When you’re looking to increase revenues and close business faster, there are a few things that can really stand in the way. Is this one familiar?
Customer: “How much will it cost?”
Contractor: ” Ummm…!! ” (eyes down and taking a deep breath)
Pricing is the one question that most new, and many experienced, contractors fear as they’re trying to sell to a new customer. It can make any one cringe. But selling shouldn’t feel wrong or “salesy.” Even if you, the professional or service contractor, are talking about yourself, it should feel like you’re talking about your customers.
Most service providers go the traditional deal-closing route. It’s easy to say, “Here is what you should do” and expect the customer to agree. But it’s getting harder to get the responses you want from a customer with that traditional approach.
Sales Isn’t Easy
According to HubSpot, 38% of salespeople say getting a response from prospects is getting harder. Your prospects or customers are flooded with sales messages every day, and with time, they’ve grown a thick skin to sales language. That means it’s hard to close deals simply by throwing offers at the customer or trying to get them to agree with the first pitch you provide.
Another stat says only 3% of buyers believe a salesperson. Shocking, right?
So, what should you do to close more deals and increase revenue for your business? The best way to go about selling is not selling. Sounds a bit off, doesn’t it? This tactic might not be very intuitive, but it can be as you change your perspective.
Selling should be all about the customer, not you or your company. How you set up the conversation, create an estimate, and present it can make or break your customer’s impression of you – which can result in either increased or decreased business.
What’s the Purpose of an Estimate?
The purpose of offering a quote or an estimate is to provide the customer with a reasonably accurate idea of the cost of the service that you can do for them. It’s a critical part of the business because it’s at that point that the prospect decides if your services are worth the expenditure or if they need to look elsewhere for a better value.
It takes time and thought for service contractors to come up with a cost estimate and present it to the customer, so you don’t want to waste your efforts by presenting estimates that won’t close a deal.
Here are 4 advanced techniques that will increase your chances to close more deals without coming off as a salesperson.
1. Build the “Like and Trust Factor”
It’s a fact that people don’t buy solely based on logic. Your customer’s buying decision can be hugely impacted by whether or not they like and trust you.
It’s true. Because we’re going with a “non-selling” approach, it’s important that you prove yourself to be credible and likable to your customer. If the customer can’t relate to you, or worse, finds you untrustworthy for some reason, they won’t hire you. Even if you have the expertise to complete the job, and reasonable pricing, they will resist closing the deal.
If, however, you’re friendly and honest about all that you are offering and give no surprises, your customer will have no reason not to hire you. In fact, according to Harvard Business Review, “a good salesman must have at least two basic qualities: empathy and ego drive.”
The ability to feel for the other person and an intense ego drive enables you to hone in on the needs of the customer while not being afraid to present your services as the solution.
2. Avoid the Question, “What Will it Cost?”
How can you avoid this most important question from your customer? You can be sure they’ll ask it in your first meeting or call.
You can avoid or walk around the question by starting a slightly different conversation with them. Money isn’t the only factor your customer is considering. They’ll also be considering the following:
- Will your service be a wise investment of their money?
- Can you deliver the right service?
- Can they trust you?
So, if your marketing strategy is simply bidding low, then you will be leaving more than half your revenue on the table.
Be strategic about your approach. Whenever your customer asks for an estimate, open a different dialogue, such as:
- When do you need the work done?
- Why do you need this done?
- Why can’t you get by with your present situation?
- What will be your final decision based on?
- What is most important for you, getting the job done quickly or proficiently?
Customers can’t answer these questions with a simple yes or no. They will open up to these questions, and you will have more information on your customer’s needs. Developing a good rapport can only help your business. In fact, it can increase your chance to close the deal quickly without having to low-bid the work.
3. Provide Pricing Options
It’s important to take care of your customers. One way to ensure that they feel that you’re meeting their needs is by giving them options.
If you provide enough space for your customer to make a decision, they’ll feel more comfortable in deciding. Nobody likes a pushy salesperson. You, thankfully, are not a salesperson. You’re a service provider. Your service should sell itself.
But you also shouldn’t offer too many options. Choosing between too many variables can be confusing for customers. If they feel overwhelmed with the amount of information you present, they’ll delay making a decision. Instead, present two or three options for service and two or three options for making payment.
You’e the expert. Scope out the situation that your prospect is facing, and help them determine what they would like to have done. Provide a few solutions for solving the problem, each of which differs in cost. Then, after they’ve told you which solution they feel the most comfortable with, you can present a couple of different payment plans to help them agree to the deal.
Giving your customers options will make them feel more in control. When they feel more in control, they won’t be preoccupied with the idea that you might be manipulating them, and they’ll trust you more easily. When they like at least one of the options you’ve provided, and trust you as a service provider, they won’t hesitate to hire you.
4. Make Promises (That You Can Deliver)
An offer can be powerful when it’s coupled with a promise.
A promise should not be something big and broad. You should provide your customers with promises, such as a quick turn-around, better products, higher quality materials, warranties, guarantees, or future follow-ups – something you can absolutely deliver.
A promise reassures the customer about their decision to hire you. When you keep your promises, you will be building your reputation.
You shouldn’t forget a customer as soon as they buy from you. The number one reason a person stops using a service is not poor quality. It’s poor customer service. After a prospect becomes a customer, your responsibility as a service contractor is to delight your customers with the attention you give them. Show them your appreciation for their business.
While you’re pitching your service, you can show your appreciation by offering discounts on a future visit (for example – “sign up today, and your next service visit is 20% off”). Doing so will entice them to hire you, call you back for more work, and refer their friends to you.
Nothing is more powerful than referrals in this business. Taking care of your customers can turn them into marketers who will promote your business for you.
Increase Revenues with Faster Sales
Employing these 4 advanced techniques will make you seem more credible and professional in your customer’s eyes. They will lead to you closing more deals and increasing your revenue by allowing the customer to choose their level of service, earning repeat business, and getting new referrals.