People don’t start listening until they start talking

Prior to writing How to Close More Business in Less Time, I had an opportunity to coach a startup home remodeling company in Ohio. The two partners decided to focus on high-end kitchens and bathrooms. Not a customary place for a startup in their industry.

listening talkingTypically, in the home remodeling business, a salesman comes into the house, meets the homeowners,  rushes into the kitchen, takes a few measurements, pulls out some samples, and starts selling. He talks about his experienced and well-established company, and comes up with a price. He’s doing all the talking.

Not my client. Called Hallmark Home Remodeling in the book, were unknown in the market. They didn’t have a reputation good or bad. What they did have was experience from their previous jobs and they did great work.

Knowing that their competitors would rush to sell and not develop a relationship, I focused on one of the steps in my typical sales process called “rapport building.”

The first contact with the homeowner was totally choreographed. Before they walked into the house, they donned rubber booties so as not to track anything in. They introduced themselves and standing in the foyer identified an architectural feature in one of the rooms –– a fireplace or cove molding. They asked if they could take a closer look. The homeowner always said yes.

Next, they’d ask for a tour of the entire house. During the tour, they learned a tremendous amount about the family –– by watching and listening. They’d observe a bedroom that appeared to be rarely used because their youngest was away at college. They’d learn about downsizing plans the homeowners might have within the next few years.

By the time they got to the kitchen they were friends. The homeowners were open and sharing their feelings. And the two new entrepreneurs began closing more business and better business.

You can read the entire Hallmark story in How to Close More Business in Less Time. I take you step by step through Hallmark’s entire sales process. You’ll find it extremely helpful. There’s a lot of nuance. Best of all, it can be adapted to any business.

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