A valid workable script enunciates phrases which create positive mindsets for the prospect/customer.
The congruent script uses language which is later used by the salesperson when meeting the prospect which reinforces the message.
Here is an example:
The person taking the appointment says:
“Our consultant will look at what you want to have done and need to have done, and if we can provide that service, we will give you an accurate written proposal on what your investment would be, and if we can’t provide the service you need, we may be able to provide you with the names of others who can.”
So what are the keys in this script?
For starters, specific words are chosen because of the positive impact they have on someone’s mind. For example:
Consultant vs. Representative
Want and Need vs. Would like
Written proposal vs. Estimate
Your investment vs. Cost
The final phrase (if we can’t provide the service you need…) is a negative takeaway.
When meeting prospect(s) at their home, salespeople should follow a similar script, and this will give the impression of congruence in the prospect’s mind.
For more scripting provided by our experts don’t miss the upcoming Home Improvement Profitability Summit in the Washington D.C. area!
We received two excellent questions into our office the other day and we wanted to tackle them as soon as possible.
Q: Besides referrals, what is the #1 best ROI [return on investment] marketing source?
A: Obviously referrals have a great ROI, and don’t stop at those that come in voluntarily. Every company should have a “dedicated referral program” with appropriate incentives for leads produced through their customer base. Referral plans should be introduced by the salesperson (after they’ve made a sale), followed up by a thank-you letter which the customer should receive when the project is scheduled. Further follow-ups when the job is completed (paid), thirty days after the job is completed, and again at 90 days. If you’ve got a good referral plan, also make sure you place a phone call once the job is completed and of course all of this should be supported by something in writing.
The second most effective lead is one that is nurtured through database marketing. This includes:
- Your previous customers - solicited for additional work and referrals.
- Prospects where the project was presented and not sold (remember, you’ve already paid for the lead)
- Non-issued leads
- Leads rejected for finance or cancellations.
We call this “mining your database.” It is covered in detail in our audio package entitled, “Leads, Leads, Leads”
Q: We are a small operation, and we are struggling to implement effective sales training. Once we are “up to speed” how long should sales training last?
A: Sales training is ongoing, it should never end. First, there’s basic training (1-2 weeks), followed by field training, then ongoing sales meetings in the office at least once a week. It is vital that you make time for regular training meetings, because this is how growth will be fostered within your organization. Like any other profession, sales training is there to re-present basic methods which are frequently ignored or left out when salespeople become even slightly successful. Online sales training is a highly effective way of accomplish these goals for both veterans and the new hire.
Let’s summarize the Q&A from last month’s home improvement webinar by addressing a trio of vital questions:
Q: How do you get people to fill out information if they resist?
A: The problem of resistance frequently occurs when there is neither rapport nor trust established. Once again, I suggest the need for scripting. If the early questions are more along the lines of “searching for ways to help the prospect” your response will be much better. Here’s an example: The prospect is looking at one of your products on display. You ask “By the way, how old is your home?”or “Is this product/color/design appropriate for your home?” The follow-up to their response to these questions usually opens the door for questions such as: “Have you ever seen similar products?” or “Did you ever consider installing products such as these in your home?” For specific products (i.e. siding and trim) ask questions such as: “Have you experienced any peeling or discoloration on any parts of the exterior of your home?” For roofing you might ask, “How old is the roof on your home?” or “Do you observe any of the shingles lifting?” or “Have you lost any shingles during the recent windstorms?” For kitchen cabinet refacing you might ask, “What is the current ‘finish’ on your kitchen cabinets?” or “Do you still have the original hardware?” or “What would be the most important change you would want if you were upgrading your kitchen?”
These and similar questions usually lead to discussions of a specific nature regarding their kitchen, roof, siding or other product and will help build trust and rapport.
Once you have established that you have an intense desire to supply information which is beneficial, discuss the inspection of their project using scripted language. These scripts enable the prospect to see that you have an interest in their wants/needs and that you care about what they are saying. The staff who are promoting lead development at the show need to have continuous role play to avoid social language. Scripted language promotes rapport. Rapport is a feeling which you can generate by showing care and concern for what the prospects are talking about.
Q: How do you keep your leads hot? From the day of the show until the day you get to the customer they seem to change their minds.
A: For best results, set the leads while you are in the booth. In the more advanced companies they do this by bringing the customer to the point of agreeing to a visit, then on a cell phone they contact the call center or someone in their office who is scripted to set appointments. All prospects agreeing to appointments receive a confirming e-mail (within the hour) thanking them for their interest and verifying the appointment time.
