Creating Value and Positioning for the Sale
Finding what others may have missed, that can be an effective way to set you and your company apart from the competition. So, how do accomplish that? One way is by asking great questions and listening carefully to the customer response.
Many of your competitors are talking strictly about the building and the specifications. What size? how many windows? Do you want a wainscot and overhangs? Does this type of questioning create any value for the customer? Will it help close the deal? We need to ask better questions.
What if the questions were more open ended and not just about the building, but instead, focused on the entire project?
- Where will the new building be located? Why? Any issues?
- Do you notice any standing water after a rain in that area?
- Where will the downspouts drain? Best location?
- Where will the driveway come in? Gable or side wall?
- Will you heat the building now or in the future?
- If heated, what type of heat, building wrap? Perimeter insulation?
- Where will the electricity enter the building? Location of panel?
- Do you have plans for future expansion? Structural end truss?
There are many great questions that can clarify the scope of the project. These questions may also generate changes to the original design. Now you have made an impact and possibly saved that customer from a costly mistake and now the competition is working on the wrong design and falling behind in the sales process.
By asking good, clarifying questions, you position yourself as the building expert and establish credibility. Now the customer is wondering why the other builders didn't ask the same questions and what else they may have missed while doubt begins to creep in.
Positioning yourself as the expert early is a great way to get out in front and gain control. Now you have earned the customer's trust and they will not want to move forward without you. This allows you to compete on the quality of the solution, not just the price.
There are numerous areas where you can create value for the customer, below are listed a few.
- Building Site. This includes location, orientation, drives.
- Drainage. Where does the water go? Fill depth?
- Ventilation. Are there concerns with condensation? Attic?
- Door size & type. How much clearance required?
- Building use. Shop, storage, or garage. Future use?
- Energy efficiency. Type of insulation, and barriers.
- Wind load, snow load, dead load. Offer upgrades if concerned.
- Permitting, knowing local requirements is a must.
- Schedule. Discuss the critical path to completion. Deadlines?
By identifying missing items and leveraging areas of concern that may have been missed by others, you can avoid the "apples to apples" comparison that so many prospects seek to acquire. Now, you can focus on providing the customer with the exact building they need and want. You have also earned the right to be more money.
Arriving on site with a google earth view of the site is simple to do and provides a great starting point for the appointment. Now, instead of just asking about building size, you have something important to discuss while gaining insight into the customer's mind.
As always, listen more that you speak. Ask a great question and then just listen closely to what the prospect has to say. Once they understand that you are truly concerned, you will uncover a wealth of insight and useful information.