Successfully making a sale at prospective client's home is a vitally important aspect of the job. From the moment you walk in the door, it's important to present yourself professionally to the client and to follow a number of steps that will increase your chance of a successful sale. An organized remodeling company always has a sales process that it passes on to employees who directly meet with the clients.
As a company leader, your first step is to mentally go back to your specific sales process and decide which aspect you need to improve. Next, write a list of notes to pass onto your employees: how to better communicate with the client, how to schedule a project, how to close or finish a project, how to work with clients when you are away, and how to make a successful sales presentation. Too often a smaller remodeling company will do the sales process entirely from memory and not have it written down to pass onto employees who interact with clients.
The first part in successfully making a sale is to research the client ahead of time to better understand their needs. Take a look at their home in a Google map search and learn about it from a satellite view. You can see details like their driveway, the roof and the size of the home. Go down to street view and see if the property is well kept. You want to have access to a good project management software program in which you can store your notes of the potential project and keep an electronic archive of all of your clients, past and present.
Next, contact the prospective client and introduce yourself. How you set up the first appointment is very important; it will set the tone for everything that follows. If your speaking skills on the phone are not very polished, then preparing a small script will help you better get through the call. As you get more experienced, you will not need to refer to the script as often.
The script should follow along these lines: "Mr. and Mrs. Smith, I'm so excited to be coming to your home to give you an estimate. Let me spend a few minutes going over how our initial consultation will go so we can get the most out of our time together. I suggest that we follow this simple routine: I'll spend about an hour at your home going over your project. The first thing I like to do is to go over our presentation book with you. Our presentation book will show you our licenses, contracts, and other forms such as change orders so you will know exactly what to expect as we get into the building phase. It just takes a few minutes to go over. I want you to see that we run our business in a very professional manner.
“Next, I would like you to show me the project and around the house so that I can get a feel for it. Be sure to share with me your ideas and dreams for the project; I want to know as much as possible about what you want the space to look like and how you are going to use it. After I have looked at the house, I want you to share with me any photos or clippings you have so I can have a good idea of what your project will cost to build.
“Then I will give you a ballpark cost estimate and see if you are agreeable to it. If you are agreeable to the rough estimate, then we can move right into the design phase. After you sign our design agreement I can have our designer come out and measure your project and take photos. They will spend about four hours in your home and you will get an as-built plan and a new-built plan, which will show you how the new design will look. Well, that's about it; I know it sounds like a lot, but we do this every day for our clients."
At this point in the sales process you have given them a firm agenda for the meeting. In asking the prospective client to be prepared for the meeting, you are helping to keep the first consultation to an hour. Next, you want to send the client an email request of what they should bring to the meeting so that they are absolutely ready to receive you on the day of your visit. By setting a professional tone from the beginning, the bond of trust with the client is better established.
On the day of the visit, take a second look at your notes. This will help to refresh the project in your mind. Gather your notes, presentation book, tape measure, iPad, flashlight, angle finder, writing material, and camera and keep them in a kit for the purpose of home sales and cost estimates. Make a point of arriving a few minutes early—being punctual is an important part of the job and is crucial to establishing credibility with the client. If you ever are going to be late, even if it's just five minutes, call them and let them know. And if you have the time, it's highly beneficial to spend about five minutes visualizing the meeting to come. It can help you relax and put you in a positive, focused manner.
When you arrive, survey the exterior of the house before you enter. Notice the siding, condition of the roof, and other external details. Do the same as you enter the house, noticing the style of the home and its general condition. When you first meet with the client, speak your name and company name clearly and hand the homeowners your business card and brochure as soon as you meet them.
Next, follow the steps in the meeting which you laid out with the prospective client over the phone. Remember to always show them the presentation book at the outset of the meeting. If you stick to business and keep it short, you have a better chance of closing the sale. Listen carefully to the client; after you have seen the project, ask them additional questions and give them some of your ideas, which will show them your expertise.
By this point, you need to have formulated a rough estimate in your head. Give this to the client after you have asked them if they would like to proceed with an estimate of the build and design. Reiterate exactly what the project involves—if the clients are nodding, then you are on the right track. If they are not, make sure you are defining the project correctly. That's it—the in-home sales process in a nutshell.