For those prospects who are more nebulous (less definite), they follow-up with a similar premise, and then mail or e-mail information which stimulates continuing interest, which is then followed-up with a call from the call center.
Current research indicates that for best results, leads are set in a time frame of 48-72 hours. Those leads which are set for dates beyond the 72 hour limit need to be reconfirmed or reset (sometimes revived) after 3 or 4 days. All prospects, whether immediate or “down the pike,” require ongoing stimulation. Use a follow-up post card, e-mail, or similar. Long range prospects (those which you are unable to set as a specific lead now) are entered into your database for future mailings and phone follow-up at appropriate times. If you have a showroom and they were interested or stimulated by some product which they saw at the show, arrange to pick them up at their home and bring them into the showroom. This has two benefits:
- A visit to the home enables you to take a quick look at the project and take pictures
- Bringing them to your showroom enables you to fit your products into the “design picture” of their home. Once in your showroom you can utilize “cad” drawings or pictures of the home (taken when they’re being picked up).
Finally, use your creativity and imagination. Above all, continue to stimulate their interest and stay in touch until the appointment can be set inside of the 48-72 hour time slot.
Q: How do you measure the success of a show?
A: First, make sure all of the costs of the show are fully loaded, including the time (labor) which went into preparing the display, erecting the display at the show, and the payroll for your promoters (staff) at the show. Next, measure the number of leads procured. Also measure each promoter individually to measure their efficiency.
Next, divide the number of leads which you are issuing into the cost expended. This will define the dollar cost of the lead being issued. Next, measure the number of “sits” (presentations) which were made. Then measure the number and total dollar amount of the “net sales” (after cancellations and credit rejects) and measure this against fully loaded costs (your investment) to arrive at the total marketing cost for the show/event. Count the leads which are going into your database. Keep them segregated until they have been followed-up on over the next 30-60 days.
Again, we appreciate all of your questions, and we are in the midst of preparing our webinar schedule for the remainder of 2013; however, in the interim we will be presenting live seminars in Orlando and Washington D.C. Go to www.hipsummit.com for full information.
As promised, we will now continue to respond to some of the questions we received from our latest home improvement webinar on shows and events.
Q: I don’t agree with not having salesmen at the shows. They are the ones who keep business flowing and they are more knowledgeable about our products and services versus a show crew. I really didn’t see that as a helpful tip, more of a dangerous tip.
A: I thank you for your candor and your input – - my answer is twofold.
- All our current research (the last 3 to 4 years) indicates that when properly scripted show personnel are used with management supervision and leads are “set” by a call center or someone similarly trained in a smaller company, the quantity of leads increases exponentially. This is also supported when we “shop” various shows and keep records of what systems/methods are the most effective (more on this later).
- The fact that you don’t agree is evidence that you believe your plan is better, and I have no argument with that – - as long as you are getting the full benefit by using your salespeople and are maximizing the number of leads you get at shows (which includes those for immediate presentation and those for follow-up, including database).
Two thoughts on the latter: First, the most effective salespeople by their very nature will want to know as rapidly as possibly whether this is (by their interpretation) a good/hot/qualified lead. Second, all of our current research indicates that when the prospect is spending more than 10 minutes with the lead taker then he/she is getting involved with issues such as how a product is installed, how it’s made, etc. This when combined with war stories containing numerous first person statements are what might make that salesperson successful when selling. However, it obviates for the most part the possibility of developing more nebulous (less qualified) leads where the prospect may be displaying little interest which is often interpreted as, no interest or, “I need the product but I don’t want to be visited by a salesperson.”
Our research further indicates that scripted show promoters who can answer the questions regarding the best way to have one’s house evaluated (see example below) may bring about a lead that is less qualified in the salesperson’s eyes, but with proper training will bring “maybe’s” who can be converted to a “yes”.
Here is an example of powerful scripting when setting the lead:
“Our representative will come to your home and do a careful examination of the conditions. He will access what you want to have done – or need to have done – and – if our company can provide such services we will give you an accurate written proposal on what your investment would be. And if we cannot provide such services we will try to provide you with sources that may be able to fulfill your needs.”
The above is only a snippet of a good script, and should be used in place of “we’ll come out and give you an estimate” or something similar, which is what everyone else says, seldom realizing that the word estimate is frequently interpreted as “ballpark” or “guess.” A script which includes the previous verbiage becomes the foundation of what your salespeople will say when meeting prospects at their home. As an example, the salesperson at the house for the first time and as early as possible asks:
“Did my company explain what we’re going to do for you today without obligation?”
[after they answer]
“We will look at what you want to have done and need to have done and if we can provide the services that you require we’ll provide you with an accurate written proposal on what your investment would be. And if we cannot provide such services we will try to provide you with sources that may be able to fulfill your needs.”
