The question was posed on linked in yesterday, asking about closing techniques to use for "price shoppers". As I was responding, I realized that I had a lot more to say and I thought it would be a great topic for today's blog.
"Closing" a sale was always a hard thing for me to do because I had a bad taste in my mouth for "Salesmen" and I didn't really want to be one. I realized after doing a lot of work and not hearing back from potential customers that something had to change.
There are a lot of closing techniques out there and some of them work for me and some I could never see myself doing. What I found works the best, is closing the sale early in the process. In other words, make the customer feel like there isn't anyone else out there that they would rather work with to design and supply cabinets for their kitchen. Here are a few ways that I did that.
1) I always had a pen and a note pad in my hand and I wrote down everything that was talked about at our first meeting.
2) I asked open ended questions that started with "Who", "What", "When", "Where", and "Why". These are questions that cannot be answered with yes or no answers. For example, What type of cooking do like to do most? She may say " I really love to bake but my kitchen is so unorganized that it's hard to do". It gets the customer talking and you can really get a feel for what is and isn't iimportant to them. When I saw there eyes light up while talking about a certain topic light baking for instance, I would note "Baking" as a "Hot Button".
3) I talked about lighting and how important it was to the overall project. I asked them if they meet with other kitchen designers, to see if they bring up lighting at all. I dropped a few lighting tips to let them know that I knew what I was talking about and that I was passionate about it.
4) I offered to do a free lighting plan with their design, if they choose to go with me for the project.
5) I set up a second meeting right then to go over my potential design, based on the information they had. If I had to visit the site for measurements, I set that up right then also.
6) at the second meeting, I presented a design that had everything in it that we talked about. I put personal notes on the plan that let them know that I was really listening. For instance I might have designed a killer island with a lower surface for rolling dough. It would have a note that said "Butcher block top at 32" off of the floor for rolling dough". It would have notes for "flour bin" and "sugar bin" and "cookie cutter drawer" I would really get them excited over their potential new kitchen.
7) Then, after the presentation, I would give them the price. Sometimes they would say. "We need to think about it, can we take the drawings home with us and talk about it?" I would say, "You are welcome to take the drawings if you want to give me a design retainer which is 10% of the cost of the kitchen". If they went with me for the project, that fee would be applied to the price of the kitchen. That's what they call the "takeaway close" You get them really excited obut the design and then you say they can't have it. I would just explain to them that I put a lot of work into this design for them and it's free if they go with me, but if they want to shop around, then I want the other guys to prove to them that they are as good as I am.
I think the key to this approach is that I was genuine. I really cared about my customers and I really wanted them to get the best kitchen possible. When people see that you care and that you are passionate about what you do, It really gives you a leg up over the competition.