Listening Between The Lines!
When you show up to a call, do you just offer what customers are asking for or do you dive in and investigate? This episode is about listening between the lines, and Sam Wakefield tells us how this will take you to next-level sales. Moving past beyond what people on the other line are saying, Sam talks about the need to actually hear and listen. He talks about the importance of asking questions and turning statements into one, and how to approach your clients. Listen intently to your clients and learn how to get them the best solution possible with some of these powerful tools you can have in your tool belt.
I want to also welcome a new country that has come online. Did you know that this Close It Now podcast is listened to in eight countries around the world now? Welcome Bosnia, thank you for joining me. This is a really incredible journey. It’s an ongoing conversation of what do we do in the house to serve clients. It’s about serving people. In fact, that’s the topic. There’s a cool quote, I’m sure you’ve probably heard it, by a former president of the United States Teddy Roosevelt, “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”
The topic is going to be “Listening between the lines,” I like to call it. It’s our job to, because what happens so many times is you get a lead and it comes in and they’re asking for insulation for example. In fact, the one I’m headed to because I use my drive time university to record these episodes. It’s really cool. You’ve got to use your drive time. Use your drive time wisely. Don’t just jam out to music all the time. Grow yourself. Put on personal growth. Put on a podcast. Put on, and you are if you’re reading this, so congratulations for stepping up your game.
Audiobooks are a beautiful way to educate yourself and to grow and not just fiction stuff. Fiction is fine but there are some amazing books, business books, sales books, all the things that you can listen to get better, to up your game, to up your level. What I’m going to, the guy is asking for a dehumidifier. When you show up to a call, do you just offer what they’re asking for or do you really dive in and investigate? I’m here to tell you that is next-level sales, so closing out the month of June. We’ll share some numbers. What are your numbers? May, I had 64 points or something percent close rate. I finished June with 61 points something close rate.
In our industry, that’s not too bad, not too shabby. This next level of sales is what we’re talking about. I bring that up not to impress you but to impress upon you that these skills are powerful. These are powerful tools to tap into. The number of people that you’re seeing doesn’t have to change to dramatically increase your income and dramatically increase the bottom line by serving more people. Listening between the lines, having empathy, and the way that they know you care is the fact that you listen to what they’re saying, listen to what they’re describing. How do we do that? We do that by asking questions. Questions are literally the most powerful tool you have in your tool belt when you’re going into a house, when you’re talking to clients, talking to homeowners.
You’ve got to ask questions. I’m going to do an entire episode at some point on how to convert statements into questions and how to ask it in the form of a question but until then, just keep this concept in your mind. If you can tell it or you can ask it in a question, always opt for the question because it keeps them engaged. I’m going to give you one of the most important questions that you can ask the homeowner on any topic. It all depends on what they say they want and what the real solution might actually be something different. Back to our example, say they get, the request is, the lead is for insulation, “I need more insulation in my attic.” Do they need more insulation in their attic?
You get there and knock, “I’ve got a little bit, I need to add some more.” You go up in the attic and maybe they don’t necessarily even need insulation. You have no idea, but before you even do that, this question is so powerful. “Mr./Miss homeowner, I see on my notes that I’m here to look at your insulation. Is that right?” “Yes.” “Let me ask you something. What are you trying to accomplish by adding insulation? What would you like to accomplish by that?” Listen. Hear what they say. It could be, “Our bills are really high and we just think that this might be something to help out with that.”
It could be, their response might be, “There’s this one room in the corner of the house that is really hot all the time or cold all the time depending on your season and where you’re around. It’s one room of the house. It’s always the wrong temperature and we think that might be the solution,” or it could be a combination of them. There are a million things that they could respond but what you’re listening for is, because nobody needs insulation, nobody just wants to buy insulation for the sheer fact of buying insulation. When you go into a house and you approach it from that direction. Say, “You’ve got about six inches of insulation, and the current code in our area is about twelve to fourteen inches of insulation,” and you start talking about our values and all these stuff, it doesn’t matter. It does not matter to the homeowner. They don’t care about any of that.
What they care about is solving the problems that they have. Now in their mind, because they’re uneducated most of the time, they’ve translated their problem into, “Hopefully, maybe this will fix my problem. I just need more insulation.” It’s our job as educated professionals to get there and then ask the questions to unpeel that onion, to find out, “What are you trying to accomplish?” Insulating a house can cause problems if there are already some other things going on. There’s so much to surround that, but what we’re trying to do is figure out, are they after energy savings? Are they after a quieter home? Are they after fixing temperature imbalances?
Every single one of those could be a different solution besides insulation. If they truly needed insulation, it could turn into instead of just selling insulation, you could really ask the right questions and listen to what their real true concerns are. In offering your solution, it can sound something like this, say, “Mr. Jones, Miss Jones, the insulation is a part of what is going on here. You do have a lack of insulation but there are also several other things happening that when combined will be a much more effective solution for what you’ve got going on. Maybe this room is uncomfortable because it’s got some airflow issues.” You describe what those are and, “As part of the solution along with the insulation, we’re going to do this. You’ve got a loud house and that’s partly the old metal ductwork you’ve got. That’s what’s going on here. Along with insulating, if we insulate now, the access to change this later is going to be limited, why don’t we go ahead and do your completely new duct system? It’s going to solve all of these other issues like dustiness, allergens, molded mildews, and all the things you go through.”
It could sound like, “You know your big concern was your energy savings but I noticed that insulation will make a difference but also you’re running an air system that’s outdated and it’s 24 years old. This is your largest consumer of energy in your home. Would you be open to considering upgrading that at the same time? When we combine all of these together, you’re going to see an enormous difference versus this one thing.” Ask him, “Does that make sense?” What we want to do is serve the client. The things we want to accomplish are their concerns, not what they ask for. If they just ask for insulation, it’s more than likely when you get that lead, it’s not the case. It’s usually not the actual problem that they want to fix, that they want to solve.
