Who Is In Control?

Who Is In Control?

Taking control of the appointment without the homeowner thinking you’re taking control of them is a fine line to walk. We all know that in the appointment, we need to control the flow of information – how each piece of information is given and in what order. This is important to the way they receive it and how they process that information. If you miss one of the steps along the way, you’re leaving objection doors open when the time comes for the close. In this episode, Sam Wakefield shows us how to do the appropriate introduction, what things have to be in it for it to be credible, and where they need to go and in what order.

We’re going to be talking about setting the context of your appointment. How to take control of the appointment without the homeowner thinking you’re taking control of them, which is a fine line to walk. We all know that in the appointment, we need to control the flow of information. We need to control the flow of where each piece of information is given to the homeowner and in what order, which is important to the way, psychologically they receive it and how they process it, and what they do with that information.

If you miss one of the steps along the way, you’re leaving your objection doors open when it comes time for the close. That’s what we’re talking about is how to do the appropriate introduction, the things that have to be in the introduction for it to be the credibility pieces where they need to go and the right order. There is a philosophy out there, “I can have this modular approach or maybe cover the same things each time.” However, depending on how the call goes, maybe they’ll be moved around, “As long as I cover the information in the appointment, that’s the important part.” I’m here to tell you that is not true.

Let me know if you have ever heard that type of statement. I know it’s popular with some people out there, even some trainers but coming at it from a psychological approach. I’ve studied the psychology of sales, literally read hundreds of books, paid tens of thousands of dollars to go to seminars and take training, and do online courses. There is some deep science and deep study behind why things are in the order they are in every sales conversation. We’re going to first of all cover what should go in your introduction as far as the important pieces that you want to cover. Then I’m going to give you my introduction that I use and that way you can have a real-life experience and see firsthand of how it fits together, which is important.

That way, as you’re crafting your own introduction, then you can work on, “I need this, this, and this.” It doesn’t have to be long. In fact, the shorter, the better. Always play a game with yourself. If you can communicate something in less words, do it. Cut all of the unnecessary words out. In fact, in my presentation that I just gave, I recognized something that I’ve been saying for a while that was completely unnecessary. The second that I saw the look on the homeowner’s face when I gave this one piece of information is the second I realized it was completely unnecessary. It won’t be in any of my presentations moving forward.

You’re always polishing as you go because you’re doing real-time tracking sales in homes. In Austin, Texas, we’re in 350 to 400 houses a year. I’ve talked to people who are in 600 to 1,000 houses a year. It just depends on whatever level you’re up but you’re going to get to practice this hundreds of times, which is awesome because there is no, you either win or you learn. There is no loss, there is no failure. As long as you embrace the mindset and the concept that I either win or I learn, you can always be polishing and always getting better.

Introduce The Company

With your introduction, there are three things that the homeowner has to have a massive level of certainty, a level of confidence in before they will pull the trigger on a buying decision. The first one is their confidence in your organization, in your company. They need to know that they chose the right company. The company’s reputation is valuable. The second is you as the representative of that company, what’s your experience like? “You’re the project manager here. What is it like? How much do you know?” Because the thing is, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Teddy Roosevelt, the former President of the United States, that was his quote. I talked about it in the last podcast because it is so important.

That is something that is important when we’re going through this process. It doesn’t matter about the details of the project until you get past the credibility pieces. When I work with my coaching clients, one of the very first things we do is I have them tell me, “What are the steps of your presentation? What does your home visit look like? What does it look like piece by piece? Walk me through it.” For the last several, what’s happened is the credibility piece has been out of place. They’ve gone through the whole, “Traditionally we were trained, we’ll take them to the thermostat first and start talking about that and build rapport along the way.” No, you don’t need to do that. People know why you’re there. You’re there to be friendly and professional. You’re not there to be their friend. Cut the stupid 30-minute rapport-building session, talking about the pictures on the wall and their pug because it doesn’t matter. Unless you see something that you’re truly passionate about and you have a conversation for a minute, that’s fine. That’s great if you both happen to be into the same things or went to the same school or something. They don’t want you to become their new best friend. If you try to do that, it’s so fake. They’ll see through it immediately. Be friendly, not a friend. It’s a huge difference. You have to grasp that.

