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Michael Stone on Sales: Are You There to Help?

When you go on a sales call, what’s your focus? Are you there to see how big the job is so you can estimate how much money you’ll make on the job? Or is it your goal to provide a service and help this potential client get the remodel or new home or specialty work they want done?

I’ve long been a fan of Zig Ziglar and went to many of his live events over the years. He was a top motivational speaker and sales trainer. One of his sayings that I’ve carried with me is “You can get everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

I’ll argue that your clients can tell where your interest is. They know if you want to help them or if you’re out to make a quick buck.

In our book, Profitable Sales, A Contractor’s Guide, I state that your clients have their radio station tuned into WIIFM. What’s In It For Me. It’s easy for the salesperson to also be focused on what’s in it for them. In my opinion, while on a sales call, you need to put those thoughts in your pocket and focus on the client.

Start by reviewing the procedure for your sales calls. You should have that process firmly placed in your mind. The four basic questions that we talk about in the book clearly define the information that you need to help your clients define their project, and to help you know how to help them.

  • What do you want to do?
  • When do you want to do it?
  • Who is going to make the buying decision?
  • What do you want to invest in the project?

If you continually hear pushback from clients who don’t want to answer or don’t think this is important information, you need to revise, revamp and/or overhaul your presentation because something is coming across wrong. When you hear . . .

“We aren’t sure what we want . . .”

“We don’t have a start date in mind . . .”

“We don’t know what the job will cost . . .”

“We’re just getting bids right now . . .”

“We want to think about this . . .”

“Your price is too high . . .”

“You need to sharpen your pencil . . .”

“Just email your quote . . .”

… you know you have work to do, because those statements are a sure clue that your presentation has flaws and you haven’t gained their trust.

When you leave a sales call, write down as much of the conversation as you can remember. Keep good notes, and be honest, writing fairly what you said and how they responded.

It’s important to be honest because over time you’ll start seeing patterns. That’s when you’ll begin to see things that you need to adjust or change. Compile your notes into what I call an objections book; we talk about keeping an objections book in our book, Profitable Sales, A Contractor’s Guide.

Your potential clients want and need help; that’s why they called you, so help them. When you help enough other people get what they want, you both win.


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