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More Q&A from our Virtual Sales Meeting

Questions keep coming in regarding our first ever virtual sales meeting that had over 900 attendees. As always we will attempt to address as many of them as possible in this forum:

Q: What is a realistic closing percentage on kitchen and bath remodeling using a step system?

A: First, leads received and confirmed as in your territory of operation must be set as appointments with a bona fide script. Depending on the type of lead, 80-90% can be converted and become issued appointments (appointments to be made with all interested parties being present at a specific time and date confirming sufficient time allotted for presentation). Done appropriately, the goal is to get into 75-80% of these appointments. You can account for the difference in these percentages by those that are not home, haven’t allowed sufficient time, or one of the interested parties is not present. Remember that any of these can be recalled by setting a new appointment. This number is equal to approximately 6 or 7 actual “full presentations”.

Gross closes measured against leads issued (appointments) are on average 25-30% (subject to rescission or credit reject). Therefore using the figures just quoted the answer would be 2 (estimated) sales from 10 (equal) leads.

Leads which are unsold should become part of your database and be followed up at frequent intervals.

Q: Should I really attempt to close on the first meeting with prospects?

A: It depends on what you’re selling and to whom. As an example, if the project will consist of multiple products (general remodeling or similar) the first time you meet the prospects you would be considering the evaluation of the project and getting more definitive information from the prospect which would be followed by an appointment to return with a proposal. And some projects might involve two visits before the project consideration is finalized. However, once you deliver the price that’s when you have to attempt to close. When selling specialty products such as replacement windows, siding, roofing, and bath liners, the process is more simplified and closes can be effected on that first meeting if all the steps are completed.  Keep in mind, it’s when you’re at a point of quoting the price that you want to be prepared to close.  There is a complimentary mp3 we offer called The 7 Myths of In-Home Selling that discusses this in great detail.

Q: What are some great ideas for keeping a sales force full of energy?

A: You have to create an energetic environment. Hopefully your salespeople have a private room for sales processing (paperwork) and sales meetings. The owner/sales manager has to be in a position to coach and train the salespeople and always have high energy. Create meetings that stimulate thinking and responses. Stay away from temperamental outbursts and harangue. Insist that when your salespeople are “role playing” they present at a high energy level. Keep in mind the old bromide, “energy begets energy”. Keep your salespeople pepped up by being pepped up yourself. Find ways to introduce training movies or audio sales presentations when you feel your energy level being depleted. And incidentally, stay away from negativity, since five minutes of sustained negativity can affect the central nervous system for up to twenty hours.

Q: Does your company provide tools to measure effectiveness based on what you teach?

A: Yes, however, you can also do “things” on your own. You can measure effectiveness by creating efficiency evaluations.  Examine the number of leads an individual salesperson was given over the period of one week. What percentage of these turned into presentations? What percentage of the presentations turned into sales as well as contracts? What was the size ($) of the average contract? All that is involved is simple arithmetic.

Every time you have a training or teaching session have your salespeople write down answers to the following:

  1. What is the one idea you heard here that you want to put into your sales presentation immediately? (Then find out why the idea is compelling and how they would intend to introduce it.)
  2. What is the one idea you heard today that you would like to know more about? (Followed by why the idea was compelling, and if they understood it more would they be placing it into their sales routine?
  3. How would you measure your effort and presentation skills (on a scale of 1-10)?

Teaching requires constant reinforcement. Measuring statistics on the number of leads issued, and the effectiveness of the salesperson’s use will become obvious as you tend to examine this. However, our Account Executives do prepare more elaborate measuring devices based on specific products and specific (by the salesperson) results when they visit a client. 

Q: Do you have a book to suggest that I could read on personal sales development?

A: Dave has authored several books (two were best sellers) and hundreds of articles, yet we don’t believe reading about selling alone increases sales acumen. You can study technique and work on understanding more about prospects, what they say and what they mean, but nothing replaces actual “in the field” utilization of a structured, successful sales system which you have been taught.

Frequently, books are written based on the personal sales experience of the writer, which in many cases doesn’t have direct application to an individual business such as yours. More impressive is the study technique. Take a portion of it which you believe you can utilize from a successful training program and start to put it to work in the field.

Q: What are some of the specific skills in closing a “rehash” lead without lowering the price?

A: The first thing to consider is, what is the most probable reason that a salesperson might not have sold a particular prospect?  There might have been shortcuts, the salesperson may have failed in utilizing the “walk around”/needs assessment and therefore didn’t present to the needs (some of which may not have been uncovered). Taking all the possibilities into consideration, a rehash should be approached as a customer satisfaction tool and an appointment should be set for a rehash with that in mind, thanking the prospect for their time, the interest in your company, and the consideration of your company as the contractor for their project.

Next utilize questions.  Did our representative meet with you and the other parties at the specified time? Were you given the opportunity to express your opinions and perception regarding the project? Were the various options for the product and buying methods discussed? Did the rep provide you with copies of our insurance and license certification and was our unique method for financing discussed? Primarily you’re checking up on the salesperson, however, you will discover what the salesperson left out and perceive how another appointment can be set.

If you can establish that the customer generally liked your product and the manner in which you install it, announce that you would like to revisit the project just to make sure that we have presented all the options and whatever price saving techniques could be affected (this doesn’t mean you’re prepared to cut your price). In analyzing a “presented but not sold” sales presentation you will frequently find that you can redesign the project, modify certain portions of it, augment others, and in general, change the project so that it becomes virtually a new presentation. However, you only do this after you have in fact established value. Companies who do rehash effectively usually have one or two specialists in their company that can handle this and when the lead is reset for a rehash it is treated as a brand new lead.

Q: How do I change from a price driven close to a value driven close?

A: Stop thinking like a contractor or a salesperson. Price is seldom the issue; value almost always is. The customer says they want a lower price, but that’s almost a cliché. They’re looking for a job which will give them performance, investment recovery, add value to their home, and make their home more attractive, efficient, and salable. Once you have established how you will solve their “needs” through the quality level of your product, the manner in which it is installed, and the unique policies of your company you’re selling to value. Multiple price drops damage your credibility, although there’s nothing wrong with offering an incentive for an urgency close. You have to believe in the quality of your work and the methods employed by your company to effectively “ask for a price” that may be higher than your competitor. If you think “price driven” you will sell “price driven”, and here it’s important to remember three simple ideas:

  1. There is always someone with a lower price.
  2. Lower prices and high quality are virtually incompatible.
  3. You will lose some jobs to a lower price.

The latter thoughts relate to the way owners, managers, and salespeople think. If you believe when you get to see the homeowners they will have lower prices or that someone will follow you with a lower price or that the people will be buying at the lowest price you will remain price driven. Here’s where a great company story and a great product presentation gives you a step up on the competition. Prospects often anticipate by how they perceive the quality of your company and the product you suggest that will cost more – however, if quality is established price often becomes a viable but secondary issue.

Again, we appreciate everyone who participated in the virtual meeting which is our last event of 2013. Be on the lookout for a full schedule of next year’s programs in the near future.

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