Sales is the front line of your business and a skill you should always be improving. If you want to stay in business, you need to learn how to close sales, especially the tough ones.
Your customers should be your top priority. If they aren’t, it’ll catch up with you and the consequences will be reflected in your financials. Closing a tough sale isn’t easy, but it’s possible if you focus on building trust and alleviating your customers’ five biggest fears.
1. Won’t Get A Fair Price
Homeowners work hard to save money for their home improvement projects and are looking at the bottom line. Customers want a contractor who understands how to negotiate within a budget, while still delivering on quality. Start by showing them exactly where their money’s going. They may not understand how you’re coming up with your estimates, so break down the specific costs.
Transparency goes a long way. Explain what’s going into that estimate and why it costs that amount. Present them with options and describe the benefits and disadvantages of each pricing tier. Unless you explain why a particular material is better than another or why you recommend an upgrade, they’ll most likely just go with what’s cheaper. Open their minds and expand their knowledge, so they can make the best selection based on all the information that goes into pricing a project, and not just the dollar amount.
2. Won’t Listen to What the Homeowner Wants
You’re the expert and have been in business for many years, but that doesn’t mean you should approach the homeowner with a know-it-all attitude. Acknowledge their suggestions, hopes and concerns. Take the time to listen to your customers and repeat back to them exactly what you heard so you’re all on the same page. After you’ve shown them you understand where they’re coming from, then you can make suggestions and share your expert opinion.
Once you’ve both voiced your ideas and had a conversation, then it’s time to come to an agreement. Reassure the homeowners you’re the right person for the job and will accomplish their goals for them. Acknowledging what they’re saying, whether you agree with them or not, will set you up for a productive dialogue and help you build trust. Put to ease one of the homeowners’ biggest fears by allowing them to actively participate in the decision-making process and reassuring them that they won’t be disappointed.
3. The Job Won’t be Completed on Time
Put yourself in the homeowner’s shoes and realize they’re also working around busy schedules, family obligations and budgets. This is not only a valid fear to have, but one that needs to be addressed upfront to minimize any miscommunication and avoid bigger problems. Show up organized, knowledgeable about the project, know your schedule and be honest with them about how long it will take.
Review your own processes and ask yourself if you can you provide a guaranteed end date. If you can’t, perhaps you have an acceptable date range to offer up. This way, you’re not committing yourself and your crew to a hard deadline, but a window for when the project will be done. Another option is to have an incentive for finishing early. If the homeowner’s open to it, come up with an agreement that states you’ll be compensated for being done ahead of schedule. Be honest with how much work you and your team can handle at once and don’t commit to projects you don’t have time for just because you want the sale.
4. Afraid They’ll Hire A Crook
We’ve all heard the stories of the contractor who took the money and ran, or the person who overcharged the homeowner and didn’t deliver on their promise. Even though you don’t operate that way, you still need to communicate and prove to your customers that you run a legal, ethical and respectable business.
Lessen this common fear by sharing customer reviews and testimonials with your clients. Bring your credentials along to meetings and share your experience and qualifications when you meet with the homeowner face-to-face. Provide references, BBB approval, proof of license and insurance, accreditation and education to help put them at ease.
5. Disruption to House & Family
One of the biggest hesitations homeowners have with having contractors and workers at their home is the disruption it causes to their routine and daily life. Depending on size of the project, the updates could disrupt their lives for a long period of time. Be sensitive, proactive and ease their concerns ahead of time by sharing ways to mitigate mess and increase opportunity for livability during the project.
If the project requires the family to relocate, you should schedule this ahead of time and let them know for how long. Reach out and sync up with the homeowner to find the best possible time to do the work, not only the best day of the week, but also if morning or evening hours are better. Sales requires you to go out of your way so your customer feels as comfortable as possible.
Use these tips and tricks to build trust, alleviate your customers’ five biggest fears and close the tough sales. It takes practice and patience, but focusing on homeowners’ key concerns is sure to give you a better chance at winning the business. Authentic and honest conversations that address these main concerns will have you thriving and growing your business in no time.