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Customers Buy You...

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A mentor of mine said to me in 1992, “Mark, your prospects and customers buy YOU. So go to work on your knowledge, attitude, skills and habits.”

When someone we trust and believe, say a technician that comes into our home or business, says to me, “What I would do is…,” or, “If it were me, I would…,” I really listen. Hey, that’s what I said to my residential customers when I was a chimney sweep in my early-twenties. It’s what I said to building owners when I was an HVAC technician in my late-twenties. I spoke in the first person, honestly, authentically and sincerely. What followed was why my close ratio was over 75%: detachment.

Detachment sounds like this: “But hey, it’s your house (or building), you do what you think is best. I gotta go!” Detachment is an honest indifference. There is no quiet desperation or smarmy manipulation. It’s simply your opinion. It’s the Art of Influence and Enrollment. It’s what you would tell your mother. Hey, who would give a raw deal to their mother? No one I know.

If you think about it, no one likes to be sold. We like to buy. It has to be our decision. Give me the information, raise my awareness with tact and compassion, offer a few choices, and then shrug your shoulders as if you didn’t care which option I chose. I especially like, “Talk it over with your wife …,” or, “Give some thought to what makes sense to you. … I’ll be back in touch.” Then smile, leave and get back to them in a couple of days. That’s what I like.

Professional persistence is following up when you say you will, via text, email or voicemail (or all three) with that same detachment in your voice. Remind me but don’t stalk me. You are not Ben Stiller, she is not Cameron Diaz in “There’s Something About Mary,” so be a pro. Listen to the nuances in their voice and read their body language. What is the subtle subtext, the unspoken implication?

Sales is simple. TRUST, RELATIONSHIPS, COMPETENCE, TIMING and FOLLOW UP. Build the TRUST by asking open-ended questions and actively listening; Form the RELATIONSHIP by being considerate and flexible; Do your job by fixing it right the first time thereby demonstrating COMPETENCE; When it’s time to ask for the sale it’s a TIMING issue, and by all means FOLLOW UP by being assertive and asking for the sale. Unassertive selling technicians have skinny kids. Five simple steps.

Earl Nightingale once wrote, “If integrity didn’t exist, someone would most certainly invent it as the fastest way to become rich.” He was right.

Remember, customers buy you. Now I need to call my mother…