A Tale of Three Salespersons

Dec. 26, 2015
Order Takers go through the motions Professional Presenters rely on their presentation and product knowledge Consultant Closers cause sales to happen  

There are three basic types of home improvement salespeople, each potentially successful, but to very different degrees. They are:

  • The Order Taker
  • The Professional Presenter
  • The Consultant Closer

Each salesperson knows every detail about the products and services they sell, and can usually answer any question about those products and services.

The Order Taker is typically concerned only about himself or herself. The Professional Presenter and the Consultant Closer care about their clients and are interested in helping customers achieve their goals. The Professional Presenter and Consultant Closer usually perform with different degrees of communication, knowledge, methods, thoroughness, and professionalism.

The difference is that the Consultant Closer understands the purpose of an in-home sales call is not to get in and out of the home as quickly as possible, hit a quota of leads, or make a great presentation. For him the purpose of an in-home sales call is to make a sale by helping the prospect buy.

Giving a powerful or deft presentation should never be your purpose in and of itself. You're not there to win an award. You're there to close the sale.
— Tom Hopkins

Order Takers just go through the motions, and usually only do the absolute bare minimum, to be able say they "did their job." To the Order Taker, "showing up" is good enough and they're not proacitve in making the sale occur. If asked, they might answer questions and point out various features regarding their products or services. Order Takers like to "go back to the office," "get their numbers together," and "email the quote," instead of investing time to build rapport and offer solutions. Order Takers normally close sales when the prospect has already decided on their own to make a purchase. They frequently talk about how there are no good leads, only one-leggers, or similar excuses for their poor performance.

Professional Presenters are betting that their fancy iPad or PowerPoint presentation will get the client to go with their company.

Professional Presenters rely almost solely on their presentation and product knowledge to create enough interest for the client to want to buy from them. They're betting that their fancy iPad program or slick PowerPoint, glossy equipment or company brochures and their ability to recite endless, mind-numbing  technical product features are all going to be so convincing that the client won't be able to help but go with their company.

Often, Professional Presenters leave a sales appointment proud of the amazing presentation they gave, convinced that the client is "hot," and will surely be calling to schedule in the next couple of days, but are sorely disappointed when either, the call never comes or, when it does, it's to let them know they're going with someone else.

Consultant Closers know that the client would rather have one good, soul-satisfying emotional reason to buy, than a dozen facts or features.

What? How? But, they gave a world-class presentation that had the client on the edge of their seat.

They frequently talk about how there are low-ballers willing to do work at a loss, the company's pricing being too high, or similar price-oriented excuses for why they didn't close the sale.

Consultant Closers understand that a professional presentation is just a tool — albeit a very important one — to help them close the sale. However, they don't rely on it to do the job for them. They don't leave anything to chance. Instead, they systematically complete the sale. Closers cause sales to happen, rather than taking the "wait and hope" approach.

Consultant Closers understand that if they don't ask for the sale, the answer will always be "NO."  They know that the client would rather have one good, soul-satisfying emotional reason to buy, than a dozen facts or features.

A Consultant Closer takes the "Golidlocks time" approach — not too much, not too little, but just the right amount of time to control and direct the client's attention to the various features of their product or service and educates them on how it will solve their problem and help them achieve their goals.They close because they discover the "real reason" the client called the out there, which is never to "buy and air conditioner." Then, they help them buy the benefits they're looking for, without wasting time on the stuff that doesn't matter to the client.

The Consultant Closer is always paying attention to buying signs, so they can help the customer buy and close the business. As a result, Consultant Closers typically close for higher dollar average sales, and have higher close ratios than the Order Takers and Professional Presenters.

About the Author

Tom Casey | Chief Quality Officer

Tom Casey, Jr. is chief quality officer at Griffin Service, St. Johns, Fla. He was previously the CEO of Casey's Climate Partners, an industry leader for decades. Both companies have won ContractingBusiness.com Quality Home Comfort Awards, for excellence in efficient home HVAC installations. 
He can be reached at [email protected] / 518-732-JEDI.