Is Sales a Skill?
Sometimes, I open up my training sessions by asking the consultant an important question: Who closes the sale, the consultant or the client?
It’s interesting that so many sales consultants answer that the client does.
The correct answer is that the Sales consultant closes the deal. Why you ask? Well, it’s really quite simple – the buyer makes the decision to buy from you based on the journey you took them down.
If you delve into what makes a top salesperson, I believe first and foremost that you need to recognise that sales is a skill. Closing the sale is not something that’s left to chance; there is a methodology behind being a successful sales consultant, and the moment you realise this is when things start to change. Adapt your methods and process according to what you are taught about sales and repeat to yourself “I have a skill and that skill is selling”.
Now let’s look at your team. When we hire an Estimator, do you hire a person with drafting experience to estimate? No, as the skill sets are completely different. When hiring a sales consultant, we need to see their credentials, just like hiring a Site Supervisor or a Bookkeeper. So, how do we see if the sales consultant is a skilled consultant when the skill is not recognised by a degree, diploma or a course of some sort?
In my experience, just because they have the gift of the gab or a great personality, or they’ve worked for numerous builders, does not mean they are a skilled consultant. If they answer the right questions correctly, however, then most likely you have a skilled consultant.
Examples of questions you should ask when hiring a new homes consultant:
- Walk me through your sales process, from when you engage with the client to getting the fee?
- Tell me who closes the sale, the client or the salesperson?
- From the first meeting to the 2nd meeting, how many days do you allow in-between?
Whether you’re the owner or a sales person, recognise that a sales is a skill and an art that is mastered over time, there is a method to our madness and we should know how to take a client through an enjoyable process of choosing a floorplan that suits their lifestyle.
The characteristics of a great salesperson include being customer centric but liking to be in control, great at having conversations (though our paperwork isn’t the best) and knowing the right time to sell.
How To Say No Without Saying No
As business owners or as a sales person, our default is to say YES to a client, so how do we say NO to a client if they request something that you know you cannot do or don’t want to do for whatever reason?
We often just say yes to everything and regret it later on. There are ways to say NO without even using the word, as saying no can get the client on the back foot.
You might be asking, why would we want to say no to a client? It could be because doing what they ask could get complicated in the long run, it could delay construction, or it might not be cost effective for the business. It could simply be that you do not do the thing they’ve asked for. You as an owner have every right to decide what you will and won’t do.
When a client comes to you and requires a change or wants to complete works on site themselves, how do we say no without making them think “they are not builder for me” and risk losing the sale?
I have a saying – if I’m going to say NO, I want the client to understand why. For instance;
Q: Can we adjust the kitchen island bench?
A: Let’s look at how doing that affects the rest of the room. You may lose the open space and benchspace. This is something we wouldn’t recommend as it comprises the open floor space.
Putting it this way, the client will say NO themselves but still be happy with the service you’ve provided.
If you explain and discuss your reasoning with the client, you can manage their expectations and they are more likely to walk away satisfied with the service you’ve provided, keeping your relationship intact.