Rick Davis

The things you say about your product and services are not nearly as important as the things other people say, particularly if they are credible experts in the field. The best way to illustrate this powerful concept is with a story of the joint sales call between the dealer salesperson and an in-home contractor representative.

The in-home contractor representative takes the lead for the sales call by establishing rapport and understanding the consumer. Then he turns to the dealer salesperson and asks her to present the product. She does a fine job explaining the product features, warranties, and company history. The problem is that the homeowner expected her to push the product; after all it's her product. It might have been an accurate presentation, but not necessarily influential. There is a better way.

Change the dialogue and imagine that, instead of bragging about her product, she endorses the contractor as an expert in installation and service. She explains, "I've worked with numerous contractors in this market and I am always amazed at the wonderful things they say about Joe's work. He's the best and you should realize that selecting the right contractor is as important, or even more so, than selecting the right product. Joe is the right contractor." She has established her role as the credible authority by being an unbiased industry expert who is able to say things about the contractor, Joe, which he can't say about himself.

Joe the contractor, surprised and grateful, thanks her, turns to the homeowner, and sincerely says, "Well, I didn't expect that. I just expected Sheila to tell you about product. I want you to know that Therma-Tru is the product I'm recommending today because I've installed and serviced many other doors, but nobody makes a better product today. I have numerous products to choose from, but this is the brand I recommend because my customers have always been the happiest with this product."

Bingo! That's the credible authority in action again. The contractor truly can choose from many products. Therefore his unbiased recommendation of Sheila's product wields more leverage. This is one principle you should leverage when delivering sales presentations. If you want to upsell, teach the salespeople who work directly for the consumer. This should be no problem at all.

If you value yourself as a true selling expert, then you should have the confidence to become a sales advisor to your contractor clients. Considering that most of them are former laborers turned entrepreneurs, their expertise typically centers on operational issues such as scheduling, installation, and service. In other words, selling and marketing are not usually their strong suits. Teach them the power of the "credible authority" and other sales principles that work.

  1. Demonstrate the Law of Contrast. I noted in another article in this edition the power of the "Best, Better, Good" selling approach. The consumer who is presented the lowest price option first will be reluctant to spend more money and, in fact, will shop to make sure the price on the cheapest item is fair. Studies have demonstrated that consumers presented with the highest price option of three items will gravitate towards the middle or higher priced option. The lower price option becomes a distant third choice. If you don't believe it, try it. It's the law of contrast and it works.
  2. Prospect for Homeowners instead of House Owners. Successful upselling begins by first identifying the right target audience. Recognize that not all individuals view their homes the same. A house owner sees the home as a shelter. A homeowner sees the home as a valuable asset and statement of status. The homeowner is the ideal target for upselling because these are the people who actually believe that spending more is a way to ensure quality. Successful businesspeople not only know who they want to do business with; they know who they don't want to do business with. Target homeowners instead of house owners. The latter won't be receptive to the upsell and the former relishes the opportunity to invest in their homes.
  3. Get Clients on Your Turf. It seems that everyone recognizes the power of selling in your own showroom. You probably agree that closing ratios go up significantly when you can get people to come to you. Salespeople amazingly ignore this powerful knowledge. Teach your contractor customers to invite consumers to their showrooms (or yours if they don't have one.) This changes the dialogue and turns the contractor from a price bidder to a sales consultant.

If you want to successfully upsell your products, then teach your contractor customers — builders and remodelers — to leverage their roles as the "credible authority" to the consumer. The credible authority is the professional without a stake in the game. In other words, they are unbiased experts who the consumer can trust. The next time you feel pressured to lower your price, try teaching your clients how to upsell.

Rick Davis is the President of Building Leaders and the premier sales trainer in the construction products industry. Visit his website www.buildingleaders.com to learn more about his 15-city spring tour for the "Beat the Price Objection" Seminar. Or reach him directly at: rickdavis@buildingleaders.com or 773-769-4409

Articles in Better Business, Marketing, R&R, Sales | April 01, 2014