5 Actions to Help You Increase Sales!
5 Actions That Won’t Cost You a Penny, That You Can Start Doing Right Now, to Consistently Sign More Orders.
You know, the truth is, that you probably know all the things that I am going to tell you in this article, but most of us operate in a reactive space and do not take control of our own minds.
Some of us have been selling for so long that we have forgotten the basics and fallen into habits that allow us to operate at a ‘just enough’ level.
In this article, I’m going to explore 5 ways in which you can start selling more right now with the resources and knowledge that you already have.
Let’s get started and get you earning more money straight away.
I was out on the road selling home improvements for a very long time and was very good at it. I’m talking about conversion rates of over 80% and around half of them sold at the first appointment. Like you, I arrived at appointments that seemed like they were a waste of time, but I always gave it 100% and you would be surprised how many are not what they seem.
I tell you this so you know that I have been in your shoes and I know a thing or two about sales and how customers think.
Being in sales is almost like playing a sport at a high level. It requires consistent practice and constant attention to the process. You can have periods of time when you can’t do anything wrong and others when you can’t do anything right. There is a lot happening in the subconscious that affects your sales ability. The inclination is to blame the quality of leads but you have a lot more control than you think.
I’m a great believer in having a sales process that is repeatable and measurable. At the end of this, I will show you a technique for making sure that you are present and ready to give your appointment your best attention before you go in the house.
Increasing Sales is More About Attitude than Skill.
People buy from people so as long as you know your product, you can sell just by having a conversation with people about your product and giving a price. There are skills that you can learn that could make you a superstar but my contention is that you can get 80% of the way with what you have.
Whether you are selling for someone else or for your own business, most of you are trying to get out of the appointment as quickly as possible.
Business owners always have something else that they need to do.
Salespeople seem to be quick to judge appointments as a waste of time right from the start.
You are Leaving Money on the Table.
Here’s a fact. More than 70% of people who make an appointment are going to buy from someone. If not you, they will buy from someone else – either from your company or a competitor. You’re giving away money that you had a chance at because either:
1. You have a negative view of sales and you don’t really want to be there.
2. You are prejudging.
3. You don’t connect with them so you just want to get out.
4. They say something that leads you to believe they won’t buy today so you don’t put in the effort.
5. You have underlying fears which lead to not trying because you’re afraid to fail.
6. You are not staying present because you are thinking about other things that need to be done.
The Benefits of Increased Sales.
The home improvement industry has incredible potential for earning a lot of money, either as a business owner or as a salesperson. So it is surprising that so few people make the effort to sell to their best ability. The reason for the resistance is often because of embedded beliefs that are rooted in the 80s. Even younger salespeople who weren’t selling in the 80s are affected by old-timers who have passed on their knowledge.
When you open your mind to the possibilities, you are rewarded with more benefits than just earning more.
For a business owner, increased sales can mean being able to grow the business. You may be able to employ people so that you can concentrate on building the business. You may be able to take a bit more time off and enjoy that freedom you thought came with being your own boss.
Regardless of whether you sell for your own business or someone else, more sales breed more sales. Once you learn to trust your sales conversion rate, you become more relaxed. You enjoy your job more and are more inclined to invest the time needed for your customers.
Trust Someone Who Knows and Give it a Try.
What I’m going to tell you is not rocket science. You know but you may have forgotten. Just trust me and make a commitment to doing these five actions for two weeks and you will see the benefit.
The nature of our sales role is that we must be reactive to customers. If you are a self-employed salesperson, it’s likely that your appointments are sent the night before and you don’t know how many, what the standard is, what reception you will get or even if they will be there when you arrive.
If you are in a showroom setting, then you have no idea who will walk through the door. You’re upbeat and ready and nobody comes in. You think it’s going to be quiet and plan a day to catch-up, but they come in, non-stop.
You may have had good intentions before but are beaten down by disappointment, so you stay in neutral and wait to see what comes up. Worse than that, your appointments come through and you don’t like the look of them, so you start the day with a negative attitude. You know before you even get to the house that you are getting out of there as soon as possible.
