What do airplanes and new clients have in common?
They’re both incredibly difficult to land without the right set of skills.
If your company offers a design/build service that specializes in outdoor living spaces, then you’re no stranger to a hesitant client who is unsure and unwilling to move forward with your design.
It’s not uncommon to feel frustrated in this situation because after all, your design is unique, creative and competitively priced. You probably even threw in some “extras” just to sweeten the deal. How could anybody say no to that? Are they in fact saying no at all? Be careful here because this is a fragile moment in the sales cycle where a potentially great project may be won or lost, based on how you address this hesitation.
Let’s make several assumptions right away to make this extra energy worth our time. First, we’ll assume that you’ve qualified your prospect and are not offering a water garden to someone who simply wants their hedges pruned … it happens. A contractor friend of mine (contractor friend is an industry term meaning “me,” “myself” or “I”) once spent 30 minutes with a couple explaining all the lifetime warranties that each product carried along with a solid five-year labor guarantee. The pitch was perfect and the solid guarantee was a strength that had won him many jobs over the years. Yet, a moment later, the husband leaned slightly forward and said, “Son, I’m 83 years old, why don’t you keep the warranty and just take some money off.” Ouch! The point is, your reasons for buying may be very different from those of your prospect. Herein lies the opportunity to close more jobs and overcome objections.
Qualified prospects hesitate for only one single reason: They need more information. A hesitant prospect is a fragile prospect. Your job as a salesperson is to discover and deliver the information they need to remove the hesitation that is keeping them from saying “yes.”
In the table (below) there are some common phrases that a homeowner may say to express their hesitation. Let’s set the stage and assume you’ve delivered a great design, a competitively priced proposal and, despite your professional follow up, your client is still expressing hesitation. Use the table to see if any of these phrases apply to your situation.
We each have a style, a subtlety or even a secret about what we say and do during a sales call that elevates our position over that of our competition. Successful companies have eliminated the most common mistakes that work against us, often from the very moment we take the first phone call. Here are the top five ways a business can reduce or eliminate hesitation from the prospect.
Look for opportunities to offer solutions and services that can speak to their wish list. Establish yourself as their partner for future projects. Help them phase the project into manageable increments. And remember this is not the time to “go for the gold.”
We work incredibly hard for each and every piece of new business and, in recent years, many of us have worked harder than ever before, especially when it comes to selling large landscape renovations and outdoor living spaces. With increased competition and homeowners scrutinizing every dollar, you may find yourself struggling to sway an unsure client, despite your great reputation.
The fundamentals outlined above will increase your ability to reduce or eliminate hesitation. Remember that hesitation rarely has anything to do with price. Never offer a discount or freebie without first understanding exactly where the prospect is stuck.
Dropping prices is not an effective way to sway a hesitant homeowner. There is a time and place for a price incentive, but it is a very calculated tool to be used conservatively in select situations and almost immediately results in a signed contract.
Explore the April 2011 Issue
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