Written by: Ari Greenbaum, Co-founder of conXpros
Before launching conXpros, I was an executive with a larger home improvement lead generation company. Often, I would use the service to find contractors for different projects/needs around my own home. In addition to meeting my own needs, I would gain a firsthand glimpse at the selling processes and approach of our clients as they contacted me and tried to secure my business. The information I gained was invaluable and many aspects of the what to do and not to do are shared with our clients here at conXpros through the blog or individual account managers directly. The following real-life experience will help you to better understand a critical error made by many in home sales “pros” and stop costing your company the profits you deserve.
I had just moved to a new home just outside the perimeter of the Metro Atlanta area. I did not have too many needs for home improvements but I was faced with the challenge of finding a new pest control company for regular service. My plan was to hire one of the guys on our service (it was a shared lead model) and most likely the first one to contact me as a reward their following the advice we gave all customers, call your leads immediately for the best chance to generate a new client. Monthly pest control service and summer mosquito service does not vary much in price, so I knew that I would not be hurting myself with this predetermined approach. I hit submit and less than a minute later my phone was ringing from one of the 4 companies that had received my request. I set the appointment for the following day.
Upon arrival, the sales person was enthusiastic and very professional. He asked me some questions about my needs and I answered them, allowing for an accurate quote for the services, but then made a critical error. After perfectly leading me towards the point in the call in which he would ask for my business, he stated a price. Then without hesitation (or even a breath) he continued to talk. There was no time to accept or reject his offer before he began to talk about the ways he can lower my monthly service cost as well as the mosquito treatment I inquired about. I am sure it all seemed very helpful in his mind, that he was going above and beyond to provide me a great service and convince me to hire his company, but in reality, he was leaving money on the table.
As I previously stated, I was ready to do business and only wanted to make sure that the price was within my expected range for the services needed and they were a professional company I could trust at my home. He explained that as a result of him “already having customers in the area, he could add me to the route a $10 per treatment reduction”, as well as “if I am getting the monthly pest control service, could reduce the mosquito treatment by $7 per month”. By the time he was done talking and I could finally say “yes”, he had cost his company $17 per month!! Had he just let me answer after first presenting a closing statement, his company would have made an additional $162 each year (12 months of $10 less for the regular service and 6 months of $7 less for the mosquito treatment). There was no “complaint” from my end as the buyer, only a smile after I received $162 for doing nothing!
I agree, $162 is not a huge amount of money and on its own will not make much of an impact on the balance sheet for most companies. However, I am sure that it is safe to say that this same approach is used for many if not all of the new customer contracts this rep acquires. Take that number of $162 and multiply it by 10 customers or 100 customers and the $162 begins to grow exponentially. If you were to discount your already fair priced service or product by an average of 15%, how much money would you be leaving on the table? I was ready to buy, but what about all of the potential customers that were turned off by this approach or the lack of confidence to state a price and wait for an answer? It is simple mathematics to calculate the impact 15% has on a bottom line, but to calculate this type of loss is impossible. If actually studied and tracked, I am confident in stating that the penalty for such actions is the difference between massive success and being average. I do not want to come off extreme and am fully aware that discounting is a real tactic and tool which if utilized correctly can generate more closed deals, but in this example, clearly was not used as a tool to generate income. Rather, like the chemicals they spray to keep bugs away, it kept me away from paying the initially quoted price I was ready to agree to. The over talking and talking through the close has a real & tangible cost.
The moral of the story and key takeaway is that you must be conscious and accountable for yourself (or your sales team as a manager). There are many aspects of the selling process which require attention and improvement, but one that has a clear and measurable impact on the bottom line is over talking. Over talking has many other negative impacts on your ability to effectively close sales, some which are obvious like boring the customer to tears, sounding non-confident, etc. The less common awareness of over talking is the creation of problems or issues that did not exist before the rambling started and bringing thee to the consciousness of the prospective buyer. In the example in this article, the only problem was money left on the table, but in most cases, it is much more detrimental, as the majority of customers are not predetermined to purchase from you like I was.
Fortunately for myself, they do a great job and are always here on schedule. I have received excellent customer service throughout our contract and am having no problem enjoying the two “free” rounds of golf each they continue to give me each year as a result of over talking.
Remember, it is your company, your profits, and your responsibility to coach your team to represent you the way you deserve. Small actions to improve this costly aspect of the selling process has the potential to pay great rewards! Leaving money on the table is a good idea as a tip at the end of a meal, but a terrible idea for the bottom line of your business.