Taking the time, effort and energy to build a relationship with a prospective home modifications client is the way to close the sale, and it also helps to be absolutely prepared, which means bringing price lists and contracts that are ready to sign to the appointment.
“You allow for more time,” says Keith Stelzer, dealer sales manager for Best Bath Systems, who presented “Closing a Sale While Building a Relationship with a Modification Client” at June’s Heartland Conference. “It could be several hours or even half a day” for more complex projects.
And the conversation shouldn’t even be 50/50; it’s 80/20. They speak, you listen. “Make friends before you start or don’t start. Act professionally and talk friendly,” Stelzer notes. And never, ever talk about the client with others as though they are not present.
Needs can be classified into immediate and non-immediate. Simply put, it means what needs to be done right now, and what is long-term. “Sometimes, desires and wants outweigh needs,” he notes.
Ranking the areas of concern within the home from most to least important can help steer the conversation back on point. “You’re not the driver; you’re the navigator,” Stelzer says.
The client might tell you directly that they need a stair lift or a shower instead of a bath tub. “But there is still some digging to be done. Does the shower need to be roll-able? Is the client looking for a short- or long-term solution? How does their health affect timeline and resolution of the purchase?
“Inevitably, it is your job to ask the tough questions, and they may be personal or medical. That’s why you need the upfront relationship with your client,” he explains.
Stelzer believes in providing his clients with on-site immediate pricing. “It is my opinion that any item that can be priced and sold the same day should be,” he says. These items include:
- Grab bars
- Ramps – portable and modular or wood/composite
- Tub-to-shower conversions
- Stairlifts – straight and curved rail
- Vertical platform lifts – non-shaft-way mounted
- Overhead track systems (some exceptions may apply)
Provide several options, such as stud installation and non-stud installation prices for grab bars, but remember that too many choices can be confusing.
When closing the sale, ask for it, but in the right way, says Stelzer, a fan of Jeffrey Gitomer’s “Little Red Book of Selling.” An example would be “Mrs. Jones, if you decide against the solution I’ve presented, what are you thinking of as an alternative?”
“Focus on the status quo and what you have provided as a solution. If the buyer wants more time, ask ‘Have I provided you with all the information necessary for you to make an informed decision?’ If the answer is ‘no,’ then provide the additional information and close again: Is this something we can get on our schedule to complete for you. What timeline were you hoping to achieve?”
Stelzer believes in “setting your buyers free” by giving them the “but you are free” option at the close of the deal. Giving people the option to say no makes them more likely to say yes. It recognizes the buyer’s freedom to say no. Why it works:
- It gives buyers a greater sense of control
- They like you better
- They feel less pressured
- They don’t think you’re trying to manipulate them
- So they’re more agreeable.
A caveat: The request (“but you are free to say no”) must be made personally, not as part of a form letter or email.