When asked for a definition of ‘sales’ or ‘selling’ people will often suggest that it is the art of persuading another person into buying something.
In my opinion, this is not selling.
For me, selling is not persuading someone to buy.
Selling is simply an exchange of information.
I have a product/service; you have a problem.
We exchange information until you can decide whether or not the product/service will solve your problem.
If it does, you will buy it.
If it does not, you won’t.
However, there is a third outcome.
If you are not sure if the product will solve your problem, you will also not buy it.
If you have ever had a customer say ‘I’ll think about it’ then you’ll be familiar with this third outcome.
Good selling is making sure you give the customer every bit of information they need to make a buying decision.
Let’s look at an example of something simple I recently bought. A gimbal for my phone.
A gimbal if you don’t know is a device that holds your phone / camera steady even when you are moving.
The advert popped up on Facebook for the gimbal at $12.99.
This caught my attention, but I still had questions before I was ready to buy.
This is where the selling happened. The advert had to give me enough information for me to make a buying decision.
My questions were as follows:
- Will my phone fit? – This was answered in the description as the company listed the compatible models
- Do they deliver to the UK? – The advert stated worldwide shipping
- Will I get stung by additional delivery charges? (I was concerned by the fact the price was in US dollars rather than pound sterling) – Fortunately the first comment on the post was from someone with the same question as me, and there was a response from the company saying there was no additional charges. Just expect 10-15 days for shipping.
- Is this a good price? – After a quick check on Amazon, I found out this was very cheap.
- What is the build quality like? – On the link provided were some customer reviews that put my mind at rest on this question.
- Is payment secure? – Paypal was an option, which made me feel more comfortable.
So that was that. By answering 6 simple questions, I went from an ‘interested’ customer to a ‘buying’ customer.
Now, this was a low value purchase for a relatively simple product.
However, regardless of price and product/service. The process is the same. It is simply the questions that need answering that change.
As a decorator, you are dealing with a much higher value service, which will therefore mean the customer needs answers to more complicated questions before they can make a decision.
Think about the questions a typical customer of yours will have and then work out how you answer them during the sales process.
For example, the customer may have the following questions:
- Will you do a good job? – You might answer this by showing them your portfolio. Or guiding them to your website where you have customer reviews and testimonials.
- What will happen if you damage something during the work? – You could answer this by explaining what your liability insurance covers.
- How long will the job take? – You will answer this by measuring the job and working out how long each process will take
- Am I getting ripped off? – You could explain the costs of materials and the skill/time required to complete each process and be as transparent as possible with your pricing.
- Will I get stung with additional charges? – You may have policies in place to combat this problem, and you will need to make this clear to the customer at some point.
The point is, when selling your decorating services, the customer will have a lot of questions they need answering before they make a decision.
Many more than I’ve listed above!
Plus, to make it more difficult, the customer will often not even ask all the questions they need answers to!
For example, if my questions about the gimbal were not answered in the advert and the comments, then I wouldn’t have phoned the company to find out. I would have simply not bought it.
Your customers will do the same!
It is your job to provide all the information they need to make an informed decision.
And not just provide it. You need to either tell them the information directly or make sure it is somewhere easy for the customer to find. Like in your proposal, on your leaflet or on your website.
Otherwise, they will just keep looking around until someone else gives them the information they need.
What questions do your customers typically ask? How do you answer them? Let me know in the comments or on social media so we can share the best methods with other decorators.