Again, this is only a snippet. These phrases are structured on a psychological study which is based on neurolinguistic programming.
Finally, while we thank you again for your inquiry, it was not our intent to attempt to convert you. Remember, if you are getting maximization out of your current methods, continue doing what you’re doing. However, I do suggest that when you get the opportunity, try our methods and measure one against the other; you may be in for some pleasant surprises.
Q: Do shows allow people to stand at the entrance to hand out literature?
A: Many of the larger shows have rules (standards and practices), check those out first. Some of the smaller shows do not. We have had clients who have been successful in handing out a layout of the show which shows the numbers of the booths and locations (these are usually made available by the show’s producers). They hand it to each entrant and then have a sticker on the front which says “See us at booth 64” or in lieu of that they wear a name tag badge which says the same thing.
We will expound upon these topics at our upcoming programs in Orlando and Washington D.C. Visit www.hipsummit.com to learn more.
Continue to stay tuned for more answers to the excellent questions we received.
We appreciate the marvelous turn out for our most recent home improvement webinar. How do we know that it was a successful webinar? Here are some statistics:
- Upwards of 800 companies registered
- Within the first 30 minutes, only 9 companies signed off.
- At the end of the first hour, only 22 total had signed off.
This doesn’t mean that everything we said appealed to everyone, people had various reasons for participating (i.e. they were told to, they were curious, or possibly they already see themselves as successful in this field of lead development). We have no argument with any of these and we appreciate the fact that they at least tuned in. Those that didn’t get it or didn’t get all of the information, we highly recommend that you listen to the recording of the webinar at least one more time.
Now let’s deal with some of the questions and/or statements, some of which were less than positive.
Q: We’ve quit going to shows – we couldn’t make it pay. What do you recommend that would change that?
A: Think about this: Did the show produce insufficient attendance? Evaluate all the conditions such as weather, time of day/week. If the show produced an audience with a demographic similar to your customer base, the show did its job. So next, let’s evaluate what you are/were doing. Think of the components necessary to have a successful show as enumerated in this webinar. Be open minded enough to try 1 or 2 more shows using the principles we suggested. We have clients who have tried mediums such as canvassing, direct mail with a premium offering, TV ads which specialize in financing and similar. For the most part, if this was a new type of lead, their personnel (including call center, lead distribution, and salespeople) lack the understanding of why certain kinds of leads are different and thus require different scripting. Shows/events present a unique opportunity for “face to face” lead development.
Q: Why do your account executives insist on scripts. We’ve tried, our people won’t use them.
A: The purpose of a script is to be using “interactive language” which is affirmative to the person [prospect] to whom you are speaking. Social language needs to be bypassed. An effective script is usually loaded with questions which are both affirming while seeking to learn more about the customer’s needs. It also shows that you care, and have a perceived interest in the prospect’s specific situation, while providing beneficial “response information.”
Remember, most people didn’t go to the show with the intent of stopping at your booth or the intent of giving you their name, address, phone number and telling you all the details about their home. If they come to your booth it is because something about it or the person to whom they first spoke conveyed trust. Care language is psychologically defined as the customer/prospect talking more than the lead getter or even the salesperson. The clues to determining their needs [vs. their wants] is in carefully prepared words and phrases that build rapport rapidly.
If you are highly successful without scripts and have no desire to increase the lead efficiency at intake, continue to do what you do. Our research is based on understanding the way the customer/prospect feels, and without appearing callous it is not important how you, your lead taker, your call center person or salesperson feels about the situation. Record them “role playing” specific messages that you are sending in an unscripted format. Are they loaded with inane expressions such as “How are you today?”, “Are you enjoying the show?”, “Are you having problems with your windows, siding, basement, water, etc.?”, “Have you heard about our company?”, “Would you like or can we give you an estimate on…?”
Examine some of the common social language of today: “You know, we are one of the oldest companies doing, you know, this kind of work and, you know.” Or how about this one: “We—like, come out and take a look at your home and, like, give you an idea on what it costs and there is no, like, obligation.” Or how about the use of the phrase “OK” as punctuation? If this suggestion seems foolish or oversimplified, check on how many of your people are using this type of common social language which is accepted as such.
A good script avoids that kind of language. Again, if you feel that you are already successful enough, continue to do whatever it is you’re doing. On the other hand, if you’d like to take a stab at improving the number of leads you get, the number of leads you can issue and the sit rate, try scripting as well as some of the other ideas we recommend.
Q: Do you recommend that we get as many names, addresses and other contact information or try and set appointments?
