Along with the times, consumers’ purchasing decisions evolve constantly to suit new trends and technology. That being said, it’s important to seasonally reevaluate your sales strategy to ensure that you’re consistently closing deals month after month.
As far as tradie habits go, focusing on skill development and actual work means it can become easy to neglect building your client list. What with the tradie market growing increasingly crowded, mature, and competitive, you may want to consider employing these underrated sales techniques.
8 Underrated Tradie Sales Techniques
- Be where your clients need you
- Offer membership services and loyalty programs
- Collaborate with other tradies
- Talk numbers comfortably
- Ask the right questions
- Sell solutions, not relationships
- Tell stories differently
- Keep selling to existing customers
Be where your clients need you
It goes without saying that how much business you receive is directly correlated to your visibility. After all, clients can’t reach out wherever you aren’t. Allow your sales and marketing strategies to function as a tandem. Whether by means of social media, search engine optimisation, or paid ads, be where your prospects expect to seek your services.
If utilised efficiently, free tools such as Google Ads or Google My Business can place you on trusted online directories. A quick campaign set-up can link out reviews on your business to prospective clients—but you’ll want to be other places too.
Presenting a brand consistently across various platforms alone can boost revenue by up to 23%. Social selling in various industries has since made up for half of all revenue, which makes a Facebook page or Instagram account seem a ton less trivial.
This isn’t to say, of course, that presence is enough—meaningful content and engagement make for the foundation of your strategy. Whether a returning client or one you didn’t quite manage to book, a simple follow-up could encourage them to stay invested.
Keeping in touch with leads by simple means of answering inquiries and providing updates demonstrates proactivity. You can remain front-of-mind by checking in periodically via email or even letterbox drops. With the return of vintage and old-school, coupled with the location-specific nature of tradies, mail still remains a reliable method of advertising.
Offer membership services and loyalty programs
Customer retention is an aspect of trade many seem to overlook. New prospects can be exciting, but the probability of selling to them is a challenging 5-20%. Your chances of selling to existing customers is healthier at a meaty 60-70%. The statistic goes to show that relationship-building is key to procuring reliable income and general industry survival.
Think of it this way—a long-term home doesn’t only require building and renovation. It also demands maintenance. Employing a membership service can act as a straightforward sales technique—a doorway to booking more maintenance tasks when you offer yearly or bi-yearly inspections.
Similarly, loyalty or referral programs can be a great business advantage. In fact, 64% of retailers point to a loyalty or rewards program as the most effective method of staying connected with consumers. How so?
You can entice returning customers to recommend your business through various incentives that include a point-earning system, upgraded materials, freebies, or shortened delivery timelines. (Remember—free advice counts as a giveaway!) People are more often enticed to perform an action when they benefit from it.
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Rewarding them through a referral program is also an opportunity to increase leads while being cost-effective. Word-of-mouth is a tactic that has long survived many eras of advertising, and continues to prove its usefulness.
In the long run, maintaining relationships with current clients can help with future sales. Imagine—the more comfortably you can evaluate your performance with a client, the better you can deliver to future prospects.
Collaborate with other tradies
As tradition states it, keep your friends close and competitors closer—then become collaborators. As with any industry, those with similar to identical specialties will be playing tug-of-war with the same customers. Ideally, you not only perform, but market yourself well enough to become a top choice. Or you can choose to recommend one another for different services.
After all, it takes dozens of hired professionals to build a home—particularly one from scratch. Beyond a general contractor, future homeowners will also need to hire suppliers, utility companies, an architect, designer, realtor, and, of course, various tradespeople.
No business is stranger to healthy competition. In fact, 30% of professional tradespeople aged 45 and up are now having to make space for the 40% in the 25-44 bracket. Competition gives you ample opportunity to get ahead of the game. Collaboration, however, allows everyone to cross the finish line and is a sales technique you’ll want to consider.
Sure, competition drives results—but ones that are motivated by fear of underperformance and are inherently individualistic. Collaboration removes ego and promotes positivity, teamwork, and creativity.
It doesn’t always necessitate business partnerships. Most times, they occur most efficiently through idea-sharing, and reinforcing best practices. The more businesses learn to streamline their operational procedures, the greater everyone’s chances of pushing their unique sector forward.
Talk numbers comfortably
Numbers are a difficult conversation to have, whether you open or close with them. How you approach them, however, can become a sales technique that works to your advantage. Making numbers palatable isn’t simply a matter of what you talk about, but when and how.
When it comes to finances, transparency is key—especially from the get-go. Six of ten prospects prefer to discuss numbers on the first call. It’ll give them time to determine their ballpark figure, and consider how they might adjust, should they need to.
Still, avoid putting them on the spot. “How much are you willing to spend?” is never an attractive question. Instead, consider asking what the absence of your service might be costing them—they’ll realise they need you.
Connect cash to value. Align your numbers with efforts you can comfortably commit, and talk what net financial impact a customer can reasonably expect from said solution.
Hurdling money-speak is as simple as turning your prices into facts. When you know what you’re talking about, it becomes obvious to the customer. The greater the trust, the greater your chances of closing a sale.
