Mike Detmer is the vice president of sales and marketing at Russound. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. This week I received a phone call that truly warmed my heart. It was from No. 2 Son who had some great news to share. After experiencing the strenuous trials and tribulations that most young professionals face, Tony called to share good news regarding his promotion to a department manager. “I’ve really gotten good at selling,” he boasted. “It’s like you’ve always told me,” Tony went on. “I’ve mastered the art of knowing when to talk and, most importantly, when to listen,” he expounded.
The conversation was going so well, I didn’t want to dwell on semantics. But the technique in selling that Tony referred to as art isn’t artistic at all. It’s purely scientific. So afterward I texted Tony a message that read, “Son, congratulations on your promotion. To elevate your selling to the next level, remember that while sales sometimes feels like an art, making sales is a science. To see how science can produce art, please download the documentary film Tim’s Vermeer.”
I know that many residential systems integration professionals feel like artists from time to time, but if you want to grow your business effectively, take a stab at practicing these three proven formulas to mastering sales.
1. Solve a Problem, Make a Sale
The most successful integrators I know solve problems for their clients. Transport yourself into your customers’ minds and search for their pain points. Frequently customers don’t fully understand what pains them. So having a little foresight can go a long way here. For instance, you know that hi res audio is growing in popularity. You can assume that many of your customers would love to have hi res in their systems. So start making hi res audio a line item in your bids. And how about e-mailing your prior clients with some news about hi res audio and setting up a 10-minute webinar to educate them. I can tell you that I’d pay a professional to solve my hi res audio file management problem if only someone would ask to.
To elevate your selling to the next level, remember that while sales sometimes feels like an art, making sales is a science. 2. Convince Them That You Provide Value
Even though you know what your job bids, products, and services are worth, your potential clients may not. They typically anchor a price in their mind, and it becomes their reference for value. If your bid has a Brand X 70-inch LCD TV at $3,500 and Walmart has a Brand Y for $1,900, then you should be proactive in pointing out the benefits of owning the more expensive set without being asked or run the risk of looking too expensive. In many cases, clients would prefer the added value and will pay for it when it is explained.
3. Make it Easy for Them to Decide
Sometimes residential systems integrators confuse their clients by trying to show the cheapest price. This forces the client to look at other bids to determine if they are getting a good deal. To help them decide, offer your clients several similar choices. The key here is make two of them similar and one different. Brand X Remote (with free programming), Brand Y/Model 1 Remote (with free programming), and Brand Y/Model 2 (no programming included). I’ll bet that a high percentage of your customers select Brand Y/Model 1 Remote (with free programming). This is because comparing Brands X & Y is difficult while comparing the same brand with and without programming is easy. Clients like easy.
There are an infinite number of methods for boosting sales performance. I hope that these will help drive yours. Should you wish to learn more, read a few chapters of Dan Ariely’s book Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, or feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.