We appreciate all of the excellent questions that we have received from our latest home improvement webinar. Here we address a sampling of them:
Q: When looking at marketing costs we put the microscope squarely on the marketing manager and department, should we be doing the same with the sales department when evaluating marketing costs or is it really a marketing department issue?
A: In reviewing marketing costs you must also evaluate the conversion of your sales department. If you are not hitting a 75% demo rate, if you have a low net close to leads issued, or have a low NSLI (net sales to leads issued), sales can and often will drive up your marketing costs through ineffective lead management and ineffective sales conversion.
Q: What are a few things that any company can do quickly to improve lower lead costs?
A: Three things are needed to have an immediate and positive impact on your results. First, review all scripts and presentations or have them reviewed to insure that you are not using outdated language techniques or an outdated sales modality. Second, implement structured training throughout the organization. Keep the training focused and goal-oriented to the specific needs of the department you are training. Third, discipline must be maintained to follow through with the training on an ongoing basis. Careful review and monitoring is essential of all staff to insure that the training takes hold.
Q: People often are only asking for information and not an appointment. What is the best way to deal with that prospect and turn them into an appointment? We usually do not convert them.
A:When working with people who ask for information over the phone, say the following: “I can help you with that. May I have the address of the home where you live please?…
Thank you. Describe a few of the problems you are experiencing with your current (product/service)
Thank you. What would be your number one priority in replacing your (product/service) and how long has this condition existed?
Here’s the best way to get the information you’re looking for, first we have to do a thorough and complete inspection of your home and make sure we can definitely help you. Once we have determined that we can help you we will do the following…”
At this point you must set the expectation of what will take place when you arrive. Make sure to continue without pause and finish setting the appointment by the script. Never pause and look for the “OK” to continue from the caller. You will set 50% or more of these leads if you will follow this process. However, you must have the proper script and deliver to make this work.
Q: Is it really important that the lead department and the sales department are both on the same page with scripting? I don’t understand the relevance.
A: It is only important to have marketing and sales on the same script if you want to increase your bottom line. Appointment setting, confirmation calls, and your sales department should all be using the same planned script that unifies the intended message so that each communication reinforces exactly what you want the prospect to think about and understand before you arrive at the door. You might ask another question, “In the symphony, should the trumpet section and the violins both be playing from the same piece of music?” Yes, without a doubt.
Q: We allow our salespeople to call the lead just before the appointment to make sure they are going to be available and not waste time and gas. Why do you always say that is problematic?
We allow our reps 5 days to work the lead after the appointment. They do get some sales as a result but not too many. Will a rehash program really provide more sales, or just make the reps angry?
A: The very best practice you can employ is to allow your salespeople one day with the lead. After that one day the lead reverts back to it’s rightful owner and you rehash the lead. You will have far more sales, first and foremost from the front line leads being ran. This occurs because your people will understand that they must get better and close the lead the first time because they know its their only opportunity. The second benefit is that you will create a second tier of sales from rehash that is greater than the few existing sales that your reps are bringing in.
Q: Once you’ve made an appointment, people know they need something to be done, why is there a need for a survey or needs assessment? I think people want you to just get going and not ask them a bunch of questions.
A: The reason that a survey or needs assessment needs to be done is to demonstrate that you want to understand all of their needs and wants before you start to offer solutions. You allow them by your pointed questions to think about things that they may not have considered before, and you open the door to far more needs and wants than “just a price” with a well scripted and presented needs assessment. Lastly you create a mode of communication where you invite participation and communication in a two way dialogue, unlike the one way monologue presentations too many salespeople are using.
Q: We represent a high end name brand product and are concerned about looking like high pressure. When we get the objection of “think it over”, or, “we need a few days to get back to you”, we try to close but we don’t want to be too pushy and lose the sale later. How can we really get those people to buy on the first appointment if they really want to think it over?
A: Closing on the first appointment is not as difficult as many perceive. First, understand that we as people, have emotional and perceptual blocks. As a result we have a set of pre-programmed responses to many different types of stimuli. In nearly all cases the first response to any point of stress is avoidance (i.e. “We’ll think it over”, “We’ll get back to you in a few days, etc.) The key is to have a well crafted response that is properly trained and you will close more sales on the first appointment. With regard to anyone who has a national name brand, your name brand is not a reason to “soft sell” and hope to get the sale later because of your name. The fact that you are a “name brand” means you should be closing with even more confidence on the first appointment. One last thought on this, if you are well prepared you will not be perceived as pushy or high pressure.
Q: Our salespeople hate to come in for meetings. We only have one sales meeting each week. I’ve heard of companies that meet every day. How do they get their staff to come to the meetings? And how many meetings per week is best? And how do you plan all those meetings, if you meet more than once a week?
A:When salespeople hate to come in for meetings it’s because they don’t believe they are getting information that can and will help them make more sales. Many sales meetings have zero training. Meetings should have an agenda based upon desired goals and anticipated results. When held daily they should focus on one specific topic, and that topic should be clearly practiced until everyone sees themselves getting stronger with the idea. The salespeople must participate more than the meeting leader. No one wants to come to a meeting and listen to the manager for an hour. Get your people involved. Find ways to make them interesting and fun. When your meetings are being prepared and presented properly, your staff will want to attend them. Remember if your people hate the meetings, there is something wrong with the meetings not the salespeople.
Again, we appreciate all of your questions – – and if we did not address something you feel should have been covered, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We also encourage you to attend next month’s seminar in Chicago where we will expound on all of these topics.