Friday, June 17, 2016

"There Is A Reason It's Called A Sales 'Interview'"

When people come to our showroom or website, they are curious - about what we offer and if there is anything we provide that they might need or be able to use. They are asking themselves questions as they peruse our website or walk around our showroom - even before or in addition to any personal contact they might have with us.

They are interviewing us - albeit one-sided - to determine if they like what they see so far and want to continue learning about us. If they figure that we aren't a good fit for them, our prices are unrealistic, or our selection doesn't align with their expectations, they may terminate the interview 9evaluation) at that point. We might not even know that any of this has occurred.

While we can't please everyone - and we don't really want to except in being available, approachable, pleasant, and professional - we should at least look like we have the knowledge and experience to assist them should they want our help.

When they do actually engage us - over the phone, by email, or in-person (at our location, a home show, or their home) - they are going to have a series of questions to ask us. They want to determine our level of expertise, our appreciation for their needs, and our potential ability to address what they would like done.

Based on our response, they will move us to the top of the list of candidates for them to consider employing for their job, keep us in the running for possible consideration, or dismiss us. Assuming that the job aligns with our business model and general scope of services, we would really like for it to be the first one. 

However, maybe we don't want to work with them or the job isn't something that we should undertake. So, we have to do our own interview. Call it discovery, needs assessment, or whatever other term you want to apply, we must determine what they want, what their budget is, what they have considered or seen so far, and how realistic their expectations are.

Based on this overall picture, we can feel good about continuing to get to know them and getting serious about helping them, or we can politely walk away - knowing that this is not a good use of our time.

When two sides get together to talk about potential remodeling or aging-in-place solutions - the consumer or client and us - an interview is going to ensue. They are going to be sizing us up, and we are going to be evaluating them. When there is a good meeting of the minds, and the potential job is a good fit for what we offer, we can feel good about proceeding with the assignment. Conversely, it may be something that we should not undertake.

It's called a sales interview because each side is evaluating the other through a series of questions and non-verbal signals to learn if they feel good about the prospects of working together. The customer won't always choose us, and we won't always agree to perform the proposed job. This is part of the interview process.
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Steve HoffackerCAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.