“Begin with the end in mind.” This principle, made famous by Stephen Covey in 1989, has helped many remodelers improve their sales process as well as their production schedules.
The sales process for remodeling projects, especially larger ones, is inherently unwieldy. It is challenging to navigate design decisions and conflicting preferences between decision makers — not to mention the logistics of sales meetings and the vagaries of financing. Homeowners are busy with careers, family, and personal lives and often remodeling decisions get put on the back burner.
Managing the Process
You can help your clients — and your company — by managing the sales process similar to the way you manage your construction process. Many remodelers have found this approach an effective means of keeping the sales process moving.
How do they do it? They start by setting a mutually-agreed goal for the date that a construction contract will be signed. Then they work backward to create a timetable and schedule the necessary steps to make the goal attainable.
Use pre-scheduled client meetings as a framework. How many will it take to reach the target contract date? Pre-schedule all the meetings early in the process to avoid the delay of personal schedules filling up later on. Just as you would plan and write a production schedule, write down goals and tasks for each sales meeting. Scrupulously perform your tasks on time and provide support to help clients follow-through on theirs: be a guide and a facilitator, not a drill sergeant. At each meeting, review progress toward the target date and make any adjustments needed to stay on schedule.
Keeping It Moving
Don’t resign yourself to the sales process being unmanageable. Often your initiative and experience can move things along. Maintain momentum by focusing on the benefits of the finished project and the satisfaction of completing the process and enjoying the result.
If the sales process drags out, it hurts production scheduling, cash flow, and profitability. There are times when delays and uncertainty may be unavoidable, but sometimes clients simply need to be guided. These clients will thank you for helping them enjoy their home improvements sooner, and your company’s bottom line will thank you for the efficiencies. —Richard Steven, president of Fulcra Consulting, specializes in helping remodeling companies create and implement effective management plans.
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