Are You Making the Most of Sales Opportunities?

How do so many unskilled salespeople manage to make a living in home improvement sales?

How often have you heard stories from your customers about shocking behaviours from salespeople? No doubt you have shaken your head in despair at this industry that is still behaving as if it’s in the 80s and wondered how these muppets are making a living.

The answer to that is simple – there’s enough ‘low hanging fruit’ out there for them to get by. It is possible to come from the induction course, retaining very little of the information that was given to them and go out and score an order from the first call.

Low hanging fruit - apples on tree

What is ‘low hanging fruit’?

Imagine you have an apple tree in your back garden. You go to pick an apple and there are a few hanging within reach. There are nicer ones a bit higher up but you’d have to go back in to get a chair to stand on. There’s some really fat, juicy looking apples at the top but that requires going to the garage, moving all the boxes and dragging the ladder out. Chances are you’ll take the quick win and settle for the smaller apple.

In customer terms, the ‘low hanging fruit’ is the customer that is easy to sell to. They are the ones that do not ask too many questions and require very little from the salesperson.

Typically these might be:

  • Previous Customers.
  • Busy people who are not too emotionally invested in their purchase.
  • A small purchase that needs to come in at a budget that you meet.
  • Referrals from happy customers.
  • Buyers that have believed the marketing material and think they have to sign up now or they’ll miss out.
  • Introverts that would rather get the job done than suffer another sales person.
  • Customers with urgency.
  • People who don’t know any better.

All salespeople get a few of these. Out of ten appointments, three are likely to be ‘the low hanging fruit’ variety and sometimes the orders are a decent size. A salesperson can survive on the low hanging fruit especially if he/she has come from a low-income previous job.

Early Luck Can be Dangerous.

The worst thing that can happen to a new salesperson is to get lucky with a couple of these in the first week. This sets a dangerous belief that the salesperson is good enough and will thereafter not seek to improve.

If you are converting at a low rate; around or under half of what the top salespeople are converting at, I guarantee that you are surviving on ‘low hanging fruit’. It’s time to get honest with yourself about what is really happening in your calls.

The good news is that there is nothing special about the higher converters. They are just more prepared to ‘get the ladder out’ than you are.

Small businesses are also guilty of this. Often the problem is because of lack of time. If the business owner is responsible for sales, they are often guilty of only giving time to prospects who are judged worthy.

The fact is that the sales function is the most important in a business and it deserves proper time and attention. What’s the point of spending money on marketing and not making the most of the result.

What happens when you get past the stage of relying on low hanging fruit?

1. You improve your conversion rate.

2. You start getting higher value orders.

3. The result of those two means that you become more confident and that in itself improves your conversion rate and increases order value.

Let’s stop talking in metaphors and get down to it.

If you want more sales and higher values, you need to be prepared to put in some effort.
Here are ten tips for getting more out of your sales appointments.

1. A solid repeatable sales process.

Set out a process for your calls and follow it. A process makes you more efficient and ensures you stay in control. You’ll be able to evaluate your performance and improve areas that are not working for you.

2. Keep an open mind.

Stop prejudging appointments. The address or notes that you are given can be misleading. Even the information the customer gives you can be misleading if they don’t understand the product. If you’re there, at least be prepared to conduct a discovery process before writing it off.

3. Product Knowledge

Know the product back to front. Knowing which features need a demo and exactly what each one is used for might seem obvious but you’d be surprised at how many salespeople do not know their products well enough to answer even basic questions. Make sure that you have at least three ways of explaining the main features and how they will benefit your customer. If you can’t explain a feature, don’t go there.

4. Understanding

Understand the concerns of your customers and how they apply to their individual situations. Understand which features will be important to them and use your discovery questioning to match the features to their wants and needs.

5. Demonstration

Demonstrate the product. I know it’s a nuisance going back and forth to the car but the effort will pay off. You are likely to be the only salesperson that bothers but more importantly, your prospective customer will be much more certain about the product and is more likely to purchase.

6. Know the Common Objections.

Learn what the common objections are and have a response that goes beyond ‘It does not do that,’ or ‘Does not apply to you.’ This is where listening closely in your discovery calls comes into play. When you hear an objection being raised by a prospect, you need to know what’s really behind it and how to reassure your customer.

7. Set the tone for the appointment.

Explain what the customer can expect from you in the appointment. This will make them far more relaxed. They don’t know you and the home improvement industry has a bad reputation. Be clear with them about your process and they will let you take control and have confidence in you.

8. Be Courteous.

Observe all common courtesies including punctuality, removing shoes or using shoe covers. Courtesy should be obvious but it’s not. If you’re unclear, read our article about courtesy in sales.

9. Listen.

You are there for your customer. They are not an inconvenience to you. If you listen to them, answer the questions they are asking and the questions that they are not asking, your call will result in a sale. Prospective customers have a mental checklist that they are not even aware of but you’ll only draw this out if you listen. Most salespeople are ‘all transmit and no receive’. Don’t be one of them.

10. Give them time.

If you’ve been in the house for a long time with a couple, give them time to communicate with each other. This is a good reason to use samples. While you’re in and out to the car, they get time to communicate with each other. Sometimes sales aren’t made just because they want a moment to confer. Yes, they may come back to you later but chances are they may talk themselves out of it or see another salesperson who is better at selling.

Want to see how much difference you can make to your profit or earnings, check out our potential profit calculator.

When you put the customer first, you cut out 90% of the competition. Do more than anyone else.