Asking for the business or deal is pretty easy when you have just made a good presentation. Don't be shy, just ask them. You have done your job, and now is the time to find out just how well you have done it.
Try to avoid excessive talking at this stage of the game.
If you have just asked a closing question, then silence is golden. You could introduce something that could hurt your chances of closing the deal, rather than helping them.
Ask for the business, then listen to your customer. They will tell you where they are in the process.
Sometimes when a customer is ready to buy from you, they will give you signals in the form of questions. Here are a few questions you may hear that are great buying signals.
There are some others that may come to your mind as well. These are a few of the more popular ones. Make sure that you know the answers to them, and never make promises that you can't keep. Under promise, over deliver. (Another good business philosophy.)
Remember that time is also money to you. Ask for the business, deposit, or signature. (Whatever closes the deal for you), with some of the same buying signal questions they may ask you.
If you have any deals or specials on, make sure you offer them now. Your own specials, or those of your suppliers.
Example #1. Our spring clean-up special ends this weekend, so this is the last day I can guarantee you this price.
Example #2. The interlock bricks you would like to have, are only on special for a couple of more days. We need the signed contract, and the deposit looked after today to guarantee you that price.
There are a lot of sodding companies out there. For you, you can offer specials on your sod pricing.
Example #3. We are having a special on our sod for the month of June. It is 5 cents off per square foot.
Another good sales promotion is to extend last month’s specials so they roll over into the next month with a signed contract.
You can also lead them into a decision by getting them to answer a series of smaller decisions pertaining to their yard. Plant types, brick types, colours, styles, patterns, are all questions that will lead into a signed contract.
A person that is indecisive will be awkward to deal with in the closing stages. People like this may be difficult to close. I never believe in trying to shove a sale down someone's throat, especially in this business. I already said that you will never bat 1000.
Do your job, but don't waste a lot of time trying to persuade people like this. You may end up pushing too hard and backing them into a corner. Pushing them further and further away. You will recognize these people with the number of objections that they have.
You are also screening your clients to see if they are someone that you want to work for or not. Someone that will be a good customer, appreciative, and pass along future business to you. If you are in a good market with lots of business, you can be selective with your customers. If not, you may have to take what you can get. This is just one of the downfalls of supply and demand.
People that are awkward in the initial selling stages, tend to be difficult through the whole process of working for them.
On the other hand, someone that is a “Lay down”, may require you to make all the decisions for them. They will actually rely on you for the whole process. If you finished your presentation and put the pen and contract in front of them, they would sign it.
Be careful with people ethat say “We ALWAYS pay our bills.” They always seem to be the ones that don't.
For a company with a great salesman, good products, and good customer service, you don't have to get hung up on chasing people for the work. You also won't have to bicker over price. You will build a reputation for doing great work for “Your” price, and most of your quality business will be referred to you.
Objections can be legitimate or just excuses not to buy. You need to find out if it is or not. There are many different ways of dealing with objections when they arise. One of the best ways is to send it right back as a question.
This spin allows you to find out if it is an excuse or true objection.
Perhaps you did not win them over in the presentation? If they are not comfortable with you, your work or your company, they will very rarely be honest and tell you that up front. You will get an excuse not to do business with you. NOT a true objection.
Here is an example of what I mean by this.
They may respond with something like this:
“We are having a deck installed and not sure when they are going to do it.”
Send this right back to them in a professional and helpful way.
Here is an example of what I mean.
“Would you like us to contact the deck company to co-ordinate our work with theirs?”
This is just an example of what I mean. Their answer will clarify whether or not it is a legitimate objection or not.
If they answer YES, Then you can close the deal and make them feel easier about the deck and the landscaping.
If they answered NO. It may be an excuse to get out of commitment to you. There is probably another reason why they are not ready to buy with you. You need to find out why. If you get more objections, do the same thing and send them back again as a questions.
If you are getting the same result, don't linger with it, move on quickly. Ask a few more questions to find out why you are not able to close this one. It may require a second sales call.
It is very important to analyze your sales calls. Make mental notes in your head or on paper of how you do when you leave a prospective clients house each time. This will allow you to recognize strengths and weaknesses and constantly be improving your sales presentation skills.
It may take you a year or two to develop your skills to where you are seeing more contracts and deposit checks. Like I said in the beginning, we should be able to get the work in one meeting. Our time is valuable and we don't work for free. Improving your sales skills will improve your profits while saving you time and money.
In summarizing asking for the business, I think the most important thing to remember here is to not be afraid to ask for it. We can review the last couple of sections again by saying:
If you meet all these criteria, then walk out that door with some kind of closure. Don't even give your competition the opportunity to walk in that house. This should be your goal for all of your sales calls. Especially for those of you in the maintenance or sodding end of the business. You should be leaving with measurements, a signed contract, and/or a deposit check.
Although we would just love you to walk out of every sales call with a check in hand, it is just not realistic. Some sales calls just happen, and we are not always fully prepared. Some jobs will require more than one sales call.
This leads us into the final section of Follow Up.
Table of Contents: Sales Tips
E. Follow Up