Getting Closer to the Sale
In last week’s posting I talked about the steps that need to be taken in the sales process with a potential client leading up to and including talking about money. Without knowing the potential client’s investment amount, a remodeling company can waste a lot of time planning and estimating just to find out they never had a chance of getting the job. Why? Because the company’s estimated cost did not have a healthy mesh with the potential client’s budget.
We all know how painful that is and we want to avoid that. So, now that we have received the investment amount from the potential client what happens next?
What do you, the salesperson, do if the amount tendered by the potential client is lower than what you think the project, as you currently understand the scope, might entail regarding cost?
You might review the potential client’s scope of work with him or her discussing some or all of the particulars that you received from the potential client earlier in the meeting. “Now, you mentioned wood flooring that should match the material you saw at your friend’s house. We discussed that it is quite likely random width quarter sawn oak plank. Remind me, why is this particular wood flooring what you would you like to be part of your project?”
Do let the potential client answer before proceeding. Ask probing follow-up questions to allow the potential client to sell him or herself regarding what is wanted. You want to him or her reconnect with all the emotional reasons surrounding the choices made. What was it he or she found so compelling?
“What if I were to say to you that possibly this and some other fittings and finish choices might need to change to be able to provide you with the remodel and process that you mentioned you are looking for? Would you be interested in pursuing some other ideas that would make it more likely than not that we could provide you the scope of work that you are looking to have done for your investment amount? Or would you be interested in increasing your investment amount so that all that you told me could be done as you said you would like it to be?”
The key here is to not shoot down the potential client’s idea of budget. Your goal is to keep the conversation going, to have the potential client see you as a source of solutions to problems not as a source of problems.
At the start of their remodeler search, virtually every client is unclear about realistic project costs. A good salesperson sees that as an opportunity to help the potential client, in a consultative way, develop a realistic mesh between scope of work, specifications and the investment amount.
The remodeler must have a reasonable handle on the company's history of project costs, particularly what similar projects cost to be built. Absent such information the remodeler cannot have a results-oriented dialogue with the potential client that results in a commitment that both parties can live up to.
If you don’t have points of reference in your company’s past that you can refer to then either sell or provide for free a feasibility study. “Mr. or Mrs. Potential Client, I would like to provide you with a preliminary idea of what I think the project might cost, but I need some time in my office to do so. What if I put together a brief description of what I understand the project is and a range of what the costs to build it might be? That would help us in our conversation about whether there is a mesh between what you would like to invest and what our experience shows it could cost.
Okay, since that sounds like a good idea to you, let’s set up an appointment [within the next few days, preferably sooner than later] for me to return and review with you the results of my feasibility study. And are we both are in agreement that if we agree on a combination of scope of work, fittings and finishes, and investment amount that we would like to move forward together to the next step?”
Now you are on the way to the sale! More in next week’s posting.