A: First, establish a goal. In today’s marketplace you want someone who will give you permission to come to their home, view their circumstances, make a presentation of your product and then give an accurate written proposal on what their investment would be. To do this you have to start with the basics: name, address, and other contact information. Now if you’re looking for the “low hanging fruit” you’ll incorrectly try to get them to tell you about the condition of their siding, their basement, their heating, their kitchen, etc. (too early in the sales process). A script takes us through the information which shows the prospect that we care about them. Here are a few examples of questions which a good script examines:
- “And how long have you lived in your home?”
- “What were your previous experiences with having a home improvement or repair done on your home?”
- “What, if any, interest do you have in the current tax credit for energy savings which are produced with certain products?”
- “Have you ever had anyone examine your (state product/service) to determine its efficiency, life expectancy, etc.?”
Now some of you may immediately resist these suggestions, saying they’re personal questions and most people won’t answer them. You’re right, but that’s only because you haven’t approached it with the proper rapport building remarks or statements. Here is an analogy, if I meet someone in a purely social situation and during the course of discussion I look at that person directly and say, “Incidentally, have you ever had problems with your lower back?” Then, while maintaining eye contact, I do not speak. I will usually get answers which relate to personal situations (including specific incidents), physicians they have consulted, the brace that they have worn occasionally, or they will discuss someone in their family who has had serious back problems. The reason for that response is that over 90% of the people in the world experience back discomfort at some time in their life. The person to whom you’ve asked the question is aware of its commonality and wants to tell someone about what they know, their specific problem. The manner in which the question was asked does not appear to have a risk or trespass involved with the person who has asked the question. This is also true of every homeowner, whether theirs is a new home or an older one. They probably have problems about which they will usually respond to someone who doesn’t represent a threat. Here again is where scripting becomes important.
The response to these questions and the additional questions which it will generate represent an opportunity to create “databank” information on the prospect and the conditions of their home for future contact in the event the original lead is not sold. It also provides an opportunity to create the proper protection for your company in complying with the “Do Not Call” list laws.
As an example, you are probably aware that when you take this lead you have about 90 days to follow-up with visits and phone calls. After that period, if they are on a “Do Not Call” list you cannot (by law) recontact these prospects by phone without being in violation of the law. Incidentally, after you’ve installed your work (completed your contract) you have only 18 months in which to call these customers regarding additional work. If within your script and printed on your lead form you have a phrase such as: “In the future if your product design or engineering changes or if there are certain times when special prices are offered, contact us based on the information on this form”. Then get the form signed. If you have such a form you may be able to call back at will (check this out with your legal adviser based on the state in which you do business). Also, keep the paper file in case you are challenged. The lead or inquiry that you didn’t sell immediately may not have contracted for this work with others 3 months from now and they are worth additional contact. This method is often called “rehash”.
We will expound upon these topics at our upcoming programs in Orlando and Washington D.C. Visit www.hipsummit.com to learn more.
Stay tuned for more answers to the excellent questions we received.
In response to the many questions we had on canvassing from our recent home improvement webinar, we have called on our resident expert on that topic, David Alan Yoho, who is the featured presenter in the vastly popular recorded series “Leads, Leads, Leads”.
Q: What are some of the things that companies that have successful/profitable canvassing teams do differently than those companies that are or have been unsuccessful/unprofitable with canvassing crews?
A: The list is long since there are more ways to fail at canvassing than there are to succeed. The good news is that when performed correctly, it’s a great way to develop leads consistently at lower cost than most sources.
Successful companies control the herd. They transport them to and from the canvass. If you allow canvassers to transport themselves, you risk multiple problems (legal and ethical among them). The company has scouted and chosen the routes, the quantity of properties and have set rules about what canvassers can and cannot do in the neighborhood. They do not allow canvassers to fill the schedule with poorly set appointments.
Successful companies find and keep strong leaders. This includes the Team Leader, who transports, coaches and guides the team. They are the first line of ensuring that production and behavior are positive. They set the tone for performance; they are excellent canvassers. They demonstrate as much or more than they observe. Companies have bench strength in place so they cannot be held hostage by poor performers or people with poor attitudes.
Successful companies recruit daily. Since the average canvasser is single, doesn’t own a home and is engaged in this difficult selling assignment, their ongoing employment is tenuous. However, you need to keep low performers from dragging down performance and morale. You need to pare from the bottom up. You cannot be misled by the false belief that the scant few leads developed by the worst performers are somehow profitable.
Q: How do companies measure the outcome or degree of success in canvass programs?
