Selling yourself to customers

Selling yourself to customers

Benjamin Dyer, CEO and co-founder of Powered Now, considers the key points of maximising your opportunities with potential customers.

Leads are like gold dust, and that’s why it’s vital to make sure that you grab every one to ensure you stay busy and grow your business.

Put yourself in the customer’s shoes
The single most important thing is to understand how your potential customer views things. This is called empathy and, if you don’t have it naturally, you need to work at it. Doing that will help to build trust, which is the single most important thing needed to sell successfully.

Say what you mean and mean what you say
When it comes to business, nobody likes a surprise and nobody likes to be let down – so make sure you guide your customer in their expectations about everything, including when you will visit, when you might produce a price and when you might start the job. Gas engineer John McLouglin puts it like this: “Don’t break a promise. One way is to not to make promises in the first place.”

It’s good to remember that every definite statement you make to the customer will be seen as a promise. For instance, the recent Powered Now survey of homeowners (Declaration: I work for this company) revealed that 85% of homeowners don’t want to do business with tradesmen who arrive late.

Good first impressions
Even the first telephone contact sets the odds of your likelihood of sales success. You have to be professional but sometimes it won’t be convenient to take a call. So explain and ask when it would be okay to call back, then stick to the commitment. Often the customer may not be so diligent and may not answer the call at the chosen hour. However, by leaving a pleasant voicemail you can build some trust and they will then feel obligated to you.

Always make notes on that first call; nothing is more irritating than for the prospect to have to repeat what they have already explained when you turn up to quote. I’ve bought from many tradesmen over the years and if a company makes a bad first impression and fails to establish credibility, they are already onto a loser.

Maximise credibility
Membership of trade associations and the right qualifications all help with credibility, so make sure your prospects know about them.

Adam Taylor is my company’s online marketing manager. He had done some DIY on his plumbing and the water wouldn’t come back on. He found a plumber via Google and he turned up within an hour. His professionalism won Adam over immediately, from arriving quickly as promised to taking off his shoes at the door, turning up in a clean van and handling Adam with respect, despite his mistakes.

Selling yourself on site
Obviously when you are face-to-face with the prospect, it’s a great opportunity. One technique is to show before and after pictures of similar work done previously – the homeowner can see how neat and tidy the job was. It all helps.

Try to get the prospect’s price expectations into the right ball park. Ask them how much they think the job will cost. If there’s no chance of meeting the price then give them that feedback. No-one likes surprises, as I said before.

Always replay the requirements to the customer before you leave. This makes sure that you understood them properly and shows that you have been listening. This too builds trust.

The close
There is a lot of rubbish talked about closing business, as though there is a secret method. That’s just not true. If your customer trusts you, it doesn’t take much for them to commit to the sale. So you can ask the customer for the business, but do it in a natural way that isn’t forced. Maybe “Would you like me to book in the work?” or “When would it work for you to start?” You get the idea.

All business is about selling but selling is about trust and that’s about how you conduct yourself both pre- and post-sale. Recommendations provide the easiest sales and they come from doing a great job. That’s the biggest key to growing your business.

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