The approaching end of the year afforded me an opportunity to look back on my columns that have been published in 2023 and pick out a few of my favorite messages.

Situational Canvassing: There is a great resource for leads at every salesperson’s disposal that very few take advantage of. After selling a job and getting signatures on a contract, don’t just get in your vehicle and drive to the next appointment. Instead, take a few minutes and knock on a few of your new customer’s neighbor’s doors. Explain you will be starting a project in few weeks and work hard at picking up any construction debris that accumulates around jobsites. Hand them your business card and ask them to call you if they see debris in their yard that your installation crews did not get picked up. What do they think about you when you walk off that porch?

Solve Problems & Be Honest: I recently met a gentleman who shared with me some advice his grandfather had given him long ago. The grandfather was an automobile mechanic and ran his own service garage. The advice was “solve people’s problems, and be honest, and you will always have as much work as you can handle.” That is some solid advice for sales professionals in the home improvement/remodeling industry. I believe that sales pros are always looking to get better at what they do. So, as a sales pro, what are you going to do to get better at identifying and solving problems and dealing with people as honestly as possible?

Stop-Collaborate-Listen: We’ve all heard the song recorded in 1990 by Vanilla Ice titled “Ice Ice Baby.” The first verse goes “All right, stop - collaborate and listen - Ice is back with a brand-new invention” and in that verse are three words that represent solid advice to salespeople: Stop-Collaborate-Listen.

  • Stop: Your tendency may be to rush through a day, especially when things are busy. You rush through your day, sales call after sales call, mix in a myriad of different phone calls, and the usual “firefighting” activities that pop up for most salespeople. This hurrying through the day can put in you in an auto-pilot state of mind, just grinding away. Take a few seconds to STOP your mental process and just think before moving forward. Here is one instance where that can be helpful. Many times, when a homeowner expresses an issue, concern, or problem they are currently facing, the salesperson immediately begins explaining how their product or service will solve the issue. Instead STOP and ask the homeowner how the problem is impacting or challenging their situation. Drilling down with these types of questions allow the homeowner space to consider how their problems are affecting their lives, bringing emotion and urgency to the surface.
  • Collaborate: This is critical for sales leaders across the industry. Consistent communication is critical for any leader. You want to make sure that the team is on the same page and working together to achieve the stated goal. Clearly lay out responsibilities and do not be afraid to over communicate. Transparency is important and being open and honest with people will make them feel like they’re part of the team. Avoid micro-managing, trust your colleagues to do good work and provide a good support structure that they can lean on when help is needed. If you have good people, give direction, and get out of the way. Nothing will hamper a team’s effort and morale more than a leader who can’t get out of the way and wants their fingerprints on everything.
  • Listen: Be mindful of what your body language is communicating and pay attention to what the other person is telling you with theirs. Avoid interrupting others when they’re speaking. That tells them you think you are more important than them and minimizes what they have to say. And most importantly, be present in the encounter. Clear your mind and focus on hearing them. You can’t listen and prepare your response at the same time.

That’s a wrap for 2023. I wish everybody a happy and prosperous 2024. Happy Selling!!