“Sales is just a transfer of what you believe in,” says Mark Matteson, best-selling author and international speaker. Mark should know. Starting out as a refrigeration technician, he successfully sold commercial service agreements for several years. Now when he speaks with current technicians he tells them: “You are the best salespeople in the company because you already have the relationships. Just tell the customer what you would do if this was your mother’s house.”
Recently I heard Mark speak about getting and keeping customers at a Sage-sponsored webcast presented by Contracting Business and Contractor magazines. Mark had some great stories to tell peppered with sound advice for HVACR, plumbing, and other contractors wanting to improve sales.
Here are some of my favorites from the session:
- Get your team together and ask yourself, ‘Who is our ideal client . . . and why.’
When Mark made the transition from service technician to sales person, he focused his efforts on a specialized niche: two to five-story buildings, owner occupied, and seven to 12 years old. Using that criteria, he would target 75 buildings to get 50 names, to talk with 40 people, to get 20 appointments, for 10 proposals, to close 5 sales. Know who to target, Mark says, then go after them systematically.
- The most important person in your company is the person who answers your phone.
To underscore this point at a previous seminar, Mark asked for volunteers who would allow him to make a call, on the spot, to their company. On the first call the person on the other end of the line handled the conversation perfectly and everyone clapped. The second call, on the other hand, was so bad you could hear a pin drop in the seminar room. Let’s just say the person who answered the phone that day, probably no longer works there. As Mark points out we are all vice presidents of first impressions.
- The challenge for most salespeople, especially if they’re new, is they think they have to tell. Telling isn’t selling.
Mark is a big proponent of active listening. He learned that lesson early in his career when visiting a potential customer who liked to talk about everything but his air conditioning service needs. Mark listened anyway and says from a sales perspective “it ended up being a half million dollar conversation and all I did was ask two questions and listen.”
The insights Mark packed into the one-hour webinar can’t possibly be covered in one blog post. So we recorded the session if you like to hear more, including tips from what he’s learned in 40 years of selling.
To listen to the recorded session, register here.