1. Be a Great Communicator
Communication is the number one skill to have for sales. The ability to give a great presentation of any kind is also one of the top life skills a person can have. That’s because all of us are always selling.
The root of sales success is your ability to gather and provide information in a way that makes your prospect want to do business with you. Your value proposition, your company, your product’s awesome features — none of that matters unless you’re able to get your prospects to speak to you freely and openly. They also must want to listen to what you have to say.
2. Know Who You Are Dealing With
All of us have a main personality type or social style. Understand your prospects’ basic personality type and work with them the way their personality type would be most comfortable. You will learn that there are certain personality types that are very social and naturally trusting. They prefer dealing with people that have a good sense of humor. Other prospects are naturally skeptical and untrusting. They are worried about making mistakes and being ripped off. There are still other people who are very serious and want to focus on details, facts, and figures. You need to know who you are dealing with within about two or three minutes of meeting them.
3. Make Them Laugh and SmileIt is important to have a good sense of humor. Making someone laugh or smile can go a long way to building relationships
4. Ask the Right Questions
Ask the wrong questions and you will get the wrong answers. Questioning is the biggest weakness of most salespeople. This is a skill that is rarely talked about, and little training seems to exist for it. You have a lot to learn about this person and what they need. You need to begin building rapport immediately. You will want to determine their basic personality type, build creditability, identify needs, find hot buttons, and lay the groundwork for your presentation.
You are the expert. It is your ethical duty to determine what is best for your clients and prescribe the right solution for their needs.
5. Don’t Give Them What They Want
A great motto to live by is this: “Give customers what they need, not necessarily what they ask for.” It is important to remember because people rarely know what they need. This is not to be confused with what they want. Most people know what they want from your company, but they rarely understand what it takes to deliver it to them. You are the expert. It is your ethical duty to determine what is best for your clients and prescribe the right solution for their needs.
6. Sell the Sizzle, Not the Steak
Features mean nothing to the average client. You must sell benefits – not features. They are interested in WIFM – “What’s in it for me?” You must answer this question to be successful.
7. Offer a Wide Range of SystemsMany sales professionals have moved away from a simple good, better, best offering. They are now offering a wider selection of comfort systems. Five options are recommended.
Create marketing-oriented names and brief descriptions for each level of system. Here are five good options:
Value: Affordable value-based comfort.
Prestige: Good comfort system at a great price.
Supreme: Very good comfort system yet still affordable.
Optimum: The best combination of comfort, warranty, and energy savings.
Ultimate: State of the art comfort, maximum energy savings, and the ultimate warranty.
8. Offer Financing to Everyone
Financing is one of your most effective selling tools. It should be offered to everyone, even rich people. Rich people love financing.
Many salespeople make the mistake of believing that wealthy people will not want to hear about financing. That’s not true. Wealthy people think about cashflow and the cost of capital. They understand the huge advantage of leveraging their buying power by using other people’s money. Rather than focusing solely on the price of the product, they focus on the return on investment.
9. The Best Systems Include the Best Financing
Lenders will often allow you to pay fees to create more favorable terms. These fees are often referred to as a “Buydown.” Use buydowns to create low interest rates and small down payments for your most profitable systems.
Your least profitable systems should only be offered with your least attractive financing packages. The better the system is, the more attractive the financing package should be. There are plenty of people that will invest in your best system if it includes cheap financing and or low payments.
Talk about the prospect’s monthly investment and how the system will reduce their overall costs. Focus on the net monthly cost of ownership versus the original price tag for the system.
10. Analyze the Impact of Financing
Track sales opportunities by financing activity. You want to know what financing options were taken when looking at leads won and lost. At the minimum, track leads by these three financing related scenarios: “Financing Offered and Refused”; “Financing Offered, Bank Declined, They Paid Cash”; “Financing Offered, Bank Declined, Sale Lost.” If you are losing sales due to prospects being declined, you need to find alternative sources of financing or market to a different demographic.
11. The Sales Presentation
This could easily be its own article. Here are four important points.
1. Approximately 5% to 10% of buyers will buy the most expensive system, no matter what. Approximately 15% to 20% will select the least expensive system, no matter what. 75% will make their selection based mostly on your presentation.
2. Rehearse the first two minutes of meeting your prospect. You should know in advance how you will approach your prospect and how you will introduce yourself. You should already know what your first few questions will be.
3. Know who you are dealing with and tailor your presentation to their personality type. Only offer the information that is needed. You should avoid talking about things that don't matter to them.
4. Don't feel like you must cover each point of your presentation. Let the prospect interrupt you with questions. Their questions will help you understand what information is important to them.
12. Nurture and Follow-up
You may not always get the sale on your first try, so keep trying. Do this by staying in touch and nurturing the relationship. Call and email your prospect to stay in touch. Have a nurturing program in place that is automatic. You don’t want to have to think about it.
12.5. You Need Grit
Grit is the secret weapon among successful people of all types. But what is it exactly?
According to Angela Duckworth, the psychologist and researcher who made the term well known, Grit is passion and perseverance for long term and meaningful goals. Grit means to stick with it. You continue working hard even after you experience difficulty or failure.
Are you ready to take a deeper dive into sales training for your whole team, and unlock countless resources, sample presentations, and much more? Visit MyContractorUniversity.com/CBS to get Contractor University free for 30 days.
James Leichter is a longtime HVAC contractor, consultant, and public speaker. Leichter is president and CEO at Aptora Corporation, a maker of contracting business management software. He is the editor of MrHVAC.com. James is a partner at RA Tax and Accounting, Inc. James is a founding faculty member at EGIA Contractor University. Learn more about EGIA and Contractor University.