Tips on selling to customers face-to-face

By |  March 29, 2017

The Smoky Mountain Conference is a pest management school that the East Tennessee Pest Control Association hosts each year in January. While attending this year, I was asked by a colleague, “How do you get the buyer to sit down with you for a few minutes, so you can complete your sales pitch?”

It’s a great question. Years ago, it seemed to be no problem to ask your prospects to sit down at the kitchen table for a few minutes so you could show them your findings of pest damage or activity on their property. It was a natural part of the sales process, and most customers were willing to give you their time. Fast-forward to today’s world of hustle and bustle, however, and we are sometimes faced with the problem of not even getting the opportunity to sell.

It could be that the younger generations of buyers who purchase products online (at the spur of the moment) anytime of the day at their convenience simply don’t want to take the time. The “just give me the price” attitude of this time-starved generation presents a problem when we want them to give us a few minutes to go over our proposal.

With that in mind, here are two suggestions that might help.

1. Give them the head’s up.

Johnson Pest Control (Click image to enlarge.)

Photo: Johnson Pest Control
(Click image to enlarge.)

As soon as your customers invite you into their home to conduct your inspection, say you have an “upfront contract.” “Mr. and Mrs. Jones, today I will be inspecting your property to disclose any pest problems, but when I’m done with my inspection, I will need just a few minutes of your time to sit down and go over the findings. Will that be OK?” (You may prefer to end with “Is that fair?” instead). After they agree, this will open the door for you to actually sit down with them and sell.

2. Draw a graph.

If I only had one piece of paperwork to use as a sales tool, hands down it would be the graph. In my opinion, it is the most important part of the sales process (not including the sales close) of the entire interaction. When customers see the time you’ve invested in creating a clean, detailed graph regarding what you found at their home, it speaks volumes about how important they are to you. Remember, they are seeing the graph of their home, the largest investment they have. Your competition may have just left after doing a slick, five-minute verbal presentation and leaving only a price on the back of a business card. Little did that salesperson know, he would have had a better chance of earning the business if he had invested more time with the customer and drawn a graph. Your competition might not know how to ask customers for permission for the extra time to sit down and go over the findings of the inspection.

Before you can get customers to buy, they need to feel the problem. By using the “upfront contract” to get access to their time, and drawing a graph to highlight their problems, you will have a better chance at success.

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