As Tradies and business owners, making sales for your trades maintenance business is always on at the front of your mind. I often receive questions like “Adrian, what can I do to increase my sales?” or “How can I make a big profit?” from plumbers, electricians, and HVAC contractors like yourself. Truthfully, there’s no short answer because there is a lot to teach and factors to consider like business management, human behaviour and relationships, etc. Tradies in my sales coaching programs actively take the step forward by learning crucial sales and business principles that they can apply to their businesses and witness a 20-50% growth in their sales.
To help give you a clear direction on how to start improving your sales I’ve jotted down the 7 key steps you will learn from TradesFormation’s sales coaching program on how to make a profitable sale.
Step 1: First Impression
We all know the saying “First impressions last.” Within the first few seconds of meeting someone we all form judgments about who they are and how you feel about them. From your own experience you will already know that people who didn’t start off on the right foot with you almost never changed your impression of them. The same goes for your clients, one poor impression and you can lose a profitable sale within the first 5 seconds.
But how do you make a great first impression? It’s important to find the balance between being respectful and polite introducing yourself to them. If you think having a friendly tone of voice and smiling are not needed, think again, as people mirror body language and communication without realising. Your arrival is also important which means being on time, not 20 minutes early or 20 minutes late, but at the scheduled time. Having timely service and friendly demeanour boosts trust which is the foundation of every successful client relationship and inevitably the first step towards a profitable sale.
Step 2: Gather Information
In this step it pays to be observant. Paying attention to their body language and how they speak is just as important as checking the maintenance issue in question. By understanding whether your customer is feeling relaxed and open, or sceptical and standoffish, you will be able tailor your selling approach to a delivery that is well received by them. Some key things to look for are:
- Posture: if their shoulders are back and chest forward they are feeling confident and comfortable, whereas slumped posture indicates disinterest
- Mouth: holding their lips in a compressed or tight position reveal dissatisfaction or resistance
- Stance: feet pointing towards you shows they are interested in what you have to say and giving you their undivided attention
- Fidgeting: conveys scepticism or anxiety
- Mirroring: if you change positions with your stance or posture and they mirror you, then it shows they are highly engaged in the conversation. This is the main indicator that they are receptive to suggestions or upselling
Step 3 and 4: Providing and Presenting Options
Regarding the actual work, inspect the damage thoroughly first and come up with different solutions. The next step is to present them the varying options but in terms they can understand, remember they don’t speak Tradie. It’s beneficial to round out your options by explaining the pros and cons of each in terms of cost, effectiveness, and quality. Not only are you increasing your perceived authority in that you know what you’re doing but you’re also making it much easier to sell the service.
Step 5: Understand Objection
Objections can be frustrating and disheartening but it doesn’t equate to rejection, so it’s best to take it as a challenge. If you let the frustration steer you in this stage you will inevitably lose the sale as it will seep into your discussion with the customer. Remember, it is reasonable for clients to have some objections as this isn’t their area of expertise and anything involving cost is a touchy subject for most.
To counter their objections, be rational and prepared with facts related to the problem at hand and solutions presented. Empathy is key, if your delivery is cold and robotic then the objection isn’t going to change. Instead paint a picture for them of the consequences of not resolving the issue in question. This may be the future costs, potential property damage, or possible botched jobs from other tradesmen offering “significantly cheaper” service fees.
Step 6: Closing the Sales
Most Tradies overlook the closing portion of the sale. It’s easy to think that your customer will be on board for having the service conducted, however, this is where most sales fail to convert. Instead of assuming they’ll tell you unprompted, be direct in asking if they’re happy for the service to be done. As you’ve already overcome the objection stage there should be very little friction in closing. Most people need some sort of call to action, and in this case it requires you to ask them upfront instead of skirting around the bush.
The same action can be applied when upselling on a job. If you spot an additional problem like a leaky tap or a faulty switch let them know that you’d be happy to take care of it while you’re there. All you need to do is follow the same steps of 3-6 to close the additional sale.
Step 7: Feedback, Testimonials, and Referrals
The last step is getting feedback, testimonials, and referrals from a client. Feedback and testimonials are the bread and butter of keeping momentum for making profitable sales. Feedback consistently directs you in tailoring your approach when dealing with customers helping you figure out what is working well and what isn’t. Adding to the value, feedback doubles as a free marketing tactic that you can use to build trust for your company and its brand. Testimonials are extremely powerful in generating more profitable sales as it often removes objections and stimulates trust in the service to be provided. Not to mention testimonials are strong marketing tools, particularly for your social media at bringing in new leads for your business.
Referrals are the gold of all rewards. These individuals often present limited objections, greater openness to upselling, and are much easier to communicate with since there’s already a commonality between you both (the referrer). If you’re having trouble with getting referrals you should consider providing past customers with coupons for future services including those dedicated to referral services.
Did you learn something from this article? If your answer is yes and want to start making more profitable sales, join our Sales Coaching Program now! To know more, call us at 0480 009 598 or send us your query at email@example.com.
I’m looking forward to seeing you at my next class, Tradie!