By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman
I don’t know if it’s getting easier, but it sure is different from years ago. Twenty to 30 years ago, salesmen needed to make cold calls, and the only way to communicate was through land lines, faxes, letters and direct mail. The selling cycle certainly took longer back then!
Now, with the internet, cell phones, email and social media, much of the upfront work is already done for sales. YouTube videos, application data sheets and competitive comparisons are just a few of the resources available.
The key is not to try to sell something; instead, your main objective is to help solve a problem or issue. Here are a few key takeaways when selling to professional tradesmen:
– If possible, actually show you have a solution by demoing your product on an actual job site.
– Sell your value proposition on why using your product will be the reason to choose you over the competition.
– Give them names of other contractors who have similar problems/issues that you helped solve.
– Respect their time; show them your solution and ask when you should follow up.
Here are some tips:
- Deliver outstanding quality – from a great quality product to courteous customer service and user-friendly info – and then let them have the option on how they want to receive it.
- Understand what your customers want – don’t assume to know what they want – ask them.
- Connect with them – direct relationships are the most important and the most challenging. Always think WIIFT (What’s In It For Them). Be sincere and upfront with them. When communicating with them, don’t always be selling. Try to help solve a problem even though it might not, in the short term, result in a sale.
- Under promise and over deliver – exceed your customers’ expectations, then do it again.
- Don’t sit on your laurels – yes, you have real neat products, but instead of sitting there and just doing the same old, same old, innovate. If you don’t, someone else will.