You’re doing your thing. How many times has the homeowner instantly turned and just tapped? They instantly turn around and start walking to the equipment, “You need to see the furnace or you need to go in the attic. I bet you need to do this.” The turn of phrase you use is very simple. It’s not weird, just say, “Absolutely, I definitely want to check that out but first, is there a place I can set some of this down? I carry a notepad, I carry my presentation book, I carry a whole folder of our information for the client. All this stuff is in my hand so there’s no way I’m going to take notes while I’m trying to juggle all of that.” Anyway, as some of you carry a computer bag, all these kinds of things, they see that on your shoulder though.

The homeowner needs to be directed in the visit. They need to communicate what steps are in order and what it’s going to look like. The easy way to do that is to say, “I want to check the equipment out but first, is there somewhere where I can set this down and we can go over a few things first? That way, I’m clear what you’re asking me to do now.” It’s the exact same thing that a doctor does. You go to a doctor’s appointment, they don’t start looking you over with no idea what they’re looking at. They could be inspecting your ankle because they see some, “You’ve got this little bump on your ankle.” “That’s not why I’m here, Doc. I’m here for my shoulder.” Until they ask you the questions, they have no idea what’s wrong with you.

You get to wherever you’re going, you set something down. Here’s where the introduction starts is you ask them, “Who referred you to us? How much do you know about our company?” When you ask, “Who referred you to us?” that’s where they’re going to tell you. I’ve had Angie’s List refer to Angie’s List clients. Since we are the top–rated company in our town on Angie’s List, which is awesome, “I love that you found us on Angie’s List. Did you read some of the reviews? I love that.” You might have even seen my name in there a few times. There’s always something like that but it’s fine. It’s fun but always ask where who referred. When you’re asking who referred you to us, that’s placing in their mind that we love referrals and we expect referrals from happy clients. It’s planting the seeds.

Taking Control Of Appointments: The homeowner needs to be directed in the visit. They need to be communicated what steps are in order and what it’s going to look like.

Once you get past that, great, “How much do you know about our company?” Then the answer is of course typically either, “We had you out for service a couple of times,” or the answer may be nothing at all, “We saw you were rated really well online.” Here’s where the intro starts. “Our clients tell us it’s important to know about the company and the person they’re working with. We think that’s important too. I’d like to take a second to tell you about me and my company. Would that be all right?” By asking permission to get into that part of it, they’re opening the door for you to talk about yourself, talk about the company, and build credibility there because they’re now open to hearing about you and the company. You have to ask permission at each stage of the visit.

They say yes and then the company introduction. I’ll tell you a snippet of ours. Your company introduction doesn’t have to be long but it has to include some key qualities about the company. With us, it sounds like this, “We’re a family–owned and operated company. We’re not a chain. We’re not a franchise. Most of the other big companies in town are owned by somebody else, so you’re just a number. With us, it’s about building relationships.” Then I’ll talk about being a factory-authorized dealer with a brand of equipment that we handle, “What that means to you, Mr. Homeowner/Ms. Homeowners, is all of our people are our employees. We don’t use any subcontractors, so everyone is background-tested, drug-screened, and factory-trained. That way we know exactly who we’re putting in your home and we know what they know because we trained them. Everything is to our standard.” Then point to this award, “We have a couple of what are called President Awards, which means that we have a lower number of early breakdowns and warranty returns than any of the surrounding companies in our town that install the same brand in the first ten years of the warranty period that comes with your new equipment. How great does that sound?” That’s the intro about the company.

