Re-examining my sales approach allowed more opportunities while creating free time to manage work already sold.

When I first started doing sales at our company back in the late 1970s, it used to be easy to find at least one of the homeowners at home during the day.

It was easy back then to go on a sales call during the day. My goal for the sales call during the day was to try to keep my nights and weekends free. Free for what? I never ended up having time. I was always busy putting out fires from the day because I was busy flipping back and forth between running every sales call that came my way at the same time I was trying to run the jobs I had already sold.

No one was being served as well as they should.

What I was really doing by making a sales call during the day even back then was what we call in the sales training business a “one-legged sale.” The presentation was made to only one decision-maker, who I would then have to hope would relay the information I was giving him or her to the other person not in the room.

Want to guess how well that went?

As time went on, no one was at home during the day. By the 1980s, most homeowners who could afford my products and services had to have two people holding down jobs. As a result, I had to make myself available nights and weekends if I wanted to see anybody.

Want to guess how well that went?

Pretty soon I ended up running sales calls five nights a week and all weekend long. The frantic pace had me racing through sales calls, cutting short a meeting with one customer just so I could be at the next sales call at a specific time.

Potential customers didn’t value my time any better. They’d cancel without letting me know. Or there I’d be - back to making “one-decision-maker” sales calls at night and weekends as well.

I ended up working all the time and having little to show for it.

Sales Rescue

Good sales training to the rescue! I attended a sales workshop that taught me how to accommodate my customers’ schedules and still get them to value my time. In other words, it taught me how to maximize my own work day.

One secret the training taught me was to keep my days free to run the existing jobs I had sold so I could keep the fires to a minimum. The only exception was for emergency-only sales calls. The other strategies I learned:
  • Interview the potential sales lead as much as they interviewed me.
  • Make sure I was getting in front of the right customers first. That meant people who valued their time, comfort and care for their home as much as, if not more than, their money.
  • Let these customers know when I’d be in their neighborhood and that I’d need to make sure that all decision-makers would be there, rather than my asking them when would it be convenient for them.
  • Offer them the days of the week I do sales calls.
  • Next offer them a two-hour time slot so I wouldn’t have to race between calls.
  • And for those I couldn’t accommodate during the week, I offered two time slots on Saturday morning only.
Amazingly, when I followed this process, I did get in front of the right customers. Surprisingly, my closing rate went up. Miraculously, the profit per sale went up.

All of which meant I wasn’t working all the time and I was generating more sales.

I believe that my showing up on the day and time as promised separated me from my competitors, who didn’t keep their promises. My asking them good questions and taking charge of the sales call by placing a premium on their time and mine elevated my professionalism in their eyes.

My going though the proposal one line at a time, face-to-face with the buyers increased their understanding. And what the sales training workshop also taught me was that no one will buy when confused; a buyer must send the salesperson away until he or she receives more information to make a more informed buying decision. So I learned how to make buyers informed while I was in their homes.

Flipping my sales day around and re-examining how I was approaching sales in general allowed me to use my time during the day to focus on the jobs that were in progress. It also created enough free time to create systems that made all the jobs run better. This made it possible for me to arrive at a sales call with my head focused on the customer and not where I needed to go next.

To cash in on your sales opportunities, try flipping your sales day and your sales process around.