Ask the right questions
When it comes to big investments, questions naturally become part of the equation—but asking the right ones is imperative. Build deeper interest by letting your prospects do the talking. Ask meaningful questions that address the following:
- Whether your offer serves the client’s needs. Ask about a client’s current process and how an outsourced solution might help their case. You’ll be able to adjust your services according to what might better suit their needs. Plus you’ll also get a sense of who their decision-makers are, what roles other team members fill, and how best to approach them.
- Underscore your client’s ongoing problem. Touch on pain points to convince prospects that they need your services. Ask, “What difficulties do you encounter most with this aspect of your business?” It’ll encourage prospects to realise they should outsource in the first place.
- Create urgency. Nothing makes a prospect think like the question, “What do you stand to lose if you don’t take on our services?” Focusing on the negative impact of a problem with the potential to escalate encourages a more immediate response.
- Allow clients to grasp the value of a solution you offer. Providing a solution with obvious benefits is one thing—but getting your prospects to realise and specify these benefits themselves is another. By asking how your services can positively impact a prospect’s business, they are more likely to realise an agreeable solution on their own.
Sell solutions, not relationships
Let’s get one thing straight—long-term bonds are never a bad thing. If anything, you’ll get to see an entire family transition from house-to-home, and become their preferred consultant. Still, not everyone can spare the time.
Some prospects are better informed than others, and juggle too many options to afford steering away from the point. These customers are looking for something new; at the very least, an option not yet considered. In this case, what sales techniques work best?
An innovative, eye-opening approach
Present your prospects with an a-ha! moment. Focus on educating. After all, they’re consulting with you as an expert, someone who can uncover needs they hadn’t previously acknowledged.
Standard solution-selling connects identified needs to specific capabilities, something that doesn’t set you apart from competitors. Fact is, 60% of deals are lost to prospects backing out as opposed to rivaling companies. This is because the status quo bias keeps them stagnant.
Introduce non-linear procedures. Help your customers to reach business goals by breaking norms.
A tailored approach that isn’t over-personalised
For the duration of a single sales cycle, you meet various people with individual goals. Align your approach by familiarising yourself with their particular company culture. Mimic their mindset—but don’t get too personal.
People appreciate being spoken and catered to directly until it feels like a gimmick. Incorporating personal details into an email or a phone call can be invasive, and an opportunity for prospects to opt-out.
Instead, personalise your approach by industry. Provide compelling information about similar industry struggles, and how you have previously handled such encounters.
Never try too hard to fit in. Use you-phrasing, as it places personal responsibility on your prospects, and still separates you as buyer and seller.
In the end, if you’re lucky, you won’t only close the deal, but enjoy a two-way exchange of information and value.
Tell stories differently
A no-fail, straight-to-the-point trust-builder has always been a positive track record. If prospects believe in your successes, who’s to say your services won’t work in their favour? Still, you’re going to have to tell your story in a way that isn’t tired or overused.
Ever heard of PowerPoint? Of course you have—it gets static and mind-numbing. Clip art and bullet points are familiar tools. They’re also equally as outdated, highlighted by the fact that many find hand-drawn presentations to be more persuasive, credible, and engaging than PowerPoint slides.
You’re better off showcasing your products and services through visual narratives, whether by means of a whiteboard, tablet, or video. Messaging is just as important.
Standing out is far beyond using buzzwords. Actually, you’ll probably want to avoid them. Instead, separate yourself by telling stories with contrast. Talk about before and afters. Talk about nows and then.
Link up facts with emotion—how your customers felt after a long-drawn project, and how you felt being capable to assist. Storytelling is a sales technique better off not being too clouded by data.
Keep selling to existing customers
Booking a prospect once doesn’t guarantee a return. More often than not, the industry welcomes a team with more advanced inventory tools or efficient machinery. Tradies won’t stop advancing, so you’ll want to convince your existing clients that you’re still the safest choice.
Present renewal or expansion not as a daunting change, but as a way to keep evolving. But not everyone is privy to entertaining something new. This makes it your responsibility to know when to remain with a customer’s status quo or challenge their way of thinking.
That said, butting heads is a risk you’ll constantly have to take. In which case, you’ll have to know when to apologise, and how. The anatomy of an apology is fairly candid:
- Acknowledge your service failure.
- Express regret.
- Explain the problem.
- Offer an achievable resolution.
- Promise not to repeat the circumstances.
Service failure is hardly enjoyable but often presents itself as an opportunity not only to rebuild but increase loyalty.
Whether prospecting or closing, these underrated tradie sales techniques are some you may not have heard of, or others you know inherently but haven’t quite performed successfully. Whatever the case, you’ll want to be armed with a handbook of methods to practice and keep certain constants in mind:
- Never stop thinking critically. Read the room (and your notes). Consider clever ways to alleviate concerns or objections.
- Risks are necessary. Exit your comfort zone from time to time, but know when to pull back.
- Think of business value, and keep in mind to listen to your prospect. Understand their needs and foster open communication. Let them talk.
You don’t need to sell to everyone you encounter. But when you do, you best be prepared with a course of action—even (and especially) one that’s underrated.