March 5th, 2012
Hands On Education
“You become the expert when you’ve installed what you sell,” Pete said.
Pete Scatton was one of the brothers who owned Scatton Manufacturing. His company supplied my Dad with storm windows, storm doors, awnings and porch enclosures when Dad started business. Pete was one of the original “Tin Men” and a master of selling in the home going back to the early 1950s. He was willing to teach me his lessons of good salesmanship.
To Pete, the biggest part of being prepared meant knowing your product and their capabilities inside and out. He felt the best way – maybe the only way – to get to know a product was “hands-on.” He was sure that, when a dealer put their hands on his products during the installation process, their familiarity improved and so did their sales volume and profit.
Pete was a manufacturer who designed and built what he sold; he knew it better than anybody. His dealers didn’t need the same high level of hands-on knowledge of the product as a designer or manufacturer, but Pete liked his dealers to get hands-on experience by installing product before trying to sell it to a homeowner.
Pete felt that, the better his dealers knew their products the better they were able to ascertain the right product to recommend and the correct method of installation for that product. His dealers could more accurately calculate the time and materials required for their client’s project. They would have better ability to provide their client with a fair price. That fair sales price also had a better chance of providing a fair profit for the dealer.
When Pete’s dealer earned a fair profit on the products they bought from him, they were more likely to strive to sell more of his products. Not only would they order more of his products, they would have the ability to pay for what they ordered … Pete was simply practicing good old-fashioned business sense, but Pete did speak the truth.
With experience and hands-on knowledge his dealers became experts who were able to provide the best solutions for their client’s unique problems. Knowing the product you will offer your client – inside and out, backwards and forwards – will make you the expert. An expert is more valuable to their client and more capable of solving their problem.
When you know not only your product, but all viable competitors’ alternative products, you can be confident you are providing your client with their best available option to solve their problem. You can ask for the sale with confidence and when you are confident you will close a higher percentage of the leads you call upon.
When your confidence proves to be worthy because you did find the best solution for your clients’ problems you will find they recommend you to others and seek you out for future projects. It is amazing how the process of being prepared can grow your business over time, like a snowball grows as it rolls downhill …
So, be better prepared. Become an expert. Go get yourself some hands-on education and help install some product, soon. Check back here for my next blog, “Remember Why You’re There.”