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“No, that’s being too aggressive!”

“No, if anything, he’s being too soft.”

I’ve just finished facilitating two meetings where we spent a half-day demonstrating and working on how a contractor might handle certain sales situations.

We role-played. A group member would set up an issue he was having difficulty with. Then he’d play the remodeler, and another member would be the prospect or client.

Whether it’s how you answer the phone, take a lead, ask a prospect to move forward with the sale, or handle an unhappy client, role-playing is a great teaching tool that can be used throughout your company. But it does take getting used to.

Lesson Learned

Here’s what I learned:

  • There’s nothing better than hearing from others how they handle what we stumble over. For instance, we were asked to offer suggestions to a remodeler who sells extremely high-end projects to the wealthy. He’d leave the first meeting telling prospects to call if they wanted to proceed. We had to think about his clients and his selling style. Still, we were able to work through a scenario that invites clients to take the next step without feeling pushed.
  • It was clear that most of us have one selling style while our buyers have a number of different buying styles. If we are highly detailed in our selling, we’ll appeal to the engineer type but bore the creative and style-oriented prospect. So it was interesting to hear from a table of remodelers (with differing buying styles) as to what they would want to know and hear. Somehow the seller has to find clues as to how the prospect wants to buy.
  • Some of the “demonstrators” were somewhat weak on questioning. They needed to learn to listen better for cues that would tell them: what the real motivation for the project was, who the decision-maker was, what budget range would satisfy, what previous remodeling experience the prospect had (with what outcome), what factors (budget, design, remodeler reputation) would influence the decision, and when did the project need to be signed (or designed) in order to meet the prospect’s time line. There’s so much the professional remodeler must communicate to set his company apart from run-of-mill contractors that listening sometimes takes a back seat.

Role-play and you’ll be surprised what you learn and how fast you learn it.

??—Linda Case is founder of Remodelers Advantage, a national company that gives remodelers the tools to achieve profitability and success. 301.490.5620; linda@remodelersadvantage.comClick here to read more from Linda Case.??