If you were to ask me to name the top two deal killers for residential salespeople I would immediately respond with one legger appointments and folks needing to think about it. These are the dynamic duo of disappointments. Often, the training and coaching received for these two situations occurs as a post mortem. In today’s article I want to provide some advice on these issues by dealing with them both, before heading to the appointment.

Residential salespeople will rarely get great results on lead sales calls where one of the decision makers will be absent. They are difficult to close either because the missing person really needs to be there or the absence becomes the excuse for not pulling the trigger.

Too often salespeople are assigned leads and rushed out of the office hoping to be the first one there. Why be first if you end up handing your estimate to a teenager who is home sick from school? Why spend over an hour completing an inspection and proposing, if only half of a married couple is there to listen to your findings?

Administrative (call center) personnel should screen leads and determine who the decision makers are. That information ought to result in scheduling the appointment when all the stakeholders can be there. If this is not happening in your shop, you must take the responsibility to make confirmation calls yourself, prior to going.

If our roles were reversed, I would want you to give me the following talking points for a confirmation call.

Avoiding Disappointment #1 “I am reaching out to you to confirm a couple things my dispatcher sent me. She said our appointment was on ___________ at _________am/pm at your home; correct?

I know when my spouse and I need to make big decisions about our home, we always look at the options together and make a joint decision. I’m guessing your family does the same? (Assume you hear ‘yes’). So then both of you will be there for my visit, right? (If no, continue with this).

I’m asking this because any recommendations and options I may make should be heard by all the decision-makers. So please help me pick a day/time when I can meet with all the deciders together, OK?”(WFA)

If this is impossible then leverage technology in order to bring the missing player(s) together. FaceTime or some similar video conferencing app will work well and help you avoid hearing, “I need to talk to ________and get back to you.”


Avoiding Disappointment #2. “Secondly, I’m wondering how many estimates you’re planning on getting before making your decision? (WFA)

How many do you have now? (WFA)

Is it OK with you if I be last in line to come to your home? (WFA)

(If they ask why) Well, my company provides the lowest total cost of ownership over the life of the system/service. This will be much easier for you to see if you listen to what the other companies have to say first. Heck, if I just wanted to sell you my system/service, wouldn’t I ask to be first?”

It’s been my experience that when salespeople position themselves this way that homeowners will be very curious. So much so, that they won’t buy from a competitor before hearing from Mr. Last in Line. This strategy will make the sale his to lose. It’s not a panacea but will reduce the number of times when “think about it” is heard.

In both cases, these are examples of handling objections PRIOR to them surfacing. By you bringing them up, they are taken away from your prospects, and are less likely to be used on you later.

I’ve always been a fan of the TV series, The Middle. I remember one episode where after returning home from a shopping trip where Frankie told the salesperson they would “think about it,” Brick asked his mom when they would be going back to get the item they had been looking at.

Frankie responded by saying, “Everybody knows when people say they are going to think about it, that they’re not going to think about it at all. Think about it always means ‘no.’” Keep this in mind.

————I Thought I Was Retiring————

I left the corporate world 8 years ago and signed up to receive my monthly ration of social security and pension funds. Since my bucket list included writing a book, I spent the next 18 months authoring and getting it published. Things blew up after that and today I conduct 30 online sales coaching sessions each month for blue collar companies. I doubt if you can convince me to conduct a new online session for your company, but I have developed an inexpensive regimen of DIY sales coaching you can conduct for your sales folks and technicians while I’m playing with my grandkids.


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