April 16/23, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 22
By Jim Augustus Armstrong
(Second of two parts)
In part one of this series, I discussed how you can increase your closed sales ratio simply by maximizing your repeat and referred customers. In this installment, I’m going to discuss why having a selling system will also help you increase your closed sales.
“We now have a 70% close rate,” Rob, a dealer from Utah, told me. “And our margins are over 40%.”
Rob had recently implemented a selling system, and he was excited not only because of the increased close rates, but because his margins were so much higher. It also gave him a quicker way to train new salespeople.
Here’s what Rob’s salesperson told me: “I started only six months ago in the flooring business, so I’m pretty green. For months, my residential margins were 30% to 35%. I’d end the day totally exhausted and realize I hadn’t closed any sales. It was discouraging. We’re right down the street from two home stores. People would come in and say, ‘Lowe’s quoted me this price,’ or ‘Home Depot quoted me such and such.’ I was always having to compete on price. A few months ago, Rob implemented a sales system and training program. “Since then, my overall close ratio has been over 70%.”
Admittedly, not every dealer will get results this quickly and dramatically, but that’s not the point. The point is, going from no selling system to actually having one will oftentimes dramatically improve your results.
Here are some tips for developing a selling system.
If it’s not written down, it’s not a system. Every step of Rob’s selling system is in writing. For example, he has scripts for greeting walk-ins, for taking control of the sales process and for getting prospects to sit down for a consultation. His sales team is trained on using a printed questionnaire during consultations. Having a written system makes it much easier for Rob to train his team and troubleshoot problems that come up with individual team members.
Scripts are important at the beginning and end of the sales process. This is because greeting prospects and closing are the two most critical times of the sale. It’s also where most salespeople mess things up.
Rob’s script for greeting walk-ins does several things: it makes the prospect feel welcome; differentiates him from competitors; takes control of the sales process; and sells prospects on the benefits of having a consultation.
Your closing script should include a reminder of your unique selling propositions, a discussion of your guarantee/warranty information and how prospects could benefit. Instead of giving one quote, give prospects quotes for three different flooring packages: low, medium and high. This way, instead of choosing between you and a competitor, they can choose between you, you and you.
Your selling system should feel like a visit to a trusted physician. When a physician meets with a patient, he doesn’t burst into the exam room and say, “What kind of pills did you have in mind?” Instead, he sits down, asks questions, writes down the answers, diagnoses the problem, then prescribes. Your selling system should do the same thing. Sit down with your prospects, ask questions and write down the answers using a printed questionnaire. Then, and only then, prescribe the flooring options which best fit their taste and lifestyle.
Jim Armstrong specializes in providing turnkey marketing strategies for flooring retailers. For a free copy of his latest book, “How Floor Dealers Can Beat the Boxes Online,” visit BeatTheBoxesOnline.com.