Making a Sales Call at the Prospective Client’s Home
Processes make every successful business more efficient and profitable. These systems and processes are the backbone of any great business. For business owners they create the path to growth, to succession, and a promising retirement. Good processes allow virtually everyone more freedom on some level, but they especially help owners and management run the business in the best way possible.
This business truth is not hard to see or understand, but deciding what processes should be made a part of your business, recording them, and then distributing the information is much more rare, especially in smaller companies. Most small companies keep everything in their head. They fail to record procedures that are repeated day after day, week after week, and month after month. This is one of the predominant reasons they will not grow, be profitable, or ever be able to sell their business.
Because of its importance, I’m going to show you a step-by-step procedure on how to sell your services to a homeowner. Once recorded, the distribution of the process, and the modification and improvements you make over time is relatively simple.
First you need to decide which processes will benefit you the most – then build upon that foundation.
To help you see some of the processes you need to work on, I’ve listed some that will get your little gray cells excited and in gear:
- Making a sales call at the prospective client’s home
- How to communicate with the client
- How to schedule a project
- How to close/finish a project
- How to prepare for being away
- How to train a new hire
- What to do before a project starts
- How to start a project
- How to punch list a project
- How to communicate with trades and vendors
- How to start the week
- How to end the week
- How to write a newsletter
- How to fill out a time sheet
- How to maintain your vehicles
- How to make a sales presentation
- How to measure a residence
- How to measure, cut and install linear trim in bulk
- How to transport building materials in your truck
For this article, let’s start with making a sales call. What will greatly increase your chances of closing the sale? In my opinion, if you record and follow these steps, your chances of getting the job are pretty good.
Here’s an example of how you might write up a process about how to make an appointment with a prospective client and conduct the sales visit.
1. Fill out the lead sheet.
The lead sheet, optimistically called the Probable Purchaser Form, is a quick way to fill out the information you receive from your prospective client. Make a point to fill it out completely and to make notes at the end. Use another sheet of paper if you need to. Whether you are doing the selling yourself or handing this off to a salesperson, put all your thoughts down on paper as soon as you finish talking to the prospective client. You can get a copy of this form by signing up for an Intermediate or higher membership at Scientific Remodeling System.
2. Research the prospective client
Using Google, Bing, or Yahoo search, find out whatever you can about the prospective client. Add this information to your notes. This can be very beneficial. The more you know about them, the better you’ll understand their needs, the more you can relate as you talk about your services.
3. Take at look at their home with satellite view
Learn everything you can about the home using a search engine map – here we can see a small circular drive, close lot lines, a home that looks like it was added on to in the rear, plenty of space in the rear of the house, difficult roofs to tie into in the rear, small patio, rear faces North, it is one of the larger home in the neighborhood, etc.
4. Take at look at their home with street view
Take a good look at the different map views. They can teach you a lot. You can see that the property is well kept, manicured, has mature trees on the right. The neighbors yards look well kept.
5. Archive your notes where all those with permission can find them
If you’ve ever heard me speak or have studied my lessons, you know that I am a big fan of project management programs. These programs will take your company to the next level, and are quite easy to use. In this case, I have made a Notebook with the prospective client’s name, and will fill it with information about this client from here on out, whether I get the job or not. This program will be the center of information for every project, archiving all the pertinent information about the project, including pictures, documents, messages between the client, business owner, staff, field workers and material suppliers. Nothing slips through the cracks, and you can find this information years from now.
6. Contact the prospective client
If someone else took the initial information, then it’s time to give the prospective client a call and introduce yourself as the person who will be visiting them. This works well because you will have the time to do some research before calling them.
7. Set up the appointment
How you set the first appointment is very important. It sets the tone for everything that follows. Create a script you can refer to as you set the appointment, using all of the important keywords and key points in the script. This may seems like a small thing, yet it’s not. Don’t underestimate the impact of this first contact.
8. Lay out the objective of the meeting
The real success of the entire project begins here. Now is the time to set expectations. Preparation and setting expectations is the secret ingredient to success. Tell them what you plan to accomplish during this first meeting. This should also be something you have scripted, even though you’ll deliver this information in a conversational manner.
9. Lay out the agenda for the meeting
Tell them the entire sequence of the meeting, i.e., I’ll sit down with you, show you my presentation book, look at the project, sit back down and go over your ideas, share some ideas of my own, and then give you a rough price for the project.
10. Lay out the timeline for the meeting
Let them know how long you plan to be there. I suggest telling them 1 hour. From experience, I can tell you that that 1 hour will turn into 1 ½ hours or two if you don’t watch it. Don’t let other people control your time, even prospective clients.
10. Review what the prospective client should bring to the meeting
Ask your prospective client to be prepared for the meeting. Let them know that you would like to accomplish as much as possible in the 1 hour that you can meet with them. Send them a list, via email, of what they should bring to the meeting. That might include sketches, plans, photos they have taken, and pictures they have cut out of magazines over the years. You are helping them be organized, which ultimately saves you time and energy.
11. Review the time, date, location
At the end of the call, review what you have told them, especially repeating the date, day, time and location.
12. Follow up with a review of the call in an email
Taking this step shows your professionalism and organization. You have set the tone that you are reliable, dependable, and courteous. The bond of trust begins to be established.
13. Prepare for the appointment
Now it’s time to visit them. Here are the steps you should take as you prepare for the visit.
