I often take the opportunity to be an imposter prospect. To do
this, I go into a place of business where kitchen and bath products
are offered; I make sure it’s a place where I won’t be recognized.
I ask questions about product, service and design to see how the
designer/salespeople answer them, because I know that these are the
same answers that they are giving to their prospects. I also do
this to get a sense of how important my business would be to them
and what level of passion they have for their job. It’s amazing
what kind of responses I get.
Let me share some answers I have been given. In one business, I
asked to see the manager and asked questions about what would be
considered the firm’s best brand of cabinetry. I’ll add that this
was after the person behind the counter couldn’t answer the
simplest of questions. In fact, I felt my mere presence was an
intrusion. The answer I received from the manager was: “XXXXX is
the best we carry. In fact, it is the best cabinet built in
Another question I proposed was, “Where is the seam in this
solid surface top?” The answer: “This top is made special for us
and is made without any seams.”
Recently, a kitchen dealer in our market area advertised its
sales/designers as professional in complete kitchen and bath
remodeling. I called and asked the company’s designer how many
foot-candles of light should be on the task work areas in the
kitchen. The reply was, “Just put those little fluorescent lights
under the wall cabinets and that will be enough.”
In nearly every case where I was an imposter, I found a real
indifference from the salespeople. In many instances, it appeared
that I was an interference, and I was handled with an attitude of
“I’ll answer his question and then I hope he will leave.”
So, what does this mean
for people like you and me? It means opportunity opportunity to
pass on accurate information, and more of it, so that we will be
the trustworthy resource for our prospects’ projects.
To get that business, we need to liven up our presentations. We
need to make a difference to our prospects, and create an
environment where they will want to do business with us.
If you are enthused and have a passion for your work, your
prospect will feel it and will be enthusiastic about the project
and toward you. A selling attitude laced with enthusiasm is a
positive key difference between winners and losers.
I believe that you will liven up your presentation if you set
goals. Most goals measure our selling success and are expressed in
dollars, often in yearly or monthly terms. I have found, however,
if my goal is selling the next prospect, and I focus my energy on
the prospect’s needs and my offering fits, the sale is likely to
take place and the financial goals will take care of themselves.
Your energy when focused on the prospect and the project will
create a feeling of trust, and the prospective customer will
believe that you will make a difference.
To qualify a prospect, you need to know WHO who the customer is,
who is doing the work, who is involved in the decision process;
WHAT what type of product and services will be necessary to solve
the prospect’s needs and do we have what it takes; WHERE where is
the project located; and WHEN can you meet the completion date
Another way for you to liven up your sales presentation is to
always have control of the selling process. Early in the
sales/design process, let the prospects know how you operate what
they can expect from you and your firm. At the same time, let the
prospects know what will be expected from them so that a team
effort is created.
As your business changes and
grows, you will always find yourself working and changing your
processes to ensure success. Key elements will help you along the
Be a problem solver. This gets back to your industry knowledge
and ability to apply it toward the customers’ needs. Being the
prospect’s problem solver will bring you favorable results.
In addition, create a fun environment. I have a sales/designer,
Steve “Woody” Koehn, whose personality lends itself toward creating
a fun yet professional experience for his clients. I have had many
couples tell me after working with Woody what a good experience
they had that it was fun. Fun is not a bad word in selling, as long
as the environment stays professional.
I have always enjoyed using demonstrations in my selling process
so that the prospect can experience more than just looking at
displays. I want the prospect to experience the convenience of my
products and designs. I want the person to hear, smell, taste,
touch and see my offering. With demonstrations, we can prove to the
prospect that we have what he or she will want to own.
Demonstrations will liven up a presentation, and often the prospect
will make a greater investment with a better understanding of our
products and designs.
Demonstration is also a great way to create value before you
give the price. Price is never important until one knows what
benefits will be gained or losses be avoided. Demonstrations will
liven up your presentation if they are well practiced, properly
involve the prospect and promote benefits that will be important to
In addition, liven up your presentation by properly asking
questions beyond qualifying. What we know as salespeople isn’t
important until we know what the prospect knows. Without knowing
the selling targets, it is easy for the selling process to get
bogged down, lose momentum and weaken the opportunity to earn the
It’s important that you reflect on the experiences you have had
as a customer. Evaluate what you believe created a positive,
well-focused and lively presentation one that earned your trust and
business. I suspect that, when you do this, you will identify some
of the characteristics we have covered. Put these into practice in
your selling style and enjoy the success.