Last week, our sales manager asked our team to read “The Lost Art of Closing: Winning the Ten Commitments That Drive Sales,” by Anthony Iannarino. Most of our team aren’t dyed-in-the-wool sales people. Our recently hired director of business development, Martha Moore, stated succinctly that we have “technical guys learning to sell.” With a few exceptions, she’s right. No matter how much we claim that our industry doesn’t need technical skills on the sales team, we find that our best salespeople understand the technology so well that they don’t feel the need to show off their knowledge by using jargon or nerd speak with clients.
I’m interested to see how our first “book club” session goes this Monday. I read most of the book this week and came away with a few key points, which should help us greatly improve our sales efforts.
One of the first points Iannarino hits home is that time is the most precious resource of all. Our clients know this and for the most part have figured out how to maximize their own time on this planet. For them, life is short, with too much to do and not enough time to do it. We cannot afford to waste our clients’ time. If we’re requesting their time, are we making the best use of it? Is there a more efficient way to spend time with our clients?
Here are a few my ideas for cheating time out of my day:
1) I’ve been using FaceTime to walk jobs with installers—Three hours saved each time.
2) I listen to books while driving, and it’s amazing how much better the content sinks in.
3) I pick up the phone after two emails with someone. Phone calls save five emails on average.
Iannarino coaches the reader to promise value in exchange for time. After all, if we’re asking for a meeting, why would our client agree to it unless there’s value to be gained? As a salesperson meeting with clients regularly, try proactively considering the value that you’re delivering in exchange for the time spent. Your relationship with clients is pegged directly to the value they perceive from time spent with you.
One of Iannarino’s proposed client value builders sunk in with me. He suggests putting together a list of the five key trends that will soon impact our clients. What a great idea! I don’t know about you, but we don’t have a document like that. In the spirit of not wasting time, here are my five:
1) Voice Control - Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past four years, Voice User Interfaces (VUIs) like Google Home and Amazon Alexa are expanding rapidly and improving every day. Consider partnering with a home technology professional who can act as a concierge to help sort through the hundreds of shiny objects claiming to be compatible with VUIs. Simplicity is the hardest result to deliver and while choice is a good thing, it’s tough going it alone in a world where there are too many options to make an uninformed decision.
2) Artificial Intelligence - Most of your technology today jumps when you say jump. Soon, your Apple Watch will determine when you’re likely to jump and tee up a bevy of activities to catch you on the way down. Machine learning and AI will make our home technology solutions much more helpful and friendly, but only if you’ve chosen the right solutions. Home technology professionals stay abreast of the latest technological developments and can keep you out of the ditch when considering large system purchases.
3) Remote Support - When your system breaks today, maybe you call your integrator after hours and they’re closed. Consider a provider offering 24/7 remote support and the ability to proactively repair your technology. (full disclosure, I’m one of Parasol’s co-founders, but the comment stands. It’s just common sense!)
4) Video Analytics - Imagine a world where cameras can identify friend from foe or use facial recognition to allow access or alert authorities. Your home technology professional can walk through your daily routines and determine how video analytics may benefit your family.
5) Appliance Intelligence - We’re heading fast toward a world where our HVAC appliances will phone home and schedule their own service calls or your refrigerator will understand when more milk is needed. While we’ve heard these promises for 20 years, we’re closer than ever to truly intelligent home appliances. Home technology professionals can guide you through making good selections like participating in Alarm.com’s new program with thermostats centered around identifying failing HVAC gear.
Do you spend time wisely? Do you trade value for your client’s time? If not, why not?
Stay frosty and see you in the field.