A: Successful companies have profitability measurements. Their key measurement is demos, or at the least, issued appointments (assuming the full demo rate on issued appointments is 80% or better – - well-run operations enjoy demo rates as high as 90-92%). They forecast, budget, compensate and measure by the paid man-hour. This is simpler and easier to track, and any high school educated canvass department employee can understand it.
Successful companies compensate based on the cost of the lead which enables them to pay more to their best people (and keep them), paying less to lower producing, more costly canvassers. Compensation is the prescription for working under emotionally draining conditions including tough weather.
Q: How do these companies train or utilize ongoing training with canvassers?
A: Successful companies train with non-negotiable methods and language for selling and setting appointments. They train daily using a variety of methods; they coach every rep, every week, whether they need it or not.
Successful companies are also exceptionally well organized. They know when and where to canvass. They have prepared their canvassers with all kinds of intelligence about the neighborhoods so that their canvassers are positioned as experts.
Finally, successful companies are professional. They dictate dress, grooming and behavior without compromise. They ensure their canvassers handle complaints, unhappy homeowners and law enforcement with prepared professionalism and decorum no matter the situation.
We appreciate the participation of everyone from the January webinar, and stay tuned for more information on our next home improvement webinar which is scheduled for March 21st.
As promised, we will continue to answer questions from our most recent home improvement webinar:
Q: When raising prices, how do you create acceptance from your sales staff versus the complaining and whining that frequently occurs? They believe are prices are too high already.
A: Yours is a common concern and your question has two issues.
- You need to establish on a continuing basis the validity of the price you are already getting. Though the complaint is common in organizations selling high quality products, it is also common for those with mid-range prices and even the “low bidder.” In short, there will always be price objections, there will always be price comparison and there will always be someone with a lower price. Your job is to establish value.
- The second issue regards how you condition your salespeople when it is necessary to raise prices. Without knowing the structure of your business, take a look at some of the increased costs which you are now experiencing. As an example:
- Removing job connected debris is more costly depending upon whether you’re using a dumpster or going directly to a landfill.
- Municipal fees for permits and licenses have increased and the time necessary to pick up permits or licenses has increased.
- Worker’s compensation, public liability insurance and general liability insurance rates have risen, and there are numerous other expenses within your company that have increased. Talk about these increases openly in a meeting and condition your salespeople to the fact that you will have to employ some form of a price increase shortly.
Q: How do we improve getting paid and avoid the difficulty in collecting the balance at completion?
A: Beyond establishing a price, it is important to establish pricing/payment/collection policies. As an example, require a down payment with each cash contract you take in (Caution: In some states they place maximums on the amount that you can require as a deposit, and in some cases, they require an estimated start date to go inside with a deposit). Beyond that, think about accepting progressive payments on large jobs (i.e. when the job is delivered, or when distinct portions of the contract are completed). Collect for all “change orders” and if possible arrange for a credit card payment for all completed work.
Some additional ideas include:
- Sending an invoice to coincide with the day of completion together with an envelope asking them to place their check in it and give it to the crew chief. Smaller companies, should be on site (at completion) to collect the balance themselves.
- Instead of referring to it as “payment upon completion”, refer to it as “substantial completion.”
- When possible (depending on the state in which you operate) inserting a clause stating “Payment in full is due on the day of completion. After ten days, interest will be added to the unpaid balance at the rate of xx%”.
- Having your retail contracts reviewed by a competent attorney who understands this business.
Q: Do companies still advertise effectively in the telephone directory? And if so, how does the return compare with print and direct mail advertising?
A: The telephone directory is essentially not an advertising medium. Many companies use only the directory listing, sometimes embellishing this with increased type size or bold lettering. Much depends on the market you are in. As your market broadens, telephone books enlarge as do the pricing for those ads. Evaluate the leads you receive from ads in the telephone directory.
Frequently, the prospect calls 3 or 4 listed companies at the same time. You may note that many of the large ads in the telephone directory are from smaller companies. Your lead will force you to compete with people who have lower overhead and similar which keep their prices much lower than yours. Remember, in any format in which your advertising is done, check your lead results. You want to be sure you’re getting a return on investment for dollars spent.
Direct mail has increased in cost, but good direct mail pieces are still effective. Be sure you know/understand the demographics of those to whom you are mailing. More than ever, it is vital that you create a mailing that “stands out from the pack” Print ads continue to have a diminishing subscription and readership. However, there are still many ways to negotiate for ad placement that go beyond the rate chart. For more, check out the abundant articles on this topic that we provide on our website.
Q: You wrote a book called “Selling Replacement Windows”. Is that still available at bookstores? And do you recommend using this or a similar item as a lead generation tool?
