The Sales Hallway: How to Earn Business from Homeowners, Part 1March 2, 2023
The sales process can be challenging, particularly when it comes to homeowners. When you’re selling to homeowners, it can be particularly difficult because they don’t necessarily want to be there in the first place, being “sold” on something. While you attempt to walk the homeowner through the sales process, delivering as much information about your company, the services offered, the reputation, and the products, homeowners are almost always thinking about pricing in the back of their minds. They often use the classic escape routes of saying they want to think about it, or look for cheaper prices, or have bids provided by three different contractors. In order to be successful in sales, it is important to proactively close off these escape routes as you walk down the sales hallway.
This is the time to become proactive. You should have very direct, honest conversations with homeowners and close off escape routes by discussing pricing, three bids, and the need to think about it, ensuring the homeowner agrees that these are not the most important things being discussed. When you get down to the end of the sales hallway, all escape routes are sealed off. If a homeowner changes their mind and says they want a cheaper price, you can use the three most powerful words in sales, which are “Earlier you said…” This reminds them of what they said earlier and how they agreed that price was not the most important consideration. By reminding them of their earlier statements, you can often get them to make a decision and earn their business.
Try To Make It Painless
The challenge is that people generally don’t like to buy new systems for their homes. They are reluctant to spend money and may have had bad experiences with other contractors in the past. As a result, they often try to leave the sales process early. While pricing, three bids, and “need to talk it over with the spouse” are three of the most common, believe me, there are dozens of ways prospects try to cut the presentation short.
The key to a successful sales process is to build trust with homeowners. People buy from people they like and trust. Trust is built over time and is at its peak at the end of the sales process. This is when you need to capitalize on the trust that has been built. If you can get them to make a decision while you are sitting there with them, the chances of them saying yes are much higher. If they decide to wait and get prices from several other people, and yours is not the lowest in town, your chances of closing the deal are slim to none.
The Price Is Right
Imagine this scenario at a kitchen table, where you’ve spent quality time selling the homeowner on you and your company. Here is one example of how to ask for the sale when you’re not the cheapest in town:
Me: So really the only question I have to get this point is very simple. Will you trust me with the project?
Homeowner: Well, Wally, I think we trust you, but it will cost a bit more than we were expecting.
Me: Yeah, this system’s definitely more.
Homeowner: And we had another guy in that I think basically offered the same thing and his was quite a bit cheaper; it was about $3,000 less.
Me: Really? Yeah. Well, you know, earlier you had mentioned that some of the reasons that contractors will cut corners on these installation components is to save time and money. You mentioned that your friend and your neighbor both had issues with a contractor who quoted the cheapest rates. Do you think there’s a possibility that those guys may cut some corners to save you some time and the money to get the price down? It’s possible, yeah. It’s hard to know exactly. Did he share the installation components with you, or did he specify how he was going to get the price down?
Homeowner: No, he didn’t share any of this stuff with us.
Me: You know, the thing is, is $3,000 over the life of a heating and air conditioning system really works out to $3 a week. Does my company, the way we do our installs, the way we run our company, does it seem like our company might be worth $3 more? That’s less than a cup of coffee per week.
Homeowner: We’re definitely more comfortable with your company, absolutely. I really hadn’t thought about it like that, but…
Me: Great! With your permission, I’d like to wrap up the paperwork and let you get back to enjoying your evening.
You don’t have to have the lowest prices to earn business, you need to be a salesperson and company that stands behind their quality work and delivers expectations. We will be back to discuss other objections found in the sales hallway and how escape routes can be closed for the benefit of you and the customer.