Sales guru Ron Marks, a partner with Southwestern Consulting, kicked off the 2015 Best of Success seminar by laying out concrete steps roofing contractors can take to shorten their sales cycle.
The first step is understanding the true cost of ‘eventually’ in the sales process — essentially what it means when sales cannot be closed quickly. Marks just returned from Australia, where he worked with a consortium of companies in the home improvement sector and said he watched the incidents of first-visit sales jump by 25 percent over a two-year period.
“Some of you are thinking there’s no way. You can’t sell on the first visit,” said Marks, an author and nationally-renowned speaker with more than 30 years in professional sales. “But a few simple things that when implemented can help create urgency, which moves the sales process up.”
Specifically, Marks said contractors should do the following:
- Set an appointment and be prepared for success by trying to get all of the decision makers present.
- Decide how to proceed if all decision makers can’t be present.
- Get the customer out of ‘quote’ mode, where all they want are the numbers on a hard copy.
- And start the closing process much sooner in the sales approach.
Another component is changing the customer’s expectation from just getting a quote, to actually doing business on that day. That can be done by properly evaluating their level of urgency. To do that, contractors have to raise their own commitment level.
“Commitment is the amount of pain you’ll handle before you quit,” he said. “We all have our threshold, But the more committed you are to the business, the more pain you’re willing to take to achieve your stated goals.”
A Different Way
Bo Duggan, Owner of America’s Best Remodeling in Milwaukee, is a fourth-generation builder who started his own business in 2010. After years of working for contractors and then major manufacturers, he developed a system for cultivating leads and maximizing time.
“I grew up selling. I got it, I understood it,” he said. Working with his wife, the couple started working nights, going to fairs, malls boat shows and other public places to gather leads.
“We went anywhere that a booth could go, because we knew that the lead coming back to us was a good person, and most likely someone we could sell to,” he said.
The opportunities grew, but didn’t flourish until a major storm hit mid-Wisconsin and they sold roofs for 1,200 to 1,400 houses in six months. He knew the storm market could be lucrative with his lead system in place and decided to sell jobs, build roofs and collect invoices for himself.
The keys to profits are selling upgrades and using software to accurately measure all aspects of his team’s daily work.
“You need to figure out where your leads are coming from, and the quality of that lead will let you sell at the highest margin,” he explained.
He holds employees accountable, measuring how many times they knocked on a door, how many people they contacted, how many damage inspections they performed and demos that they did in a computer database.
“There’s no secret. It does not exist. You just have to track your business,” he said.