A: The book you are referring to was written for consumers (homeowners) and is entitled “Why Buy Replacement Windows.” It is an excellent support for those companies who sell replacement windows to homeowners. It is available through Amazon.com or you can go to www.WindowHelpBook.com and download it as an e-book free of charge.
We continue to see strong results from companies that offer a free informational device for homeowners. Many companies are using similar products to:
- Capture prospect information on their website
- Give homeowners additional information when selling in the home
- Gain referrals as a leave behind once the presentation is finished
Thank you again for the excellent questions you sent in. We will have one more blog post pertaining to these, and then be on the lookout for more information on our next home improvement webinar.
We recently held our first home improvement webinar of 2013 which attracted hundreds of participants and yielded a bevy of excellent questions.
As is our practice, we address many of the questions that we did not have the time to cover during the program.
Q: Is telemarketing a dead dinosaur?
A: Far from it – - telemarketing is alive and well and being used effectively in most markets, probably yours as well. Here are a couple of reminders and suggestions.
- If you’re using a “list,” be sure it’s scrubbed (all those consumers who do not wish to receive telemarketing calls are removed from the list).
- You can re-call your old leads for up to 90 days after the lead was received (this may vary in some states). However, be sure you keep the paperwork verifying when the lead came in.
- You can call your old customers for up to 18 months after the installation is completed (old customers may be prospects for additional products you sell and can also provide referrals).
- In any case where you have a “face to face” contact (canvassing, home shows) where you made a presentation and no sale, have each prospect sign a release enabling you to call them. This should also be included in your retail contract.
- Scripting is very important. The failure in most telemarketing is the improper phraseology and the failure to ask the right questions. At a bare minimum, familiarize yourself with the concept of “Make vs. Take Marketing”.
Q: We have a showroom but don’t feel like we are getting the volume of business from it that we are entitled to.
A: Assuming that you have the proper displays and lighting, plus trafficking which guides a consumer to issues of interest, here are some things to keep in mind.
- The showroom is structured to sell a “lead,” not a product. All persons who enter the showroom have had enough interest to take the time to come to your place of business and spend time there.
- Your showroom personnel have to be “scripted” so that they ask the right questions and understand what the homeowner is looking for and what their needs may be.
- If you use your salespeople in the showroom, be cautious. Salespeople most frequently try to “cherry pick” and decide which are the best leads.
- If you process those who come in to your showroom with the ability to determine their area of interest and what prompted them to come to your showroom, it will increase your ability to determine their specific interest and their needs. If in your processing you determine what products they have seen, what they would like to know more about, the age of their home and similar information, you will build more leads. The more you explore the information that comes from processing, the more you will learn about your prospect’s value system.
Each question, when answered, can lead you to more questions and will ultimately make that person coming into your showroom feel as if you have an interest in them and their project. A good rule to remember: If within 15 minutes of their visit you know more about them, their home and their values then they know about you and your company, you will get more visitors becoming “leads.”
Q: In a recent webinar you mentioned a client, who in addition to regular volume does over $1 million annually in “change orders.” Can you go into more detail on this?
A: We were referring to a medium sized company ($6 million annually), so $1 million in business represents over 15% of their annual revenue. Their owner trained his lead installers/crew chief to run over a “check list” on each job under construction in an attempt to determine what needs the owners might have which could be solved more easily and less costly while construction was going on. This inspection method leads to change orders which can often be handled by installation personnel, sometimes in combination with a phone call to the office.
Bear in mind that irrespective of how the job is being paid for (i.e. cash or finance), most change orders should be paid by credit card at the time the additional work is arranged for. This offsets the need to rewrite the entire contract for each minor change.
A word of caution – - check with your legal adviser. Some states have requirements or consumer laws which have to be considered when setting up this program.
Q: How do we leverage existing customers and what is the best use of previous customer data?
A: Whenever you “intake” a lead, whether it’s over the phone or on a “face to face” basis, it is important to get more information then their name, address, and phone number. Depending on the product/service you render, start to accumulate data on the prospect and save it in your database. (i.e. how long they have lived in the home, what prompted the need for the product/service of interest, etc.)
When a contractor or sales rep goes to a customer’s home, they should make note of the other conditions of the home. For example, you’re there to talk about roofing, but note the condition of the siding, windows or similar. So if this lead does not become a sale at that moment, when you re-contact the people by mail, e-mail, phone or in-person, you are working off of accumulative information which will be beneficial to you when establishing interest, want and need (remember want and need are not the same).
As this information increases in your database, you, your marketing and sales reps become better prepared to discuss “specifics” based on the information you possess.
