When Peggy Fisher meets with potential clients for the first time, her husband Ken is by her side. The owners of Fisher Group in Annandale, Va., work as a team in and out of the office.
Although Peggy is the company's resident designer and Ken is the builder, the duo has used the team-selling method since the company's inception nearly 20 years ago. The couple works together from the initial sales meeting. “This way the client can ask the questions they want to and satisfy themselves about both the design process and the construction process,” Peggy says.
Although team-selling is not a new concept, more remodelers are experimenting with team dynamics, including introducing male-female sales teams. While each team member has different roles in the design/build process, their skills and expertise should complement each other. You don't have to be husband and wife to make a great selling team, either. “It takes two people who truly respect each other's expertise,” Peggy says. The company should also have well-defined roles and expected results from each team member. “And they have to have the same goal: to serve the client,” Peggy adds.
Although there are many advantages to team-selling, there can also be drawbacks. For example, the client could feel overwhelmed when facing two salespeople. But allowing the client to do most of the talking will make him or her feel more comfortable, she says. Another downside is scheduling two salespeople to one meeting. “Some would view that as inefficient, and maybe it is from that perspective,” Peggy says. However, by having both the designer and the builder present, some follow-up questions and subsequent meetings could be eliminated.
The most important aspect of team-selling is finding two people who work well together and are willing to learn each other's trade. “You can't bring in a designer who doesn't know or care about construction,” Peggy says. On the flipside, the builder must be willing to consider the designer's ideas. If there's conflict between the team members, the client will pick up on it, she says. “They're looking for a company [where the people] work well together.”