How well are you doing at sales? Are you closing 50% of leads? 30%? 10%? It’s useless to be a good craftsperson unless you also can sell what you create. Your customers cannot be expected to recognize a good idea unless it is presented to them by a good salesperson.

David Ogilvy, one of America’s advertising legends, used to say that you can develop the very best solution to an exceptionally complex problem, but if you can’t present that idea in a way that will convince your prospects to buy, all of your work has been wasted. Your time in the spotlight is your sales presentation. The way you conduct yourself during the first few hours you spend with your prospects is crucial to your sales success. Far too many remodelers go to meeting after meeting after meeting with no plan of attack; they simply wing it.

Sales professionals have a plan and they work it. They know exactly what they want to happen in each phase of the selling cycle and they work toward those goals. They leave nothing to chance, and they pay attention to these six key elements below.

1. Make a great first impression. You only have three seconds to make your first impression and 30 more seconds to revise it. Studies show that appearance, including clothing, body language, facial expressions, and eye contact creates more than half the first impression you make.

2. Ask open-ended questions. Open-ended questions start with who, what where, how, why, and “tell me about.” By asking questions, your prospective clients will tell you what’s important to them.

3. Determine the budget early in the process. Ask if they have an investment amount in mind. Otherwise, you can’t give them the right solution.

4. Bracket a ballpark budget. And remember: In remodeling, the prospects’ budget is almost always initially unrealistic. That means it may take a couple of discussions before you nail down what they are able and willing to invest.  

5. Know the best ways to handle objections. Studies show that there are only six main objections in any one industry. Write ‘em down, and then develop responses to each one. 

6. Always ask the prospect to make a decision. Studies show that 65% of all sales calls do not include a direct request for business. One of my favorite quotes is “Salespeople don’t close because they don’t know what to ask the prospect to do.” Just think of how many more sales you’ll close if you ask directly.

In order to do your best job, watch your selling habits now, work to change them, and watch how you will have grown and developed into a top-notch salesperson for your company.