The #1 thing that holds builders back from making more sales is confidence…
No one likes to be rejected, which is why most business owners and sales people accept the first objection that comes out of a prospect's mouth and run with it.
“Let me think about it…”
“It’s over my budget…”
“I don’t have time…”
At the first hint of an objection the salesperson caves in because they don’t want to appear pushy, so they back off as soon as a prospect says, “I’ll be in touch.”
The problem is, although those opportunities do close eventually, they don’t close with you. They end up buying from your competition instead.
Was it your offer? Your company? Or maybe it was you they didn’t like.
Most likely it was a combination of all three but unless you master the art of objection handling you will never know because you will never get to the truth.
However, there is a way to reduce the number of prospects that raise objections when you ask for the sale and in some cases eliminate all the objections and hit a home run the first time you ask. And that is by using a technique called the certainty scale.
The certainty scale is measurement that helps to identify the gap that needs to be bridged in order for you to transform a prospect into a client.
There are components that make up the certainty scale, your product, your company and you. And for each of those components your goal is to get your prospect to a 10 in order to significantly increase your chances of closing a sale the first time you ask.
Do they love your product or service?
The first question you must ask yourself before you ask for the sale is, on a scale of one to 10, how much do they love what I am offering?
Have they shown a true desire for what I am selling?
Do they NEED it?
Can they afford it?
All basic qualifying questions which every good salesperson would have covered off very early in the sales process.
The importance of this part of the process was highlighted at the end of the film ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ where Jordan Belfort is seen rebuilding his career by challenging a classroom of salespeople in New Zealand to, “Sell me this pen.”
After numerous attempts to push the features and benefits of the pen being passed around the room the camera pans out without revealing the answer…
What everyone in the room failed to do was establish if the prospect either needed or wanted a pen. Spending your time talking to people who have no intention of building is a complete waste of time, which is why the qualifying and discovery questions are a critical part of the sales process and should always be completed before you ask for the sale!
So before you ever ask a prospect for the sale, think about where your prospect would be on the certainty scale for your product.
If it’s a 10 then you need to be thinking about the other two components, the company and you.
Do they love your company?
A prospect that has entered your sales funnel by being referred by a past client will start off a lot higher on the certainty scale in terms of your company compared to a cold lead who responded to an advert on Facebook.
However, you still need to be working towards moving them to a 10 on the certainty scale as part of your sales process. Which means demonstrating trust, authority and expertise.
Trust can be built by sharing stories of previous clients that have a similar profile to your prospect. This can be done verbally, in written format and by using video case studies.
Although it can be hard to justify the cost of producing marketing assets that do not have a measurable return on investment (ROI), never underestimate the power of creating this content and continually updating it.
Authority can come in the form of borrowed and earned.
Borrowed authority can easily be achieved simply by associating your building company with respected associations and suppliers such as the National Association of Home Builders or the Association of Professional Builders.
Earned authority is a little harder to achieve as that comes from an ongoing content marketing strategy. Content marketing is the process of providing the marketplace with useful information that assists prospects with their research during the buying process.
Creating a content marketing strategy is similar to getting an oil tanker moving. It takes a lot of work upfront to get momentum, but once started, it becomes easier to maintain the pace.
And by providing the information that your target audience is looking for, your company will be perceived as a subject matter expert and an industry expert.
Companies that have a great product and a content marketing strategy make sales peoples’ jobs a lot easier, however, the job is still not done…
Do they love you?
Even if a prospect loves a company and needs what they are offering, they will still go with a competitor if they do not like the salesperson.
This can be the most challenging component on the certainty scale because no one wants to admit that maybe it’s because of them that they did not get the sale.
Surely it was the marketing, or the price, or maybe the prospect just wasn’t a good fit after all.
However, the prospect still went ahead and built with another company, so there had to be a reason they didn’t choose you.
You can’t win a sale on personality alone, however you can lose it which means it's important for every prospect to get to know, like and trust you.
Getting to know people is all about building rapport. Explore commonalities and build on those. As a species, we like people that are like us, so when you find something in common, explore that line of conversation.
However, never lie about an interest in order to build a connection with a prospect. Prospects smell that a mile off and all you end up doing is undermining your ability to build trust with them.
We’ve all experienced this in the past with someone. We talk about our passion for sport, or travel, or food and the person we are speaking to jumps right in claiming to love the exact same thing...Only when we’re excited, we go deeper into our topic and their eyes glaze over when they realise they have no idea what we are talking about.
So if you are struggling to find a commonality, simply display a genuine interest in what they are talking about rather than attempting to sweet talk your way into their inner circle.
In most cases, after building rapport with a prospect they will begin to start trusting and liking you however, there will be some instances where you just don’t click.
This could be because they have a very high action threshold at which point you have to make a calculation based on time versus reward as to whether this prospect is worth pursuing.
Or, it could simply be that at a subconscious level you remind them of someone from their past and a negative previous experience which they don’t even realise is affecting their judgement.
Those situations are rare but you have to be aware of them as they may lead to a lot of time being wasted pursuing a sale that is simply not going to happen.
Sometimes the coldness can be overcome, it's just a matter of time. In more extreme cases the best solution may be to pass them onto a colleague who will bring them up to a 10 on the certainty scale without doing anything different to you, it's just the way it is.
Where are they on the certainty scale?
So, before asking for the sale, ask yourself, where is this prospect on the certainty scale? Where is the gap?
If you’re not sure, ask them another question and dig deeper into their answer. “So tell me John, how did you hear about Hamilton Custom Homes?” Their answer will reveal to you how much research they have done and if they were referred by a previous client.
When you feel you are at 27-30 on the certainty scale, ask for the sale with confidence! Because as a professional salesperson you know you’ve done your job and this is the next logical step for your prospect.
And if they respond with a knee-jerk objection which, if it’s the first objection, will have nothing to do with why they are not saying yes. Ignore it and instead focus on bridging the gap for one or more components of the certainty scale.
So that is how to sell with confidence even if you are not a ‘natural’ salesperson.
The ability to close a sale is the most important skill to be constantly working on for residential home builders which means ‘always be learning.’
If you’d like to discover some more tips for mastering the new sales process for a residential building company, check out our latest book, Professional Builders Secrets.
Inside you’ll discover how to generate more quality leads and convert more of those leads into sales at higher margins while improving the client experience.
Click on the special link below to receive your free copy.