This also applies to looking at the address before your visit and deciding that they are not worthy of your time. Never ‘judge a house by its cover’. It is not up to you to decide how much they can afford.
So, the first one is to declare your intentions for the day to yourself. Write it on a piece of card and read it every morning and before appointments if necessary.
I guarantee that if you properly pitch to everyone you see, that you will sign more orders.
We know that not all our appointments are going to be perfect so accept that. Some of them will be harder work than others. The trouble is that the first few times that it happens, and we get fed up, it affects your mood. The next few times it affects your demeanour and then it becomes your character. You’re always fed up and ‘all the appointments are rubbish’. How awful is it to get up every day dreading the appointments?
Get back to being intentional. For us, taking control of our thoughts and behaviour is not just about giving our best to the customer, it means that we take control of our lives. It affects the money we earn and therefore, what we can do with our time off. It affects the simple joy that we get out of everyday things.
Take Control Right From the Start.
Usually, the customer will dictate the tone of the call as soon as you’re in the door and too many salespeople are then diverted from their original plan.
What do they say?
- I told them on the phone, I won’t be placing an order today.
- We didn’t really need a visit; we just wanted a price.
At this point, too many salespeople decide it’s a waste of time and do the minimum to get out as soon as possible. No wonder they don’t get a sale.
The only thing you know for sure is that if you don’t pitch you cannot close.
Make your plan and stick to it regardless of what they say. Take on board what they say, because it may be important later but a few minutes into the visit, don’t engage with it as you will be diverted. They don’t know what you know and it’s up to you to change that initial stance.
Explain what they can expect from the visit and see it through.
If they ask questions out of your sequence, don’t ignore it but don’t fully answer it either because you will be diverted.
Question: We need it in four weeks. Is that possible?
Answer: We’ll look at that when we’ve finalised your requirements if that’s ok. What’s happening in four weeks? Anything exciting?
If you know your delivery is 6-8 weeks and you say no to this question, you have shut down the possibility of the sale. If you complete your process in a way that makes them want to buy from you, they will wait. If you’ve understood the reasoning for it, it may be that you can work it into your negotiation in a way that works for them.
Forget About Closing and Think More About Opening.
How can I be saying that? Sales is all about closing right? No. Yes you need to close the deal and yes, you need to be a good closer to consistently sign more deals, but good closing is the natural conclusion to a great presentation. You don’t have to be thinking about it all through the call.
You may have been brought up on ‘ABC’ – Always Be Closing, but that is an outdated mode of thinking that is hampering your ability to deliver the excellent customer experience that the modern-day buyer expects.
If closing is your problem because you’re not comfortable about high pressure tactics, then this is good news for you. The best ‘closers’ nowadays are those who do so because they have done such a great job that there is nowhere else for the customer to go. All the doors have been closed.
Customers have so much more choice now and are so connected because they have so much information available to them but also disconnected because they are under attack from a constant barrage of information. They are suffering from overload and overwhelm.
Your first job is to show that you care and there to serve them. You do this through thoughtful and clever discovery questioning. You want to know their story so that you can weave it back to them in a way that gives them a happy ending.
You are a human being in the same busy mental world as they are, so put yourself in their shoes and think about what you would want for the visit. Don’t interrogate them but through natural conversation discover the practical requirements but also:
- What has motivated them to make the appointment.
- Why now.
- What the problems are that they have encountered.
- What fears they have about making a bad decision.
- How they want to feel when the product is installed.
Remember that they are not buying a product. They are buying how that product will serve them and how they will feel.
Always Get the Samples Out of the Car.
Ah, now I can hear what you’re thinking. I know it’s obvious and I know you’re tempted to scroll past this but hear me out!
If you sell windows and you’re thinking a white window frame is the same as any other that can be seen in any street and this doesn’t apply to you, I’m here to tell you straight that the less your product stands out, the more important it is to demonstrate it.
It’s not just your product you are demonstrating. It’s how much you believe your product is worth demonstrating. It’s also you, your willingness and how much you care, and sometimes that is the one factor that makes the difference.
