Going into the customer’s home, making small talk, asking several insignificant questions, performing a good inspection, then explaining the quote to the customer. Sound familiar? You may be thinking that I just stole your sales process, right? I just gave you 80 percent of the market’s sales process, which leaves too many contractors wondering why their company’s closing ratio is suffering.

Twelve years ago, new to home improvement and knowing nothing more than how to manage a team of company representatives, it was instilled in me to train, train and train again until the representative had no excuse for not selling. From where to park their car, how to walk up to the house, what to say when the door opened, how to get the customer to the kitchen table, the masterful inspection process, transitioning to the presentation, giving an engaging presentation, giving a believable pre-close, talking the customer through the price presentation, and finally closing the job. 

Every sales trainer will agree that every step of the sale is most important. Take something away and the whole structure of the sales process will crumble. Agreeing with that, I will also tell you that there are a few steps of every sale that can make you stand out above all competitors in your market. Taking the time to do a masterful inspection will undoubtedly make prospective customers feel like you’re more thorough and knowledgeable than anyone else that has come to their home. 

When we talk about the “game changer” of every sales process, it’s not enough to simply talk about how to show prospects your company’s product presentation. Giving an engaging presentation is done through eight key principles:

Transition into a presentation.

When is the best time to start your presentation? You should be working the presentation into the conversation you’re already having and at the same time building a certain level of rapport. The easiest way to kill what you have built with the customer is to abruptly drop a presentation in front of them. A question as easy as, “How much do you know about our company?” can give you the permission you need to start your presentation.

Explain why we give a presentation.

When you explain to a prospect that “If we don’t tell you what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it…we don’t have to do it!” this puts all your competitors in a box of discredited contractors they no longer want to do business with for all the reasons you’re going to give them throughout your presentation.

The table of contents.

Similar to narrating what’s going to happen during the appointment when you first arrived, the representative should explain what the presentation is going to cover. Being low-key can make this flow easily and bring credibility: “Whether you decide to use (our company) or anyone else, there are questions you need to ask before making your decision. Does the company specialize in the work being done? How are they going to fasten the product to my roof? What products are they going to use to protect my home and family? What type of guarantee do they offer to ensure I’m covered if anything were to happen after install? Who’s going to inspect the job to make sure it was done correctly?”

Company story.

Your company’s story is important, but not as important as many make it out to be. I’ve heard company stories that sound like a documentary. This should be less than one minute. Talk about how long you’ve been in business and maybe a funny story. If you haven’t been in business very long, use the combined years worked in the industry, calling it combined experience.

Industry facts.

When you watch a movie, they always bring out the villain before the hero comes to save the day. This is how you want to approach your presentation. Educate the homeowner on how the industry works and why the system is broken. Remember, your customer thinks you are all the same. Taking the time to show why you stand out above the rest instills trust and credibility.

Educate about what makes you different.

When telling a story, you need to bring the villain out first. Talking about the “industry standard,” show the customer the troubles and pitfalls of your trade to frame how this project can end if they decide to go with other contractors. When working with clients, suggested scripts are given so that the reps get their point across without talking about certain competitors. Once you have discussed the industry standard, it’s time to bring in “The Hero.” Here is where you discuss how your company has modernized the remodeling model. Differentiating your company from the rest of the industry is what the prospect remembers after you closed the presentation.

If you’re in an industry or market where most competitors use subcontractors and you hire everyone or have exclusive contracts with the talent working for you, this is a great time to briefly mention that you own the entire process. Briefly cover how you own the process. Examples: distribution, customer care, design consultant, project manager, installation, inspection, warranty and service department.

Product education.

Again, we talk about the products that the rest of the industry uses. If possible, demo the product in front of the prospect so they can see and touch the difference along with an education slide explaining the product in the presentation. Example: If you use a special sealant that has a lifetime warranty and stretches up to 300x without leaking, have a piece with you and stretch it in front of the prospect. Before showing that, give them a piece of cracked cheap sealant to break so they know there is a reason to be concerned about what type of sealant is covering those important leak points. The more products you use that may be different than your competition, chances of closing the deal that night increase quickly.

Is it required to have different special components to win the sale with higher pricing? No! Even though it’s easier, you can have the same system as everyone in your market and still increase both pricing and closing rate. Training your sales professionals to do a proper inspection, presentation and demo will set you apart from the competitors in your market. I encourage you to have other companies out to give you or a friend a presentation. Most companies will do very little to earn the business. You’ll find that they give the prospect a short inspection, some quick explanation of what they’re going to do and leave them with a really nice proposal they don’t understand. Companies like this are called “farmers,” planting seeds for me to come and harvest.

Guarantee peace of mind.

Again, bring out the villain by explaining how the industry works. Help the customer understand how a typical shingle manufacturer’s warranty pays out and why they only cover the shingles and a guy or gal to pound down the nails. Make them feel more comfortable with you and your company by explaining how your company protects them and their family from future issues even if something were to happen. In the instance that your customer says, “What can happen?” have them Google “shingle failures.” Not to make this a fear tactic but to show them the need for protection and professional installation is real.

Many of my clients offer several types of guarantees to set themselves apart from the companies that simply tailgate or hide behind the manufacturer’s warranties. When offering a labor warranty, you don’t need a very long time period if you mix it with a workmanship warranty that offers longevity stretching up to a lifetime.