14. Go over your notes
Take a second look at your notes and your Notebook in your project manager program. Refresh your mind with this information, and review the questions that you will ask them.
15. Go over the directions and location
Know how to get to their house. When you researched them on map view, record the directions to their home, and copy them into their Notebook with a link to the map.
16. Figure the time to leave so that you arrive precisely on time
How long will it take to get there? Allow for the traffic, etc. Don’t be late. Being punctual is crucial to your credibility. Being punctual shows them that you care.
17. Gather your notes, presentation book, tape measure, camera, writing material, etc. (your sales bag)
Make a kit or a bag to carry to every sales call. Items might include a legal pad, an iPad, your presentation book, a measuring tape, a digital measuring instrument, an angle finder (for roof slopes) (or use your angle finder on your smartphone), a digital camera (you can use your phone for this too ), a photo album (could be on the tablet), and flashlight. Always have business cards and a brochure, if you have one.
18. Spend a few minutes of quiet time before leaving for the meeting
It’s a good idea to separate yourself from all the tasks that you’ve been doing up to the time of the visit. Do this by stopping what you are doing for five or ten minutes, close your eyes and quietly visualize what you expect to happen at this meeting.
19. Arriving at their home
When you arrive at their home, park so that you don’t block anyone arriving or leaving. Survey the exterior of the house before you enter. Notice the siding, condition of the roof, windows, garage, entry, etc. Do the same as you enter the home, noting the trims, wall finishes, lighting, style of the home, and its general condition.
When you arrive and are introduced, speak your name very clearly, and repeat their names as they introduce themselves. Use the names they introduce themselves with, rather than a nickname, e.g., if he introduces himself as Michael, don’t call him Mike. Hand them both your business cards and brochures as soon as you meet them. This way they’ll have a graphical way to see your name, company and title. Hand one to each person present, showing respect for each individual.
21. Go over the previously mentioned objective and agenda for the meeting
No matter how well you explained your objective and agenda (verbally and in a follow-up email), don’t expect them to remember it. Reiterate exactly what you expect to accomplish, how long it will take, and the steps you expect to take to accomplish this goal. In other words, take control of the meeting. If you don’t, then you just handed them a carte blanche with your time.
22. Making the presentation
(In the Scientific Remodeling System lessons, you’ll see exceptions to this. In this process though, I am suggesting showing them the presentation book at the outset of the meeting.)
23. Show them the presentation book
Explain the contents and organization of the contents (the sequence). Stick to business and keep it short.
Leave the presentation book in a place they will feel free to peruse it as you look at the project, measure and take photographs. You may not have gone over every detail of the presentation book, so leave it on the table so they can refer to it as you measure or look at the project. Tell them they are free to look over it. This can have a number of benefits.
24. Allow them to show you the project
This is what they’ve been wanting to do all along. Listen carefully and gather questions to ask them later.
25. Return to the table or area where you were initially seated or talking
Ask them additional questions about the project. Give them some ideas of your own, showing your expertise. Start to formulate a rough price in your head. Modify this rough price with several factors such as – how difficult is the project? How well do you think you can work with the prospective client? How far away is the project from your office, etc.?
26. Reiterate exactly what the project involves
In other words, state exactly what they have asked you to estimate, design, and build for them. If they are nodding, you are on the right track. If not, make sure that you are defining the project correctly. Modify the description till you have their agreement. This is critical before taking the next step.
27. Give them a rough price and wait
Give them a rough price of the proposed project, letting them know in no uncertain terms, that this is a ROUGH price and there is still much to be selected and decided upon. Next ask them a simple question: do you want to proceed with an estimate (or design)? That’s it. Wait for an answer. Yes or no. If it’s “Maybe”, then ask them why. What is holding them back? How can you help them get over that hurdle? Do they have further questions? Is the rough estimate out of their budget? Find out the reason so you can respond to it.
Hopefully, you got the opportunity to quote or design the project
If so, you are over half way to getting the project, especially if you are charging for the estimate or design. Most people won’t invest in an estimate or design unless they feel pretty good about using you as their contractor.
Now you have a good example of how to write a process about how you expect your salespeople to conduct a sales call.
Feel free to use this one as your template and modify it to suit your particular needs. It can be the beginning of many more process recordings. Soon you’ll have an entire manual of processes (Standard Operating Procedures). Take note of the change in your business when you start to use processes to build your business. I think you’ll be impressed with the results.
Scientific Remodeling System is all about processes.
It is my hope that these examples will lead you to want to learn more about how the Scientific Remodeling System can help you create a business that runs on “cruise control”. There’s a reason its slogan is “Advance your business, Raise your profits, and Improve your life.”
It’s a small investment compared to what you are about to learn. One tip has the capability to pay for the course many times over. You owe it to yourself and your staff to become the best that you can be in your business, get paid what you’re worth, and have free time to enjoy your personal pursuits.
If you’d like to learn more about processes that can make your business hum like a well-oiled machine, click here to see a complete outline of the sessions, and more. I look forward to having you on board as we continue to learn together.
Wishing you the best of fortune, Randall
This article was written by Randall Soules, remodeling coach, adviser, educator, and creator of the Scientific Remodeling System, showing you better ways to advance your business, raise your profits, and improve your life, through the use of superior remodeling processes. If you would like to discover better ways to run your business, click here.