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Marketing mastery: Commanding margins of 40% to 50% or more

Volume 28/Number 6; September 1/8, 2014

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

(Bonus seventh part)

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 11.30.25 AMIn the previous installment we covered the importance of having a sales closer system, and the four critical jobs this kind of system will do for you. In summary, a good sales closer system will give you total control of the sales process, quickly weed out price shoppers, create total differentiation from your competitors and cause prospects to switch from shopper to buyer while they are still in your store.

The vast majority of flooring salespeople have not been given a step-by-step sales process that walks prospects down a logical path from shopper to buyer. They haven’t been trained in a written process that can be learned and measured for results and in which they can be held accountable. As a result, most salespeople wing it, which leaves far too much to chance.

First, when a customer comes into your store, don’t use typical greetings like, “How may I help you?” or “What kind of flooring did you have in mind?” This puts the customer in charge of the sales process, creates no differentiation from your competitors and causes premature price discussions. Instead, say something like, “Welcome to Jimbo’s Floors!  Are you a new or returning customer? A new customer! Excellent! We have a special program for new customers. Can I take a minute to tell you about it?” Your “program” is your step-by-step sales closer system. Done correctly, 90% to 95% of walk-ins will say yes. This gives the salesperson instant control of the process and creates total differentiation.

Build value in the mind of the prospect for the sales process. For example, explain how there are thousands of flooring products and your process will help narrow it down to the best product for her unique situation and lifestyle.

Sit down with her and ask her questions about her lifestyle, level of traffic, the kind of flooring she currently owns, how she has maintained it, etc. Write down the answers.

If a prospect is unwilling to go through these steps, that’s a good indication she is a price shopper, and you may not want to invest a lot of time with her. Proceed with caution.

When the salesperson visits a customer’s home to measure, he should be trained to not only get measurements, but also to inspect the prospect’s vacuum, walk-off mats, cleaning methods, etc. He should also give written recommendations on floor maintenance. This creates total differentiation and further positions the salesperson as a trusted advisor.

Your entire process should be written out, including sales scripts for each stage of the process.

A word of warning: This kind of system has been proven to work. But occasionally a dealer will tell me that many of his walk-ins won’t go through the process. Invariably, upon further questioning, I find out the dealer is not using sales scripts, or in some other way is messing up the process. So if you get pushback from a high percentage of walk-ins, don’t assume they are all price shoppers. And don’t give up on this system—it works. Look at what you and your team may be doing to inadvertently sabotage your results.