Stay tuned for more Q&A on our blog as well as information about our next home improvement webinar in March.
One of the most vital positions within the home improvement company is also ironically titled, because the role of the Sales Manager should be to manage people (not sales).
An effective Sales Manager should conduct interviews, evaluate personnel, hire and train fledgling salespeople, all while managing to upgrade the skills of those in the job for a longer period. They should also be able to handle the veteran and sometimes “prima donna” salespeople. The use of behavioral profiles and sales aptitude tests will assist them in greatly in all of these tasks.
A few of the critical methods for grading each salesperson’s performance in the various categories of the sales role include the “sit/presentation and close rate” against leads issued, the job (estimating and pricing) efficiency, the net retention rate, and even the number of referrals generated by the individual salesperson. Within these categories are subsets, all of which can be graded on a scale of 1 to 5, enabling management to determine the aid and assistance level which has to be provided. An efficient Sales Manager does “ride alongs” with salespeople, measuring the proficiency of the presentation in each step of the sales methodology. Not doing so seriously impairs sales management.
In small to mid-sized companies, the sales manager may also take on the responsibility for “rehash” leads. Frequently, they are compensated in the form of a bonus or increased commission rate at the expense of the salesperson. The latter also acts as a motivator for salespeople to close the deal before the lead is turned in for rehash.
An effective Sales Manager also has to have a job description which clearly defines their various responsibilities within the management role. Weekly, monthly and annual goals for performance have to be established and they should participate in the creation of these.
Finally, they should be inspirational and act as the team leader while striving to become a great teacher and mentor to those whom they manage. In today’s competitive and changing market place, the selection and growth development of the sales manager is a crucial ingredient.
To learn more about our newest tool for all in home sales managers, visit www.SuperSalesTraining.com and download your free 30 minute training video.
Review the following treatise, and think about how it can be applied to the science of in home selling…
What makes a speech or a presentation powerful, memorable and exciting? Certainly preparation plays a major role, as does setting and circumstance. Timing can also be a factor — consider the catch phrases used by:
- President Roosevelt – “Americans have nothing to fear but fear itself”
- Winston Churchill – “This will be their finest hour”
- Martin Luther King – “I have a dream.”
While factors of preparation, setting, circumstance and timing are all critical, the powerful and memorable speech or presentation contains four dimensions which when effected by the speaker, leave a lasting impression on the audience. Those dimensions can be summarized in what is called the EPOD Theory:
E – Energy
P – Persuasion
O – Optimism
D – Discipline
High levels of energy have nothing to do with the age, sex or athletic prowess.
Dr. Vincent Peale, at age 90, demonstrated an energy level that could run a generator. Dr. Ruth Westheimer generates as much energy as a male twice her size, and President Roosevelt was bound to braces, crutches and wheelchairs throughout most of his adult life.
Your energy package will be perceived by people based on your enthusiasm, projection, eye contact, voice level and gestures. Don’t confuse your audience by raising your voice, yelling or speaking bombastically. On the contrary, energy is created internally. It comes from the way you feel about yourself and your audience.
Your energy level usually is determined before you speak. Don’t waste energy through hypernervousness. If your speech or presentation is prepared, you know your audience and have checked out the environment in which the speech will be made — so it is time to direct your energies internally. Relax and observe your audience. They will measure your energy level by the degree of excitement and enthusiasm you attach to your words. Your gestures and body stance will reinforce their perceptions.
Rehearsing the presentation allows the energy to flow naturally and prevents mechanical or overly theatrical delivery. The payoff for all this preparatory work is that your audience senses your energy level and theirs will increase as a result. In short, high energy begets high energy.
The art of persuasion is a complicated process, based largely on perception and not necessarily on reality. The eminent writer Oscar Wilde once said, “The value of an idea has nothing whatsoever to do with the sincerity of the person who expresses it.”
The most valuable ideas frequently fall on deaf ears because the level of persuasion is so low that the person listening perceives the idea as lacking validity. Many people simply lack conviction and sincerity when presenting their ideas.
The first condition of a persuasive speech or presentation is to know your audience (i.e. the issues they’re dealing with and why they need to be addressed). It is delivered at the audience’s level of perception and tailored explicitly for them.
Persuasive speeches or presentations also contain words and phrases selected to create feelings of “well being”. A simple rule of thumb is to reduce the number of the first party references (I, we, me) and increase the number of second and third party references (you, your, yours and they, them).
