How to avoid the worst mistake in sales

I love being on the end of someone else’s sales process, you get to see some amazing new things, some things done really well and of course the worst of it all.  I am trying to buy a triple garage for my property at home and have contacted a bunch of local suppliers including national franchises who specialise in this area.

In doing so I have come to the conclusion that although their sheds are nice looking, their web sites are full of great pics – and they have no idea how to sell and have all, without exception, made one of the worst mistakes possible in sales.

So far I have 4 quotes on my home office desk, they all have their elevation drawings, a list of specifications, a comprehensive list of inclusions and exclusions etc.  What I have noticed is that they are not easy to read and have been set out to look like a spec sheet for a builder rather than a quote for a layman.  These quotes have all been sitting on my desk for over 4 weeks and – Not one follow up call!

Not one of them has bothered to call me to ask if I have any questions, would I like some help, would I like to clarify anything, or would I like to go ahead? This stuns me every time.  Our economy is sluggish at best of times, you would think they had the wherewithal to pick up the phone and talk to me!

Now in many situations the “office girl” answered the phone and went through a series of logical questions.  I’m not being sexist here, this is a classic mistake that small businesses make – put the receptionist on the phone so I can go out and do the work. What they do not realise is that she is not equipped to SELL on the phone, a skill set she was not employed for I am sure.  These logical questions are designed so they can put out a quote to “cover” themselves on all the issues important to them, not me, the one buying. I was not asked about the compelling reason for wanting the shed, do you have a budget in mind, have you seen a shed you like, time frame, etc.  They just answered my questions and sent me through the quote.

So, promise me this one thing, if you are selling and you have to put out a quote – DON’T.  Send out a plan of action, a series of events and time frames that are required to happen, who is responsible for doing what, how the plan will be managed, and oh, by the way, in order to do all this it will be $XXXX.

Here is an example.

Dear Si,

Thanks for giving us the opportunity to provide you with a brand new triple garage for you and your growing family.  We want to be able to give you the best solution for the whole Harris clan and to that end have sent you our plan of action to make this happen to meet your time frame.

Now, if price were the only thing worth considering when selecting your shed builder then you probably won’t work with us.  Here are the top seven reasons why our clients build sheds with us.  (List them, such as an on time guarantee, keeping the site clean and tidy, keeping you informed, project management….)  List your time frames step by step showing who is responsible for doing what during the job and then give them the price…

Let your prospect see why they should deal with you and then the “price” objection starts to fade away to its rightful spot in the decision-making process – about fourth most important.

Most important of all – FOLLOW UP!  Call them 2 – 3 days after the plan of action goes out, find out who else is in the mix, have they sent through their quote yet, talk through the differences, answer questions, temperature check. You may as well, because no-one else will bother!

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