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Sales

Selling: How To Sell A Service

As a professional tradesmen, you spend the majority of your time out in the field dealing with prospective customers. While you’re an expert in your craft, we’re willing to bet that you’re not an expert in sales, and why should you be? It’s understandable being trained to sell well is not the top priority in trade schools and apprenticeships, but it can be the determining factor between gaining a customer and losing their business.

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Understand that we’re not assuming that you’re bad at selling, we just want to give you all the resources you could possibly need to become a great salesman. That’s why we’ve created this guide to help you hone your selling skills, and as a result, start winning more business.

Customer Management

Before we get started, it’s important to note that having a CRM platform is essential to keeping your sales pipeline organized and flowing. CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, and is a type of software that helps you keep track of all the information surrounding each individual customer, so that you can remain informed and serve them better in the future.
CRM helps keep customer details like contact information, job history, notes, photos, related documents in a simple and easy-to-use database that you can pull from no matter where you are. Rather than jotting down details about customers on sticky notes – or worse, the back of documents, all this information will be stored electronically and can be referenced with just a few taps.

You can also use CRM software to schedule reminders for yourself to follow up with a customer. An example of a situation where this would be useful is when you’ve just finished a maintenance call that includes a year-long warranty. Using CRM software, you can schedule a reminder to follow up 11 months later to check in on if everything is running smoothly, and ask about other projects the customer may have been putting off.

 

Your customers are what keep your business alive, so you should definitely invest in a tool that will help you give them the best possible experience.

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Pitch Preparation

Before you engage in any type of sales interaction, whether that be via email, phone, or face to face, you’ll need to prepare by asking yourself about the following points:

Who You’re Selling To

There’s a good chance you already knew to ask yourself this question, but it’s important to take the time to dive into the details of your target audience.

 

The best way to do this is to build an average customer persona that includes their likes, dislikes, tastes, preferences, average income, location, needs, and other characteristics. If you have multiple target audiences, you can get even more specific and build customer personas for each demographic you service.

Desired Outcome

Obviously, your personal desired outcome is for them to hire you for your services. However, you’ll need to be able to present this goal in a way that’s customer facing, and should take the time to clearly identify exactly what that means.

 

An example could be “my goal is to quickly and effectively diagnose your plumbing system’s needs” if you offer plumbing services. The more straightforward you are with your potential customer about your goal, the better your chances of them trusting you will be.

Your Story

It’s likely that your potential customers will ask about you/your business’ background. So, create a basic elevator pitch which summarizes your business’ origin story, growth, and core service. Keep it short and sweet, the optimal length of an elevator pitch is less than 30 seconds.

Your Messaging

Be sure that you can clearly and effectively communicate the value in your service offerings in 4 sentences or less. Remember, your messaging isn’t just about touching on your services and hoping that the customer chooses you over your competitors. That approach immediately place you in a value comparison, forcing a price war.

The Need To Change

You need to ask yourself the question every customer you encounter will be asking themselves “why should I choose you when I have other options, and why should I do it now instead of later?” Take the time to craft an eloquent and compelling response to this question, even if the customer doesn’t ask it to your face.

Pain Points

Essentially, pain points are exactly what they sound like: difficulties or frustrations your customer may have experienced in the past with services/companies like yours. For more details on pain points, take a look at our guide for Pitching Ahead of the Competition.

Proof Of Concept

A great way to give your potential customer some peace of mind is to showcase your expertise, and prove that you offer an exceptional deal through a proof of concept.

 

An example of this could be showing photos of previous work, explaining what the original problem was for each, and your thought process/the steps you took to amend those issues and deliver the final product.

 

For example, if you own a roofing company and recently installed terracotta roof tiles for a customer that lives in a hot climate, you can show pictures of the before and after, as well as explain that you chose to use that material.

 

“We chose terracotta tiles for this project because they’re able to withstand serious heat for decades, and the curved design allows air to circulate throughout the roof, reducing the amount of heat that reaches the indoors.”

How To Pitch Your Services - In Person Sales

Now that you’ve addressed the points above, it’s time to put it all together. The following is a basic framework for in-person sales that will help you to present your value, motivate the customer, and comfort them.

1: When did you last…

Ask your potential customer when the last time they used a service similar to yours, and how their experience went. Oftentimes, the customer will immediately start going over the pain points they experienced, which will prepare you for step 2.

2: Identify the pain points

Draw attention to the pain points the potential customer just mentioned. If these are common pain points you’ve heard before, explain why those pain points occur and what you do differently to combat them.

3: Touch on importance

Now is when you’ll want to emphasize the importance of the service. You’ll need to convince your prospect that even a routine plumbing maintenance call has a massive impact on the comfort level, strength, value, and overall efficiency of their home.

 

By showing your prospect how you understand the larger impacts of the work you do, they’ll feel comforted by the fact that you take the work seriously and want to leave them better off than when you found them, rather than just taking their money.

4: Provide a solution

Tell your prospect how you provide the best solution to their problem and pain points. You need to present yourself as the solution that they never even knew they needed. Go into detail about how you’re going to solve their problem, and how you’re going to make the process as easy as possible for them.