It wasn’t long, but it included some key elements, so we can refer back to it later if any type of objection doors come up and they try to pry them open. We already covered it. A good example of one of those would be, “Why are you this much more expensive than this guy? Can you cut your price down?” That’s when you can go back and say, “Remember we talked about that award for a lower number of warranty returns than anyone else including that company? That’s because we don’t cut corners. Which part of the installation do you want me to cut out so I can match their price? Because if their system only lasts half as long or is years less than ours and we’re talking about a price difference of only that much, have they saved you anything if you have to do this again?”

Introduce Yourself

It’s a great way to turn back around and say, “Remember we talked about that?” They’ll say, “Yeah, I remember that. Never mind.” That’s the company intro and then getting into the intro about yourself. The company piece is first. It’s first for an important reason because it’s the umbrella and then you’re under that umbrella. I’ll just give you mine. Here’s what I use with every single client that I have, “I’ve been in the industry for about fifteen years. I started off as an autocrat years ago on the installation crew.” It usually gets a giggle. “Then I moved into service and then I owned my own company in our state for about five years near a certain town.” Always throw what town that is in case anybody is from there. “I’m licensed in this state, I wasn’t selling newspaper ads last week. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s not what I was doing,” that usually gets a little bit of a laugh as well, “but more importantly, they know that I’ve been in this for the long haul and I’m an expert in my field and what I do.”

Set The Agenda

From there, the rest is, “I have an agenda for our meeting today to help you best. I’d like to go over that with you now if that’s all right.” “Sure, okay.” They say they give you opening again, and give you approval to get into the agenda. By setting the agenda, we’re setting the context for the visit. The context is through at this point, they realize you’re in control and you’re a professional in this appointment and you know exactly what you’re doing and the steps you’re going to do it. The other thing we’re fixing in the setup is the context that you’re going to ask for the close at the end of the sale.

What the agenda looks like is, “I have a plan for our meeting today to help you best and to be most efficient.” People want to hear that it’s going to be efficient, “With that, first what we’re going to do is I’m going to ask you some questions about your home. You get to tell me what your concerns are and what you’re experiencing, living in your home. Then based on your answers, then I’ll investigate including the attic, the basement or crawl space, and everything that we talk about and use obviously what pertains to your market. Once I’ve done that, taken the measurements, looked at the whole house as a big picture, then we’ll get back together and we’ll go over the solutions that it’s going to take to fix the problems that you say you have. Then we’ll sit back down, we’ll show you all those things that it’s going to take and then we’ll work together to come up with a proposal that you’ll accept. That way, we’re a team solving your problems. Does that sound good?” “Awesome.”

You never get a no at that point. Everyone says yes and so they understand you’re going to be working together to come up with the right–sized proposal for their project. That’s it. That’s the intro and the agenda, which is important to set up the context of the visit. In that whole process, there was a lot of psychology that we covered. The first thing was we’re in control. The second is we’re professional. We’re here to be friendly but not be their friend. That means also we’re going to be very efficient with time. There’s no need for a two or three–hour appointment. I’ve heard of people having that long of an appointment every time they’re in the house and that is absolutely too long. You will lose the homeowner’s attention if that’s going on.

Ten years ago when I was training in this, my average appointment time went from two hours to three hours when I started doing all these stuff. I would lose almost like beating them down and wearing them down and it’s ridiculous. There’s no need for that anymore. You can be professional to the point without beating somebody down. You can’t see nearly as many people in a day. There’s no way for you to be efficient if that’s going on every time. The three credibility pieces are the company, your organization, that they need to be confident it’s the right company, that you as a representative of that company, that you have your act together and you know what’s going on. People don’t expect us to always know the answer but they do expect us to be able to immediately access the answer to any questions they have. We can make a phone call, we can look it up with our resources, whatever it is. They don’t want you to always know the answer but they expect you to be able to access the answer. The credibility for yourself that you are the right representative to come up with the solution for their problem. Then the third component that they have to be certain about is the project itself, and what solutions you’re offering.