I know for sure that half of salespeople do not demonstrate the product to the customer. So, if it’s so obvious, why doesn’t everybody do it all the time?
I know your managers have said it and I know you know it but it’s so important that it is worth a page here. Let’s look at some reasons why:
- You stand head and shoulders above the competitors who don’t give a product demonstration.
- You answer a question in the customer’s head that they didn’t know they had.
- You avoid the question in their head of ‘why wasn’t I shown samples’?
- You further position yourself as an expert in their mind.
- Your customer has a higher regard for you if you put in more effort. The more you do, the more likely that rewarding you becomes a factor in their decision.
- Your pride in your product transfers to them.
- You know when you’ve finished the call that you have done everything you could possibly have done.
- You will reduce revisits.
- You increase your chance of a deal on the day.
You’ve driven all that way to see them and given up your time, why would you not give yourself the best possible chance of signing the order – on the day! If you haven’t sold it on the day, your chances of picking it up on the chase are far higher if you have shown the product.
Is following up after a sales call possibly the weakest area in sales?
We know why following up with your potential customers is difficult. If you call them, they may say no.
You send a tentative email.
They don’t answer.
What does that mean?
In your mind, if they were interested, they would answer wouldn’t they!
Don’t Wimp Out by Sending an Email.
Sending an email is abdicating responsibility. You know you need to pick up the phone and get an answer. Yes or No. Simple as that.
Personally, I am a fan of getting to ‘no’ quickly. I will straight out ask while I’m in the appointment. If I think that my product is not for them and they were never going to be a customer – for anyone – I will ask outright. in a relaxed way, of course.
The same applies to phoning them. If they are going to say no, I want to hear as soon as possible. I want it off my books so I don’t have to think about it anymore.
This is partly something that comes with confidence and success. When you convert at 70-80%, there is less to follow up so it is less daunting to start with. You don’t feel quite so desperate to get the others and although you want the sales, you can ask the direct question because you don’t fear the ‘no’.
How to Follow Up After a No-Sale Appointment.
The follow-up phone call doesn’t always have to be to ask if they are ready to buy. You don’t need to be pushy and the customer shouldn’t feel under pressure.
If you conduct proper discovery during your appointment, you will know your customer’s concerns and interests. You will know what other products they are looking at in relation to the purchase. If they are purchasing a kitchen or conservatory, they are likely to be also looking at flooring and other furniture. Make a note of these because they will make following up easier for you.
Let Your Customers Know What to Expect.
When you leave your customer, always arrange the next step with them. If there is nothing else to do other than wait for a decision, the next step will be a call. Get them to commit to answering your call. Make them comfortable with saying no to you. You don’t want to waste time chasing them. Tell them, ‘ I know you won’t be comfortable answering me if you decide not to go ahead, but can I ask you just to briefly answer and let me know. You will be doing me a favour and I won’t need to keep following up.’ Have a joke about not throwing bricks through windows, if that’s your style. Confirm the phone number and text them your business card. You are then on their phone as a contact.
On the day, that you see them, or the next day if it’s an evening appointment, send them a quick thank you for their time and confirm the next step. This could be to let them know when to expect your quote, a link to Google Maps if they are planning a visit to the showroom or when you plan to call them.
If you have to prepare a quote, do that within the timeframe you agreed. I would always call to go back with the quote but that’s an article for another day. Assuming you are going to email the quote, do that with only a brief note and once again, confirm the next step.
The next day, send them something helpful. Even if they already arranged ancillary services and products, send them something of interest related to their purchase. You could send an energy report or a news item. Attach it with a brief note saying ‘I saw this and thought it may be of interest’.
By now you have contacted them a few times and built up a bit more of a relationship. You have shown that you care and that you are helpful. Call them. Have a chat about something before diving in with the question. They may even tell you they are ready to go ahead before you ask.
Regardless of how you do it, following up after an appointment will increase your conversion rate.
The follow-up phone call doesn’t always have to be to ask if they are ready to buy. You don’t need to be pushy and the customer shouldn’t feel under pressure.
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