A strong call to action can mean the difference between winning and losing the deal. And that’s just one part of a strong sales process. Take a look below for a story about one company who is serving more customers and closing more deals because they are getting their sales process right. And here’s a bonus: stay around til the end, and I’ll give you a quick summary of how you can do this too…plus, there’s some amazing dating advice you won’t want to miss right there in the middle.
A Lesson in Sales from a Home Inspector Who is Killing the Competition
This week I needed to hire a home inspector. I’m evaluating a home renovation project in the sticks of Northwest Georgia…hillbilly country…there are banjos. (Don’t make fun. My family lives there! We are the family that learned music on banjos and fiddles and spoons and jugs…but I digress.)
There aren’t that many companies that want to come out that far to take a look at the property. It’s old (early 1900s). It’s in disrepair. This is no summer cottage spruce-up. It’s off the beaten path. So, how do I find a vendor who is willing to take on this project but is also someone I can trust?
I decided to start my search online, of course. (Obviously, if it’s on the internet, it’s true. ?) I found some contractors who were willing to come to my location and had enough online reviews to seem credible-ish (authority by social proof).
I proceeded to request quotes from 4 different vendors.
I received 2 calls back the same day. (Responsive birds get the worm.) On the first call, the guy gave me a ballpark figure, and I told him I would be making a decision in the next 2 days. He said to give him a call once I had done my shopping. On the second call, Somers Home Inspection* gave me an exact quote, took my email address, sent me a proposal that day, and followed up the next day to see if I had any questions about the quote. Guess which vendor got my business? The one who gave me a clear call to action and an easy way to do business with them (just say yes to the quote). They even had an electronic signature method, so I literally just clicked a button to say yes. So easy!
Both vendors seemed perfectly capable after I spoke to them on the phone. Somers Home Inspection had more online reviews on the Home Advisor platform I was using to find a contractor. That did seem a little more credible to me upon first review. But on the phone is where they really sealed the deal. They asked questions about my project and why I wanted the inspection. Then they went into more detail about the background of their inspector and why he fit my specific needs. (Note: This is the exact method Chris Smith recommends in his book Conversion Code* when he talks about his Feature, Benefit, Tie Down Sales Method if you want to dig in to more examples or learn more about how to use this technique.)
Tying the Benefit to the Need
I’m looking to renovate, and the Somers Inspector did renovations for years before he became an inspector. They let me know my inspector would give me a full report, including information about prioritizing and budgeting for repairs/replacements for a renovation project. Now that felt like an amazing extra that I didn’t even request. But because this guy has that kind of expertise, he can give me some idea of what I’m looking at to do the job the right way.
And I don’t mind telling you, this is information I absolutely need. I’m overwhelmingly nervous to start this kind of project because I’ve never done one like it before. I’m incredibly afraid I’m going to make significant and costly mistakes. I’ve heard horror stories of bad contractors and budget overruns. I don’t want to be in those nightmare scenarios later. So, Somers Home Inspection is already allaying some of my biggest fears about jumping in to this project. Maybe they’ll even have some trusted vendor recommendations once I’m ready to get started. And because they took the time to highlight how their inspector was a great fit for my project, I already feel like I sort of trust these guys.
Losing the Deal
Somers Home Inspection is obviously getting their marketing and sales processes right. And I made a decision, just like I said, within 48 hours. Do you know the first company never called me back, never followed up, never asked me for my business? I probably would have chosen Somers anyway because they had directly tied their services to an outcome I was looking to achieve. But the other company didn’t even make me have a dilemma where I needed to think through which vendor might best fit my needs. They didn’t seem that interested in getting my business.
“It is much more valuable to you, and to the person you seek to serve, to challenge them [a prospect] to give you a no…a no is a gift. Because a no let’s you know that the person who just said no to you, it’s not for them, at least not right now.” – Seth Godin
Don’t be that vendor. Don’t lose out because you didn’t even try.
Are You Even that Interested in Me?
At least give your prospects a clear call to action where they can say no. Don Miller always parallels a clear call to action with asking someone out on a date, and he uses the following example. (Obviously I’m putting it in a personal perspective. Don doesn’t talk about a guy trying to date him.)
But thinking in terms of dating…if a guy looks at me and says, I like coffee. I might think, cool, I like coffee too, and then walk away. Nice guy. How would I know he wants to date me, is interested in me, or even wants to get to know me? He didn’t even ask me a question. But seriously, just ask me out already! I’ll probably say yes. I LIKE COFFEE! (That was your bonus dating tip from Don to me to you. ? You’re welcome.)
Are You Ready to Get Results?
The point is, if you don’t give your prospect a clear decision point, maybe they don’t think you’re that interested. But if you want to up your game and get results, I would follow a similar process to the home inspectors who won this deal.
- Benefit Personalization – Ask your prospect questions to find out WHY they need your services. Then communicate how you’re a perfect fit for their project/need. What makes you the authority that’s better than your competition?
- Break the Curve – This is a concept you can learn more about in Mike Michalowicz’s book The Pumpkin Plan.* What extra benefits does your prospect get from using you that no one else in your industry is mentioning? Don’t be average.
- Clear Call to Action – How can your prospect do business with you today? What one thing do you want them to do right now?
- Follow-up – Get to a yes or a no. What do you have to lose? Sleepless nights? More time spent on someone who doesn’t want your services anyway? Time wondering what someone really wants from you? Ain’t nobody got time for that.
So, if you’ve been floundering to close the deal, or even if your close rate has just been average, you could keep on doing what you’ve been doing. You could hesitate to ask for what you really want. You could make customers work harder to do business with you. Or you could even make them think that you’re not that sure about your services yourself.
But you don’t have to.
You can give your prospects a clear and simple call to action; and I guarantee you, you’ll start to see better results.
And THAT, is how you win the deal.