Sales Approach: High Pressure Vs Low Pressure

 
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Old 03-25-2012, 03:16 PM   #1
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Sales Approach: High Pressure Vs Low Pressure


So I thought I'd ask some of the people that have had more experience in sales what their thoughts on this are. I just toured the KC Home Show today and got to deal with some of the sales techniques of the various booths. There seemed to be two types of salesmen:

1. High Pressure, they drag you into their booth and damn near force their presentation on you before you can tell them that you're clearly not interested.

2. Low Pressure. They don't talk to you unless you make eye contact first, and then they simply ask you if you have any questions or politely ask if you are interested in their product and proceed from there. Escalation into the sales process is smoother.

Now as a customer, I much prefer low-pressure. I feel like high-pressure and grandiose claims about a business and their products are a sign of weakness and over-compensation. Confidence is fine. Saying stuff like, "We have great customer reviews that you can read, we have lots of experience, we're friendly and easy to work with and our prices are very reasonable, take a look at these sample projects and price estimates..." are all great. Spouting crap like, "We have unmatched quality, we're the #1 remodeler in KC and our prices cannot be beat." is just marketing garbage that I feel like anyone with an IQ of over 100 can see through in an instant.

But I'm torn, because some of the biggest companies in town use the high-pressure rout. Their salesmen show up to your door with a handful of samples and expect you to make a 20K decision in a single evening, or they raise the price on you. (Many offer a big discount if they sign right then and there.) Now I don't know about you, but I can't imagine something as fully customizable as a full bath or kitchen remodel happening in a 2-3 hour sales meeting very often. I mean, it can happen, but there are so many big decisions to make. Would you buy a car on your first trip to the dealership? Most people probably wouldn't.

I just feel dirty and unethical if I'm pushing them to buy something they don't want or need instead of just selling myself and my services. At the same time, I know that I have to make myself available and show them that I care. To me, that means friendly follow up calls to answer questions, make adjustments to the quote and above all to make them feel important. My concern is that I might end up being too passive, and lose business because of it.

Where do you draw the line, and how do you justify your sales techniques?
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Last edited by Ethos; 03-25-2012 at 03:18 PM.
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Old 03-25-2012, 03:29 PM   #2
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Re: Sales Approach: High Pressure Vs Low Pressure


I have done sales most of my life. From about 8 years old on. I have also trained and hired salespeople for past companies that I have owned.

What you described are the two extreme ends of the sales technique. The hard sell is done by people who are instructed and pushed to do the hard sell. This is what their company wants. If the company didn't want that type of sales -- it wouldn't allow it.

The other extreme is the "sales begger" or "I couldn't care less" approach. This is done by folk with little or no sales training. These are the order takers, not the order getters.

In between these two extremes is where you find true professionals, that really know what they want, what they have to do, know their products and services, and, know how to engage the public in finding out: (1) who is really interested (2) does the company's offerings really apply to this prospect (3) the true level of "need" or "want" that the potential client has for the company's products/services.

The true professional introduces themselves, finds out who you are, and then asks questions and listens (amateurs don't listen, they just talk and talk and talk). If the sales person has adequately qualified you for their products, they will then find out what your level of interest is.

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Old 03-25-2012, 03:33 PM   #3
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Re: Sales Approach: High Pressure Vs Low Pressure


"Pressure" should be NON EXISTENT in a PROPER Sales Pitch/Presentation.

Sales is NEVER about The Product.
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Old 03-25-2012, 03:38 PM   #4
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Re: Sales Approach: High Pressure Vs Low Pressure


I agree with malco. You can one call close with zero pressure. Its an art but it can be done.
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Old 03-25-2012, 03:44 PM   #5
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Re: Sales Approach: High Pressure Vs Low Pressure


Thanks for the tips! Yeah, I did give very extreme examples. Hopefully I'm not so passive as to be just an order-taker. In the past, my ideal sales approach in my mind has been to listen, be very helpful with options and explanations and with the right amount of help, allow the homeowner to reach a conclusion.

Would you recommend sales seminars, or are there any great resources for sales training that have helped you or that you really get behind?
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Old 03-25-2012, 04:13 PM   #6
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Re: Sales Approach: High Pressure Vs Low Pressure


I just get them wanting me so much they whip out the check book so they don't have to wait as long.
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I don't normally talk to people like I talk to you, however you have the little immature schoolgirl mentality so this is new to me.
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Old 03-25-2012, 04:20 PM   #7
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Re: Sales Approach: High Pressure Vs Low Pressure


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I just get them wanting me so much they whip out the check book so they don't have to wait as long.
Thats similar to what rex does also. Its all about the sizzle not the steak. Sell sizzle. Sizzle in construction can be quality, effiency, honesty, and many others. Sell yourself not their project.
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Old 03-25-2012, 06:46 PM   #8
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Re: Sales Approach: High Pressure Vs Low Pressure


Nothing worse than dealing with a customer suffering from buyer's remorse.

