In the sequential order of events to make sales possible, you must ensure that the process of how the sale actually happens is placed firmly in your mind.
To review from part 1:
- Pre-approach or brand image
- Approach or initial contact
- Rapport building or trust building
- Information gathering or needs assessment
- Presentation or outlining preference
- Asking for sale or closing.
The actual meeting of the prospect for the rest of the sequence is another very important step.
Your brand image caused the action of the contact.
Your follow-up meeting is where the customers'' idea of their needs is met with their expectations of you and whether or not your company is exactly what they expected.
An example of this expectation is when you are sitting in a doctor''s waiting room.
We have all done this and have a certain expectation of what is about to happen.
Suppose you are seated in the doctor''s exam room, you hear some movement outside the door, the door opens and the "doctor" enters wearing a bloodstained t-shirt, ripped jeans and grease under his or her fingernails.
Suffice it to say your expectations would not have been met.
Don''t Become Lost In The Confusion
Customers have a "mind picture" of whom they called from the brand image message sent.
Most customers do not think very often about cleaning and maintenance, so they revert to their understanding of the cleaning and maintenance process, which may or may not be technically correct.
They have an idea in their head of "what or who" is going to show up for the meeting; this is an expectation we cannot manage — yet.
Managing expectation is not available to us at this stage because we don''t own any place in the customer''s mind this early in the process.
This is where most sales are lost in the confusion.
We expect the customer to know all about us: Who we are, our mission, past successes, community involvement and our press clippings.
Customers do not usually open themselves easily to new experiences.
This must be understood to allow the selling process to help manage the customer''s mindset.
An easy way to accomplish this strategy is to ensure you dress, act and speak professionally throughout the entire contact phase of the sequence.
From the initial phone inquiry — which must be handled to the customer''s perceived expectation of professional response — to the initial physical interaction, you are essentially "on stage."
Every movement, handshake and mannerism is on display for the customer to interpret.
This is the process you can manage to your advantage.
Training everyone that speaks to customers to be as professional as possible is paramount to your step two success.
You should have all staff trained to interact with customers in a way that matches your brand image.
This training should be well thought out — think Nordstrom''s — with all of your company vision and mission fully intertwined in the training language.
Many cleaning companies do not fully utilize this process to its fullest extent for successful sales.
Remember, each of the steps builds on one another; none can be skipped and each step must be fully understood so you can match your company language and mission at each step.
Customers can be fickle and miss the message. It is your job to make sure you are what you claim to be.
If you are looking for different ideas to foster these types of relationships with customers, contact Dane Gregory, a business consultant and trainer specializing in working with companies in the professional cleaning industry. He currently trains technicians in the use of cleaning protocols for stone, tile and masonry surfaces for Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). He also presents a business opportunity for newcomers in the cleaning industry in the care of ceramic tile, stone and grout, with a full equipment and training package. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.