Listening To Clients: It is your responsibility to make sure that your clients get the help they need.
The same thing when we’re going to a house and it’s lead for just a new air conditioner. That’s not all that’s going on most of the time. Say it’s a tech turnover and the system is down, compressor shot, then the water system and so they’re wanting to change the equipment. You start the process again, with the same questions, “What would we like to accomplish in this project? One, we can come in and we can install a newer version of the exact same thing you had. However, you didn’t get to choose that when you moved in, and more likely it’s going to be a builder-grade model and that’s the rock bottom basic builder-grade system. What would we like to accomplish? Would you like to improve the comfort of the house at the same time? Would you like to make it a lot quieter? Would you like to make the temperatures a lot better, the humidity control? What’s your indoor air quality? Is it dusty in the house?” Start asking all these questions and by going through that, your clients are going to say, “That sounds great. What would it take to do that?”
That’s when your response is of course, “While we’re replacing the equipment, it doesn’t cost nearly as much to do it all together. It’s a bigger project but you’re going to accomplish so much more because you’re doing it together. We’re able to get in and make little adjustments right now that are a lot more difficult to do at a different time and so now you’re going to have just an overall better experience in your house.” Most of the time, people are all for that. They get excited. They’re ready to rock when you go in with that type of concept. The concept is that you’re going to serve them and by serving them, that means that you’ve got to close the deal. If you truly believe in your product and you truly believe in your solution and what you offer clients, that is the best thing out there, that their life is truly going to be better because you and your crew were there. You did work above anyone else’s work. If you truly believe that you’re better, that you do amazing work, and that their life is going to change, then it is your responsibility to make sure that they get the help they need and you can only do that if you close the sale.
You don’t need the, “I want to think about it kind of thing.” That’s why this question process is so important because as you start asking those questions of, “I hear that you need insulation or I hear that you need a new system but what other things are going on?” You start really diving into that process and asking second, third, and fourth level questions. “That room is hot. Who sleeps in that room? What’s it like for them? Tell me more about that.” When you start asking those deeper questions, now you’ve got a full solution for the whole home. You’re giving them the total experience of their home and not just, “Replace this box that blows air into my house and makes it warmer or colder.” That’s two wildly different things.
If that’s the only conversation, you’re talking about a commodity that they can call twenty other companies in town that sell the same brand. All they’re doing is comparing prices on beans and it’s a race to the bottom but when you start talking about the whole house overall, what is it like for them living there? Are there concerns? Are there temperature issues? All the things. When you roll the entire, every bit of that into your package offering and say, “We’re not just going to do this, install a box that blows air for you. These are all the things that we’re going to accomplish.” There’s nothing to compare to. There is no such thing as apples to apples anymore because there’s nobody else out there that’s doing the same kind of thing.
There’s nobody else out there at the same thoroughness and same level that’s going to be offering the solutions that you’re offering and bundling it together like this. That’s why when they come back with, “I just want to make some comparisons and let’s get through this.” That’s when you’re like there’s not a comparison. “In our industry, Mr. Homeowner, there’s not a comparison because here is what we offer and you’re trying to compare apples and chickens. It’s not the same thing. Take that into account. That’s why we’re different. We’re not $6,000 more expensive, we’re $6,000 different. You told me that you wanted to accomplish these things. Is that still true?”
That’s how that conversation needs to go. It’s so important but back to the all-important question is no matter what the lead is when you get there, no matter what’s in your notes in the way the call came in, when you get there, ask, “What would you like to accomplish? What are you trying to accomplish by X, Y, Z?” Whatever they asked for and this applies to anything. This applies if you sell windows. This applies if you sell water purification. It doesn’t really matter what you’re selling, it matters what they’re buying. They’re buying solutions to their problems, they’re not buying your product. They’re buying solutions to your problems. That’s what we have to pair up with what we bring to the table.
If I asked anyone, you have to care for the client enough to be able to say, “We might not be a good fit for you. This is not a project that we excel at and I’m going to be honest with you here. It’s not a good fit for us.” Maybe give him a recommendation for somebody else that is. You have to be able to have the integrity enough to do that and when you do, that’s when that client will never go to anyone else for your service. You were so upfront and honest with him and transparent that it gave him the confidence to know that you’re not messing him around. You’re there truly with their best interests in mind because you listened to them tell you what’s going on and asked the clarifying questions. To hear, don’t just listen but actually hear what they’re truly saying to you.
Remember, Teddy Roosevelt, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” You can show that by asking the question, “What are they trying to accomplish?” Listen and then you can offer your solutions after that. Thank you for reading. This has been a lot of fun. This is one of the things I’m truly passionate about is serving with an open heart basically and being transparent. There’s such a move towards authenticity in our climate, in our world right now and a big part of that has to do with this model. It’s not going in and going through this process of, “I’ve just got to take them through these steps and as soon as we get through these steps, that’s when I’m a superstar. I’ll show them my products and they’re going to buy from me.” No. If you have that concept in mind, then there’s a big problem because you’re not serving the client that way.
It’s about serving the client and listening to them first. Will they always be right? No. We know that. It’s our job to educate through questions. That’s the message. I hope you enjoyed this episode. If you got some value from it, share it with somebody because sharing is caring. That’s how we’re growing our community. Find us at CloseItNow.com. We’ve got a website being built so that is going to be happening really soon. For now, go to CloseItNow.com and it’s going to route you to where you can connect to our online community and our Facebook group. I’m actually going to be doing a live video in there and we’ll answer some questions, real–life and in–person. Otherwise, I will talk to you again soon.
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