Sales skills and techniques are as important for tradies just as much as any other type of business.
Improving your sales techniques can mean an improvement to the size and profitability of your business.
Sales, advertising and marketing go hand in hand.
Marketing and advertising attracts new potential customers to your business gives your business more opportunities to sell. Sales convert potential customers into customers. Delivering exceptional goods and/or service to the customer also helps your marketing and future sales.
Here are some key sales skills & techniques that tradespeople should know and use.
Often people do not trust new people or business. When people know you and you have a good reputation people are more likely to trust you and use your services. This is the whole premise of Brands.
You can achieve this through people always seeing your brand, however, that can be expensive.
A less expensive technique is to have your truck/ute/van show branding, your clothes show the business branding, your business card shows your branding, and your quote or other materials that you provide to the customers shows your branding.
Each time the customer sees your branding it will increase their trust in your business. This is unless they have had a bad experience with your brand and in this case, they may associate that bad experience with your brand.
It is a lot easier to sell to someone who already has a positive impression of you and your business.
Pre-selling is part of your marketing and advertising. If someone wanting your service can see they you are experts in providing this service and have shown examples of you past work that is what they want they will have more confidence in your ability to provide what they want.
This means that you should describe your experience providing the services you offer and show photos of completed jobs to show off to clients. Customer reviews that talk about a positive experience can also help.
People trust and want to use experts. People who know what they are doing. However, many people trying to be an expert just seem arrogant, which is not good for sales.
Asking questions about the project is an excellent sales technique, it shows your potential customer that you care about what they want and making sure that the service you provide meets their needs.
You may also consider asking questions about your customer and how they plan to use whatever it is that you are providing, this way you can make suggestions about the suitability of what they want or additional services that you can provide.
People are more likely to buy from people that are like them and who they like. It is also linked to trust.
When talking to the customer and asking questions focus on any similarities that you have with the customer. For example, if they have children and you also have children then you can mention your own children.
Don’t tell the customer they are wrong directly. Instead, you may suggest doing things a different way based on some past experience or story that you can tell.
Don’t make the customer feel stupid.
Most customers want to deal with a professional. It helps them trust you and the services you provide.
Part of it is how you look (branding on your truck/van/ute, clothes, quote forms and business cars etc..). Other aspects is being on time or if you will be late notifying them as soon as you know you will be late. If at 2pm you realise you will not make that 4pm appointment call them at 2pm not at 3:55pm.
Don’t make promises that you can’t keep. Set form prices and stick to them. If something is not a form price then be sure to tell the customer that it is not a set price and the factors that will influence that price.
If you tell the customer a firm price and then you later increase it the customer can feel like you are trying to rip them off.
Most people don’t actually want a good or service they want what that good or service does for them.
The customer may even ask for a specific good or service because they may not know about a better solution to their problem.
Focus on solving their problem and emphasising the benefits that they will get rather than the product and its features.
Be emphasising value you can avoid competing on price. This can be done by providing comprehensive quotes that contains everything that you will provide, especially if your competitors don’t do this.
This could also include clean up, and quality checks and assurances.
Is providing the quote is the end of your sales process?
Asking for the sale should be combined with sending your quote.
One possible technique is to ask if they received and looked at your quote, do they have any questions about the quote and are they happy to get started followed by when would be a good time to book in starting the job.
You can modify the ‘ask for the sale’ to tailor it to your own business and style.
You may encounter some objections at this point so you should prepare for that.
When you ask to be hired do you often hear “No”?
It can be tough to hear “No” from a potential customer and many people hear “No” and give up on the sale. A better approach is to interpret the “No” as a “Not yet”.
“No” may mean that they have already engaged another business but it can often mean I am not sure and have more questions or am open to negotiation.
Do you know what the common objections people have?
Some common objections include:
“It’s Too Expensive” …
“We Want Different Features” …
“I Need to Talk to My Wife / Husband” …
“I Need To Think About It” …
“Just Leave Me Some Information” …
“I’m Just Not Ready to Decide” …
There are others, some of which may be specific to your particular trade.
Think about all the possible objections that you get and your responses to them.
Of the common objections above, there are really only three types:
Your response to a price objection can follow two options (or you can combine them).
a. You can emphasise your quality and any unique selling point you have over your competitors.
b. You can offer a discount (you make sure that you are still making a profit). Many people can’t resist a discount. Many people spend money on things they don’t need and did not even know they wanted, just because they were getting a good discount.
If the customer is not happy with your product/service you can ask them about what aspect they are not happy with and if it is possible to do so you change the service to meet the customer’s needs.
Unsure about it
If they are undecided about it, this is your opportunity to ask why and answer further questions about what you are offering.
If at the end of answering their questions they have not made a decision you should arrange to contact them again when they have had a change to consider it or when their husband/wife etc… is with them.
Sometimes after obtaining quotes, customers will want to think about the project and which business to hire.
Other parts of life can get in the way and they may forget about the project (this is where the issues is not urgent such as a blocked toilet or water leak etc).
It may be that the potential customer heard different opinions from different tradies about how to do the project and is still not sure what to do.
A follow up asking if there is anything more they need from you to start the project will bring you to the front of their mind and provide an additional opportunity to answer and questions that they may still have and overcome any objections and ask for the sale.
Time is finite, once it is gone you can’t get it back.
By implementing some better practices in your business you can use your time more efficiently.
With more free time you can spend it working on improving your business or just doing other things that you enjoy doing.
If you take things to the extreme you may find that your business can run without you.