As we look at making sales for our aging in place solutions, products, or services, there are four main steps that stand out as important. They are (1) learn what the customer is seeking and what it will take to satisfy their wants, desires, or needs, (2) explain how what we offer does just that, (3) confirm that our solution matches their needs and prepare to ask for the order by eliminating any lingering questions or concerns, and (4) ask for the order, including on-going conversations and follow-up that may ensue to explain further what is available, facilitate a decision, or keep the client engaged until a decision can happen.
With the sub-steps listed within these four, one could argue that there are more than four steps involved. There could be, but it's possible to make a sales with just these main four - or even the first, second, and last by skipping over step three and going right to number four.
So, let's begin with that all important first step. To get started in making a sale, after we have identified the person interested in engaging our services - finding and generating this potential client is part of marketing and the subject of another post later, we likely sit with them in their living room or at the kitchen table. It's also possible that they have met us at a home show or at our office. We explore what they are looking for in a solution, why what they have now isn't sufficient for their needs, and how they think a change will be an improvement for them.
We need to determine a budget, if they have contacted or considered anyone else for this work, how soon they want the improvements completed, if there are any special considerations we need to be aware of, when we can begin, who the decision maker is going to be and if there are others that need to be consulted before that decision is reached, and if we think we need to involve any of our strategic partners in this project.
The reason this first step is such an important one is because it defines what needs to be done. If we don't pay attention, don't ask enough questions - or enough of the right ones, don't listen well to the answers, and even suggest a solution based more on what we want rather than what is desired by the client, we are not going to be selected to proceed.
The client needs help, and we know that we are the one to provide it - assuming we think that this potential job aligns well with our business model. Until we convince the client that we are the one to do the work, however, they won't know it.
Some potential clients are going to know what they want done before our meeting with them ever begins, others are going to have a general idea that they will share with us - especially of what isn't working, and still others are going to want us to suggest to them what we think needs to be done to help their situation.
Then, it's on to step number two.