Skilled salespeople work hard to perfect their process and presentation. Over time, they learn how to dismiss tire-kickers, sell upgrades, and shorten the sales cycle. Experienced salespeople develop a formula for an optimal process. However, they can’t be too strict about adhering to this formula because they could lose the opportunity to make a sale. When it comes to remodeling clients, one size does not fit all. Prospects have different expectations, styles, and needs that a salesperson can’t address with a single formula. So should a salesperson use a targeted, efficient process or one that is more flexible and casts a wider net?
It depends on what type of service they are selling — specialty or custom.
Specialty. Specialty firms and those who sell a high volume of small jobs should focus on streamlining the sales process. I worked with a window replacement company that provides free, fast, easy-to-understand estimates. The owner/salesperson qualifies 30% of all leads and closes almost 50%. He has achieved these excellent results by disqualifying prospects that are interested in a buying experience that his company does not provide. Window replacement jobs are small and plentiful, so he has many leads, but he uses a consistent sales process to qualify prospects and make his sales meeting more productive. His efficient sales process also easily rolls over into the hand-off to production.
Custom: Companies who sell large, custom projects should consider a more flexible approach. The initial company contact can use personality profiling techniques (such as DISC or Myers-Briggs) to classify the prospect and interview them to learn about their expectations. Armed with this information, the salesperson can adapt the company’s sales outline to match the client’s specific profile, expectations, and needs. If the company has more than one salesperson, it can match the prospect to the appropriate sales rep.
Customizing the sales process takes time and effort. It means that you will qualify more leads and close a smaller proportion of them, but if you sell large jobs, even one extra contract a year is worth the effort. —Daniel Glickman is a branding consultant and business coach at FirmFlair and former owner of Sustainable Construction Services, in Sherborn, Mass. firstname.lastname@example.org