Try to eliminate value judging phrases. Words such as “should, ought, must” create a distinct psychological resistance from a listener. Instead of telling the people what they have to do, what they haven’t done and what they need to do, cite examples with which they can identify, understand and follow. Political speeches are notorious for the use of derogatory comments. This may elicit an immediate audience response, but in the long run, negativity reduces the effectiveness of what you are saying.
A persuasive message says, “I understand you. I know where you’re coming from. I can almost feel your pain. I empathize with you. Here is our common bond; I give you this idea which I hope will be of help.”
Many years ago, I was asked what single ingredient separates great speakers from ordinary ones. My answer was: “It’s how much of yourself you have in the speech that others can relate to.”
How do you sell optimism in a negative world? Examine the front page of your local newspaper, listen to the TV or radio newscaster and you’ll note that most issues and stories are presented in a negative manner. A positive connotation of most circumstances is either deleted or given minor attention.
In a world filled with negativity, you have the option of following the crowd or selling the positive elements of virtually any set of circumstances. I’m sure that if the electric light bulb were invented today, the “teaser” on your regular evening news would start out with a statement such as, “Today an unbelievable tragedy has befallen the candle-making industry.” The news coverage might deal with candle-makers who lose their jobs and the complexity of installing electrical wiring in the average home, etc.
You have the ideal opportunity to radiate positivism and present the optimistic side of issues that most people do not think to examine on their own. “Is the bottle half full or half empty.” “Is 7 percent unemployment really 93 percent employment?” These examples are triggering devices. Certainly it is wise to beware of calamities or dangerous conditions; however, I would like to
believe that most people are interested in solutions. They would like to hear thoughts and ideas which explain how to deal with these situations.
Optimism means telling people they “can.” It means taking facts and presenting them so that they can discern an immediate advantage. Frequently, when I quote statistics as presented by the press, and prior to presenting the “bright side” of the issue, I tell my audience, “Statistics are like bikinis; what they reveal is interesting, what they conceal is vital.”
Speaking optimistically requires preparation. Avoid anything that can bring pessimism to your surroundings. Don’t read the front page of the newspaper or watch the evening news. Or, in lieu of that, take the statements from these sources and present the exact opposite.
Guess what? Your audience will love it. Occasionally you may get criticism based on lack of “fact-finding” research. Just remember, the news sources do the same thing.
I use affirmation as the principle of my optimistic feelings. I tell my audiences that optimism is a choice, and that every morning before I speak I make a choice. Each morning when men and women face the mirror to shave or put on make-up, they have an opportunity to sell optimism to that audience of one. I choose to affirm myself each and every day.
Discipline is frequently not apparent to your audience. However, the results of your discipline before and during a speech or presentation are what make it powerful and memorable.
Discipline starts with preparation. Do you know what you’re going to say? Have you done your research? Have you put it in a format (notes or otherwise) to retrieve and deliver? Have you practiced your timing, inflections and nuances?
The fact is that when a speech or presentation begins and ends on time, it’s because the speaker has exercised discipline.
Great speakers end their speeches on time. I’ve seen hundreds of professionals exceed their time allotments, stray from their subject matters and break some of the simplest rules of powerful speaking. Why do they fail to see that anything that can upset the program or the audience is distracting?
Discipline frequently begins with a personal commitment. If your speeches or presentations are to be powerful and memorable, you have to be in the physical and mental shape to “deliver.” Any excess such as overeating, imbibing or late night reveling will reduce your effectiveness.
In my time as a professional speaker, I was invited to numerous cocktail parties and celebrations the night before the event in which I was scheduled to speak. I have seen many speakers invitations thinking the wages of dissipation will dissipate tomorrow. Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case.
You can only deliver a high level of energy when you feel energetic, and you can only be persuasive and optimistic when you look and act that way. Discipline means knowing when to say no.
To emphasize the importance of discipline, I frequently share a portion of my personal history. I entered speech therapy in the Philadelphia school system at the age of 6, and for seven years I was tutored in the basics of sound fundamental speech, and because I didn’t speak correctly when I entered the system, my therapist hammered home the exercises (practice pieces) that I had to work on constantly. I don’t believe I became a professional speaker by coincidence, but rather by disciplined training.
I frequently wonder why thousands of people follow the same rules of training, yet only a small percentage emerge as powerful and memorable speakers/presenters. My conclusion is: to know and not to do is not to know.
The EPOD Theory is based on my observations and experience in making more than 4,700 paid speeches and thousands of presentations. A good speaker, like the conductor of a giant orchestra, can lead the audience from one emotional state to
the other. The Churchills, Roosevelts and Martin Luther Kings of the world have unconsciously formed a methodology which, when emulated, lends energy, persuasiveness and optimism.
Discipline is a matter of commitment, the level of which only you can determine.