her husband. She read these instructions very clearly for me, “we're probably selling the house next year so my husband only wants to change the outdoor ac unit that runs the second floor." I found out later, Mrs. Balle had presented the same scenario to three other contractors who promptly gave her the estimate for exactly what she asked.
About an hour into my visit, Mrs. Balle let me know that the three other contractors she previously met all took about 20-30 minutes to give her an estimate on price. My first reaction was to wonder, “Why?” Then I thought, “What a shame.”
You see, to truly help a person make an educated decision, you have to spend time asking questions, listening to the answers and making the proper recommendations. This takes time and professionalism.
When customers do independent research prior to your sales appointment, you may need to give them answers to their questions. You have to give them facts and be the expert they need to make a proper buying decision.
Think of it this way: You wouldn’t you walk into your Doctor’s office with a list of strange symptoms and demand a course of treatment without allowing the Doctor to make a proper diagnosis, would you? If the Doctor gave you the prescription you wanted without taking time to diagnose your strange condition, would you consider him or her a professional?
I've written many articles and trained many sales professionals on the subject of structure in sales. Taking time to ask probing questions about the customer’s needs and really caring about the answers is the key to not only being professional, but also being successful.
Forgive the old sales adage, “people buy from people they trust.” Trust doesn't happen in an instant. It takes time and relationship building.
So how much time should you spend?
Depending on the customer’s needs, you should spend an average of an hour and a half to two hours if you sell to consumers in the residential industry. At Mrs. Balle’s home, my sales appointment took 3 hours and 45 minutes and ended with a closed sale over $25,000.
Time and patience is a sales person’s friend. You’ll be rewarded with sales and your customers will be rewarded with the professionalism they deserve.
You can read more about sales appointments in the book, "Selling at the Kitchen Table: A Contractor's Guide to Closing the Deal".
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