Gaining trust, finding the right solution, and earning a full commitment may be tough to accomplished in one sitting using high pressure techniques. But typically, The high pressure guys are not very concerned about anything but the signature on the contract, and the deposit check.
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Old 03-25-2012, 07:21 PM   #9
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Re: Sales Approach: High Pressure Vs Low Pressure


If anyone would like to critique my approach, please feel free as I'm still a novice when it comes to the sales aspect of the business. Here's an example of a response to a servicemagic lead earlier this week. I try to come off as eager without applying pressure. This email is a followup to a message on her cell phone, and one further attempt at phone contact without message or response.

Do you see any red flags?

[I]Hello Liz,

My name is Ben with Ethos Kitchen and Bath. I received your information from Service Magic earlier today. I just wanted you to know that we are available to make time and work around your schedule for an appointment to discuss your remodel this week. Just let us know when is a convenient for you and we should be able to meet. We are a licensed and insured family company that prides itself on being very personable and easy to work with. We strive to offer affordability without compromising craftsmanship or quality of materials. I also want to assure you that we don't use high-pressure sales techniques and won't make you feel obligated to buy anything. You can also learn more about us at our website, www.kcethos.com.

In the initial meeting, my goal is to touch base with you on what kind of options you're considering for your remodel. We can also bring samples of various products, measure up your project and give you an estimate at no charge within 24 hours of your preliminary selections.

If you have decided to not go forward with planning your project at this time, and would like me to make no further attempts at contacting you, please email me and let me know. I don't want you to feel obligated to explain why, and I thank you very much for your interest in us no matter what decision you have reached.

I sincerely hope that we have the opportunity to meet and discuss your project, and thank you for your time!

-Ben
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Last edited by Ethos; 03-25-2012 at 07:54 PM.
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Old 03-25-2012, 07:23 PM   #10
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Re: Sales Approach: High Pressure Vs Low Pressure


Quote:
Originally Posted by Pearce Services View Post
Nothing worse than dealing with a customer suffering from buyer's remorse.

Gaining trust, finding the right solution, and earning a full commitment may be tough to accomplished in one sitting using high pressure techniques. But typically, The high pressure guys are not very concerned about anything but the signature on the contract, and the deposit check.
Totally. I worked for another company in the past as an installer, and the owner was in a foul mood my first day there because the salesmen sold her a $10K bathroom remodel that only involved retiling the floor and around her tub. He only brought 2 samples of tile with him, and told her that it'd be another grand if she didn't sign that night, so she caved. Ugh...
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Old 03-25-2012, 07:28 PM   #11
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Re: Sales Approach: High Pressure Vs Low Pressure


Ethos - I don't understand that email you wrote. Specifically the part where you said thank you for the interest in our company. You also said the lead was from service magic.

Maybe I don't understand but don't people have no idea who is going to contact them when they fill out a contact request form?
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Old 03-25-2012, 07:35 PM   #12
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Re: Sales Approach: High Pressure Vs Low Pressure


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Ethos - I don't understand that email you wrote. Specifically the part where you said thank you for the interest in our company. You also said the lead was from service magic.

Maybe I don't understand but don't people have no idea who is going to contact them when they fill out a contact request form?
From the information on this lead, they browsed our company's profile. They saw our reviews and selected us based off of those reviews.
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Old 03-25-2012, 08:50 PM   #13
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Re: Sales Approach: High Pressure Vs Low Pressure


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethos View Post
From the information on this lead, they browsed our company's profile. They saw our reviews and selected us based off of those reviews.

. I also want to assure you that we don't use high-pressure sales techniques and won't make you feel obligated to buy anything.
>>>>>>>>>>>

eliminate this. Does nothing to sell your company or you.

Positive thoughts not negative.
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Old 03-25-2012, 09:08 PM   #14
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Re: Sales Approach: High Pressure Vs Low Pressure


I have been selling home improvements for 29 years and have a closing ratio of about 60%. I have had extensive sales training with a couple of the largest Home improvement companies. This is my advise to you.

1) Never try to sell anyone--anything! Your job is to know your market,
competition and product/ service, just explain what you do and why you are different or better.

2) build a repor with your customer- survey their surroundings, appeal to their taste.

3) Set expectations, from your service to scheduling.

4) When you call to set an appointment, DON"T sell your company over the phone. You sell the company when you sit in front of them.

5) Set yourself up as the expert in the industry, set expectations you can keep. and never project that the customer would not want to do business with you. This under minds you and your company.

I have done one call closing before and was good at it, but never enjoyed it. I like the design and customer service approach. This puts
a value to you as an expert.

This is how I explain it (when I am in front of a customer) I will take some measurements and discuss details with you about what what what you would like, your wants vs. needs,and time frame and budget. I will then put a full detailed plan together with what we have discussed. I will come back on " Friday" to show you the plan, make any changes and ask to contract the work, what time is good for you on Friday.


You have to know enough about what you do, to have a conversation with your customers and be able to answer questions without hesitation
or searching to continue you schpeil. I hope this helps.
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Old 03-25-2012, 09:15 PM   #15
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Re: Sales Approach: High Pressure Vs Low Pressure


Just got the response to my aforementioned email. Response to my above email started out like this:

Thanks so much for the email. I am impressed just by the quality of the email! I am new to the "remodel" world so I appreciate the honesty in what you wrote and the information on your website (great job with that by the way).


