A salesman (we’ll call him Ted for this article) rang my doorbell one evening not too long ago. Over the next few weeks he employed several selling skills that we’ll review in this article — a few of them are ideas you can use to help you grow your business.

When I came to the door he introduced himself, stepped back a few steps and said, “You need a new roof on your home and I am here to help you get it.” Obviously he got my attention, but I thought, “Here is another high-pressure pitch artist in the home-improvement business.”

I stood inside while he reminded me of a hail storm that had passed through our area a few weeks earlier. I remembered it because it cost me four hours stuck in an airport waiting for a delayed flight.

He introduced himself and his company, opened his presentation manual and showed me several references. The first individual named was a well-known local businessman and the pictures were of nearby businesses and homes.

He then produced his company’s credentials such as insurance certificates, bond and licenses.

His opening statement, third-party endorsement and pictures of nearby buildings reinforced my attention and earned some trust.

By now I had stepped outside and he pointed to our roof as well as our siding and window casings. He had obviously done his homework before ringing our doorbell.

With my permission he and an associate were up on my roof after a few minutes making a closer inspection and taking pictures with a digital camera.

Back on the ground he again reinforced our need for a new roof, pointing out areas of damage that I could see and showing me the pictures he had just taken with his digital camera. I had no idea this damage existed — he had established the need.

He then told me that I should call my insurance company, explain the situation and ask that an insurance adjuster come out and inspect our home. Once I had arranged that, he asked me to call him and he would be there at the same time as the adjuster to be sure that the adjuster was fully aware of our need. (He now became our consultant.)

He gave me a plan of action for fulfilling my need and assured me that any work that would be done would be covered by insurance, erasing any chance for price objection.

I did all of what he asked me to do and at this writing we have a new roof and a check to cover painting our home and replacing some of the window casings. At the same time, Ted lined up more than 15 roof jobs in our neighborhood using each of us as a reference to the neighbors. Our home has a cedar shake roof as do 28 other homes in our neighborhood.

Ted’s income from this work was significant and the service to his clients was outstanding — a big time win-win situation.

Let’s review the selling skills at play in this sales process:

First, ambition and a desire to succeed. He first called on me at 7 p.m., met our insurance adjuster on a Saturday morning and was available on cell phone during the construction. Next, the desire to succeed. He was the only sales rep who called on us. Where were his competitors? The next selling skill was alertness. Alertness to the fact that hail had done a lot of damage to the buildings in our neighborhood, particularly to the cedar shake roofs. He used an attention-getting opening statement that I am sure was well thought-out and rehearsed. He then immediately started to build some trust. He had established a need (which I was not aware of) and started to build his case to fulfill our need. Next he did a demonstration, on the roof and in pictures. He showed the need. He then stepped into the role of a consultant by suggesting a method of action, which was also part of his closing process.

Persistence. Ted did call and stopped by several times during the process, working with our insurance company and waiting for the adjuster. This continued to build trust and a relationship with me, the client.

He did follow up on his commitments to us, was on time for any meeting with us and our insurance adjuster and asked for the order. (He used the assumptive closing technique extremely well.)

The last step in the sales process is follow up, and I am sorry to say this is where Ted fell down. After our roof was completed there were a few minor details that needed to be handled. I eventually had to call Ted’s boss to get these things settled. I am hard-pressed to recommend Ted and his company to anyone else asking for a reference. This was an unfortunate end to a good relationship.

All of these selling skills that we have discussed can be used in the sale of any product you sell. It just takes a little imagination to fit these into your selling circumstances.

To share your selling ideas, fax: (414) 228-1134, contact Mr. Dixon at (877) 379-3566.
E-mail questions or comments regarding this article.

Additional Resources
Increasing Sales: Every Piece helps Solve the Puzzle
Move Over, Mister: The Power of Women in Sales

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