5: Sell the bigger picture

This step is similar to step 3, in the way that you’re convincing them that there’s far more than just a few dollars at stake. It’s not just replacing some pipes, it’s ensuring that your home’s foundational plumbing system will be functioning at its absolute best. Show that you don’t want to just simply fix the problem, you want to set them up for success and provide peace of mind.

6: Get rid of the risk

This final step is by far the most important part of your sales pitch, and not just because you should end every customer interaction on a high note. You’ll need to show the prospect that you’re going out of your way to make their experience risk free. This could be in the form of a rock solid warranty, free inspections, or guaranteed refunds if the customer wasn’t satisfied with the work.

 

If you do this effectively, you’ll show the prospective customer that your offer is so good that they’d be stupid not to take it, without saying that directly to their face.

The Estimate Process

Now that you’ve successfully delivered your pitch and moved on to the estimate stage, don’t relax just yet. The estimate delivery is one of the most important parts of your sales process, and can make or break your prospect’s willingness to do business with you.

 

You’ll need to look at the estimate from your customer’s point of view, and be sure to clearly explain and educate them on what they should expect in terms of timeline, scope, and price. For helpful information on how to define your pricing, take a look at How To Price Jobs. By giving the customer all the information they need, they’ll be better informed and more trusting of you and your services.

 

Put yourself in their shoes. If you wanted to hire an HVAC contractor to fix your home’s HVAC system, and they said to you, “Hire me for this job. I’ll get it done as fast as I can, keep the cost as low as possible, and I’ll ensure that you won’t need to have this service performed again for a very long time” but doesn’t back it up with any definitive details, what would you think?

 

Now, imagine if a contractor said to you “I can have this job finished for you in 6 hours. It’ll cost you $600, and I can guarantee that you won’t have to repeat this service for 6 years” and then goes on to explain how he’s going to do it, and how he divided up the cost between materials and labor. Which of these two contractors would you choose to hire? The answer is obvious! The contractor with the most clear, competitive, and specific estimate will win every time.

 

For info on how to structure your estimate, check out our article on invoicing which will give you rundown on how estimates and invoices should be structured. The only major difference for estimates is that you’ll want to indicate the document is an estimate at the top. With software like FieldPulse, you won’t even have to worry about this step – simply toggle a tab and estimates will be automatically converted to invoices.

try Fieldpulse's estimate software free for 7 days, no commitments!

Pricing Negotiations

It’s not unlikely that even if you offer the prospect specific pricing that they’ll still try to negotiate with you. To anticipate this, it’s important that you’ve defined for yourself three price options: the lowest amount you’ll accept, a mid-range amount, and your goal amount. When the customer asks about your pricing, start off with your goal amount. If they seem unhappy with what they’ve heard, let them know that you’re willing to negotiate and ask what a fair price would be. Be sure to use that exact word, “fair”, as it will cause the customer to not just consider what they think is fair, but also what’s fair to you.

 

If you’re talking pricing for an HVAC system installation, and will not do the job for less than $5,000, start off with asking for $7,000. Either the customer will accept this price immediately, or you’ll need to begin negotiations. Always start with your higher price that gives plenty of wiggle room for you to negotiate; never go in head first with your mid-range or lowest price.

Upselling

Once you’ve wrapped the service call, you’ll have the opportunity to upsell your customer. The trick, however, is figuring out how to upsell your customer without coming off as pushy, or worse, car salesman-esque. Thankfully, there is a way to smoothly upsell your customer without annoying them.

 

Before you set out for the job, be sure that you understand how the service you’re about to perform fits into your overall services pipeline. For example, if the service call is to install a new HVAC system, you can recommend that they set up annual maintenance visits (and FieldPulse can make managing those agreements simple).

 

This may sound obvious, but having a clear idea of the progression of your services will make it easier for you to recommend the proper upsell.

Another important aspect of upselling is knowing what questions to ask. Continuing with our previous example of an HVAC technician, ask your customer about their home’s comfortability. Is your home cooling down enough in the summer, and what are your electrical bills like? Questions like these help to spark engagement and get the customer thinking about further improvements.

 

Here’s a few examples of the questions you should be asking your customer, from the lens of a home remodeling contractor.

  • If you could change one thing in your home, what would it be?
  • What frustrates you the most about your home?
  • How long do you plan to live in this house?
    What kinds of projects are you thinking about long-term?
  • What’s something you notice about your house that guests never would?

Always be prepared to provide the customer with a clear and comprehensive list of your service offerings, and how those services interlink. If you’re looking to make an upsell, it’s essential to have your services and pricing information on hand at all times so the customer will know exactly what they’re getting into, and you can quickly close the sale.

 

The most important part of upselling is understanding that most of the time, the answer will be no. But, as long as you weren’t pushy or off-putting, take comfort in knowing that you’ll be the first person the customer thinks of when they do want to pursue that service. If it’s not possible to close the deal that day, try to get permission to follow-up. If a customer isn’t ready to commit on the spot, this means that the door will still be open further down the road.

 

Hopefully after reading this article, you’re feeling more confident in your sales abilities. Keep in mind that even the most talented salesmen have to start from ground zero, so don’t get frustrated with yourself if your first few sales pitches aren’t perfect.

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