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Old 03-26-2012, 07:31 AM   #16
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Re: Sales Approach: High Pressure Vs Low Pressure


I do not like high pressure sales as a customer so i would never use that on a potential client.

And unless you have an exclusive product that knowone else has you can't just sit back either.

Lately i've been trying to really work on selling our company but without the client feeling high pressure.

you have to find a balance and use tactics that will make them "want" to hand you a check.
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Old 03-30-2012, 05:18 PM   #17
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Re: Sales Approach: High Pressure Vs Low Pressure


Quote:
Originally Posted by cwatbay
I have done sales most of my life. From about 8 years old on. I have also trained and hired salespeople for past companies that I have owned.

What you described are the two extreme ends of the sales technique. The hard sell is done by people who are instructed and pushed to do the hard sell. This is what their company wants. If the company didn't want that type of sales -- it wouldn't allow it.

The other extreme is the "sales begger" or "I couldn't care less" approach. This is done by folk with little or no sales training. These are the order takers, not the order getters.

In between these two extremes is where you find true professionals, that really know what they want, what they have to do, know their products and services, and, know how to engage the public in finding out: (1) who is really interested (2) does the company's offerings really apply to this prospect (3) the true level of "need" or "want" that the potential client has for the company's products/services.

The true professional introduces themselves, finds out who you are, and then asks questions and listens (amateurs don't listen, they just talk and talk and talk). If the sales person has adequately qualified you for their products, they will then find out what your level of interest is.
Spot on mate. A true salesman listens, when you knows what's what's really important to the prospect you then can base your presentation around this knowledge.

When people see you understand and you highlight exactly what's in it for the (benefits) you are no longer seen as a salesman but some one who has the answer to their problem.
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Old 03-30-2012, 07:06 PM   #18
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Re: Sales Approach: High Pressure Vs Low Pressure


People buy on Company, Product, Service and Price... in that order. The first three are all about you, and if you've done a good job on presenting you, the last one, price, either makes sense or it doesn't. We don't have "manager discounts" or "close tonight discounts", etc... IOW, sales pricing gimmicks. Our focus is on pricing integrity and coming across as the expert in what we talk about. We openly ask customers do they feel more or less confident in someone who is supposed to be an expert on their product/service having to have to get back to them with a price. Shouldn't you already know this? Of course, and that is why all pricing gimmicks do is make them question what the "real" price is... If they want a better price, they have to give up something in the process, otherwise, all you are saying is that you are padding your pricing and were hoping to get more than you needed to run your business or you were "guesstimating"... no better than someone giving a low-ball price to get the business, IMHO...

We one-call close and can do so because it is a guiding process, not a pressure one. We close an average (right now) of 35-42% the first night, and another 10-17% with follow-ups...

An excellent book on the concepts of the soft-sell is "How to Master the Art of Selling" by Tom Hopkins. If you hate coming across as a "salesman", this book has closing techniques that help you target what you are really after without using high pressure. IMHO, if you have to use high pressure, you didn't do a good job on the first three above that sell yourself...

What I encourage you to do is look at it from a customers POV, and remove or address their normal objections to using you.

I never understood how going back multiple times makes you a better owner, salesman, tradesman, etc... If a customer wants to "think it over", it is usually because they can't afford you or some other ancillary reason and not going to be your customer, or they legitimately want to think it over. Either case, they are going to be one of the ones you don't close that night. But if you know your product, price, etc.. why drag it out? Make it easy for them to do business with you and take them out of the market...

If you know what you're taking about, know your pricing (i.e. - pricing sheet that you can show the customer to install confidence in your pricing), ask open-ended questions to get them talking and you listening and feeding it back to them, use 3rd-party reference material to give them an understanding of pricing (IOW, what they would have done themselves), project book, references, etc... you've saved everyone a bunch of time by not making them go through a couple more 1-2 1/2 hour presentations, and you earn a customer in the process...

Also saves you LOTS of time throughout the year on be-backs, and pricing... which ultimately means you make more...
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Old 03-30-2012, 07:22 PM   #19
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Re: Sales Approach: High Pressure Vs Low Pressure


KAP, what do you sell?
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Old 03-30-2012, 07:46 PM   #20
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Re: Sales Approach: High Pressure Vs Low Pressure


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KAP, what do you sell?
Additions and Interior Remodeling, Custom Cabinets, Countertops, Custom Furniture, Baths, Refacing, tiling, trimwork, floors, etc... We also do some Commercial, but have yet to tame that animal because we don't wait for payment and usually get those jobs from referrals... mostly schools, offices, etc... our focus is mostly residential...

We fabricate our Custom Cabinetry and Countertops, Furniture, components, etc... with the exception of Additions, most everything else we do can be quoted when we meet with the customer...

We are able to do this because we know our pricing, including trades, and have a price-list for all our services. Where I see lot of guys spin their wheels is wasting time on quoting and countless meetings, when they should just close it and if there are changes needed, that is what Change Orders are for...

When you meet with a customer, they should know right there and then whether or not you know what you are talking about... their first impression is usually the right one... goes both ways...


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