That’s a whole other podcast of how to properly present your solutions to what they say they’re going through, which we’re going to do soon. How you have that conversation completely eliminates them trying to commoditize what they’re buying from you into a commodity that they can compare to the next company. It’s how you present your solutions and what you include in the package. We’ll talk about that in a subsequent podcast. That’s how to do the intro, and how to set the context, which is the context is the environment of the visit. Setting up the fact that they’re not going to lead you around all over the house.

You will usually have some clients that are ADD people that are like, “You’re an ADD kid, right? You should have Ritalin. Where’s your Ritalin now?” Setting up the context, that you’re in control and you’re going to lead the visit. That doesn’t mean that it has to be low energy. It does mean that it needs to be structured and you’re leading the structure. If you think that you can modulize this and move some of these components out of place, what happens is if you say you take the company component and the component about the credibility for the company and yourself and you move it to the end after you’ve investigated all the equipment, and then you sit back down at the table and say like, “Let’s talk about the company,” they’ve already either forgotten about what you were looking at the house or they had more importantly. The way psychology works is because they don’t have confidence in you and your organization yet, when you’re going through the problems and the solutions, they don’t believe that it’s going to solve the problem because you haven’t built up why you’re the expert yet. That’s absolutely what happens.

Taking Control Of Appointments: You have to set the credibility of the organization and yourself up first so they listen to you with a different level of understanding.

Take anything for example, if you don’t know who someone is, there’s a lot less value. You could literally be sitting across the table from maybe Warren Buffett. He’s one of the richest men in the world. If you’ve never seen him before, you don’t know how much value sits across the table from you or what an expert he is. You might have questions about money and how to make money and how to invest. If you didn’t know who you were sitting across the table from, you wouldn’t even know to ask them and you definitely wouldn’t take anything that they’re telling you with the same value than if you knew who he was. If you already understood his credibility, then everything he tells you, you’re going take it to a completely different level. You’re going to value differently. You’re going to listen differently. You’re going to take notes. You’re going to do everything you can to record the conversation. Whereas if you just think he’s just some old guy sitting across the table and especially if you look at his house. He lives in the same $30,000 house that he bought when he was broke.

If you judge that book by its cover, you don’t know its credibility. You’re not going to listen at the same level and it’s the same thing with this appointment. You have to set the credibility of the organization and yourself up first so everything else the rest of the way, they listen to you with a different level of understanding and level that they understand that your credibility stands, the company’s credibility stands behind what you’re talking about. When you see something that they talk about, a problem they’re having, and something you’re experiencing, that’s when you can say things like, “I know exactly what you’re talking about. We hear this all the time. Our company has developed the perfect solution for that. We fix this all the time so it’s commonplace for us. We treat you unique but don’t feel like your problem is because we have the right solution for it.”

You can have that type of conversation. When you can speak on that level to a client, they 100% become your partners working together to solve the problem now instead of, “You’re just somebody here trying to sell me something that I may not believe is going to fix my problem,” because that’s exactly what goes on if they don’t understand the credibility that you’re there to serve them in the way that you fix their problem all the time. That is my message. You’ve got to set the context of the appointment. You have to do the credibility pieces in the right order. The third credibility piece is of course the solution.

To recap, step one is to introduce the company. Step two, introduce yourself. Step three, set the agenda. Don’t let them take you to the attic or take you to the basement, take you to the equipment if you haven’t done this process because it’s very important and very powerful. Even if they say, “I just have a few minutes,” that’s great, no problem, we’ll buzz right through this but do not skip this step or you’ll leave yourself completely vulnerable at the end when it comes to the close.

If you got some value from this one, share it with somebody. Sharing is caring. I love that this community is growing so quickly. We’re listened to in eight countries now around the world and it’s growing faster and faster all the time. The website is being built. We’ve got an online community on the Facebook groups so go find, Close It Now Sales Training. Join there. I love to keep this conversation going. I love to hear your biggest takeaways. What are you learning that is helping you in your sales every day? Drop me a line. I will talk to you soon.

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