Reply by Jake

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Posted on Avoiding tyre kickers

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850 posts in 1808 days

#1 posted 01-16-2014 07:23 AM

As a custom solution salesperson I can relate to what you are facing and I will say, that educating a customer ‘for free’ will be a big part of your job, at least until you start working referrals only. Once you get to referrals only your life can be a bliss or a nightmare, because obviously high end customers will refer you to high paying customers and the opposite is true also. Cheap customers lead to cheap referrals. But that means that you might have to turn down a lot of customers in the beginning until you wade through the BS, because you really don’t want to have previous projects on your homepage that cost 200$ while you are trying to sell a 4000$ vanity.

Keeping that in mind, I think educating your customer and qualifying a customer is just what you could call a part of your pipeline and think of it as paying forward. I would not pay for a consult, before knowing anything about the end result, and neither would most other people. Qualifying a customer means that you need to know if they have the money you ask, otherwise it does not matter how good of a salesperson you are, they just can’t buy. A simple qualifying question over the phone could be “So why did you decide to go for a custom-made piece” (2 key things that should be done in the first conversation by phone, 1: Make sure to convey the idea that you are not a box store So you will be more expensive. 2: Have them shortly sell their need for a custom-piece to you)

In addition, as previously stated, you should really meet a customer face to face. People like to buy from people they like and a lot gets lost in terms of a personal touch when business is conducted by phone only. After you have established a relationship this is no longer necessary, but initially 1-3 meetings might be required to have them trust you and be willing to buy.

As far as the text goes, there is a few key things that I would change, see the sentences I would change with comments:

With this information, I will prepare an initial drawing and email it to you for review, along with an estimate of how much the project is going to cost.

- I prefer a firmer approach when putting things in writing, I CAN do a lot of things, that doesn’t mean I WILL do them. But once I have been on the phone, met with the customer discussed everything about the project and I have qualified that they have the money, I WILL make a sketch for them, because making things visual for the customer helps me sell better.

Once a design is approved I will use the drawing to work out the cost of materials, how long the piece will take to make and finish, and give a firm quotation.

- Same applies as the explanation above

If the design and quotation meet with your approval, I require a 30% deposit before commencing any work.

- Definitely take away the would from the deposit. If a deposit is what is required, it has to be required, if you have would in there, it can and will give an illusion that this is negotiable, but it should not be negotiable, after all the energy you have put in there, you need to get a deposit. Especially since people sometimes get buyers remorse and you don’t want to have invested 1000$ and have them jump ship. In fact I would reccomend: If the design and quotation meet with your approval then depending on the work I will require a 30-50% deposit before commencing any work – This is a good thing to have, because then you can comfortably get 35-40% of a deposit, because some people like to get a discount and if you always start at 50% deposit you can meet them half way at 40%:) Additionally, this is the last qualifying step before starting work. If they want to buy a 1000$ Piece of furniture and they don’t have 300$ to pay you up front, then how will they have 1000$ in 4 weeks?

While the piece is being made I will keep you updated with photos and progress reports, and upon completion will arrange a convenient time for delivery/installation.
- Same applies as in first 2 can vs will explanations

By the way, only subtitute ‘can’ with ‘will’ if you are willing to do these things, meaning that if you promise that you will do something you will do it. I wrote more about that in one of our fellow LJ blog response here

I could go on a lot longer into sales psychology and techniques while selling with integrity, but I don’t have the time now, if you have any specific questions send me a PM or ask me here and I will try to be of use.

-- Measure twice, cut once, cut again for good measure.

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