“You love what you do,” Mark Hunter told his audience at the Remodeling Leadership Conference on May 10. “But you’re [often] not comfortable selling it.”
Remodelers, Hunter points out, are often people who come from building or design and are, typically, uninterested in sales. But here’s where the profit outcome begins to take shape: Selling well requires using what you know to take charge of that sales conversation. “We can make great money,” Hunter says, “when we sell what we do well.”

Confidence Factor
The author and speaker, who spent 18 years as a marketing and sales executive for three Fortune 100 companies before going out on his own, says that sales success is all about leadership and the confidence it projects. The more confidence remodelers bring to that sales consultation, the greater the homeowner’s sense of competence in their company. Homeowners want to hire someone who knows what he’s doing and is prepared to take charge. Not only will they buy, they’ll buy the quality high-margin projects that result in top- and bottom-line profit.
That begins to happen, Hunter says, when the contractor finds out what his prospect really wants and why – and sticks to the point. Short questions produce long answers; long questions, short answers. Hunter suggests that before putting a proposal on the table, remodelers should:

1) Find a minimum of three real needs motivating the project. Not “we want to update our kitchen,” but “we’re planning to sell the house in 10 years,” or “the kids will be gone from the house soon, and we expect to do more entertaining.”
2) Establish a timeline.
3) Create 10 “pain-filled” questions that establish your expertise. Examples: Who will pull permits? Or, if they’re planning to move in a few years, would that particular choice of colors or finishes create a problem at resale?

Narrow the Focus
When you move the conversation to the homeowner’s needs, Hunter points out, you create the opportunity to establish competence by inviting them to ask how you’ll satisfy those needs.
Selling a remodeling project usually takes four or five visits to the home. On each visit, Hunter suggests that contractors ask homeowners to do something, and get them to agree on something. With each time, he says, you’re more narrowly defining the value they believe they’re going to get. “You have to be comfortable knowing: What is the outcome I want to get from this visit?” Hunter says. Start by assuming that you’re going to build their project, and don’t be afraid, when the moment comes, to ask for a signature. —Jim Cory is a contributing editor for REMODELING

More articles from the Sales Hunter:
Getting Past Consumers' Hesitancy to Buy
Ready or Not: Tips on Closing the Deal