If you are like a lot of our dealer partners, your overall sales cycle has gotten longer. There are a number of reasons for that:

• A shift to a hybrid selling system;
• Proliferation of “one legs”;
• Review sites, and;
• Showroom closures.

I’m not saying that any of these are wrong, because most of them aren’t, at least in the big picture of things. Plus, they are all intertwined if you think about it.

The shift to a more hybrid selling system is partially based on figuring out how to deal with the larger number of “one legs” we deal with today. Make one of them mad by not presenting and you’ll end up with a bad review on Yelp. So, for dealers with a showroom, the next step after giving the “one legger” a taste is to try and set up a showroom visit for both parties.

Combine that with the fact that people are doing so much more of their due diligence before they ever invite you to come into their home for a visit, and you have all the makings of a longer selling cycle.

Is there anything that you can do to shorten the cycle? Here are a few things that can help…

Capture them earlier in their research. Think about questions that you hear over and over again from potential customers, then write an article answering the question. The article shouldn’t be about you, but about strictly answering the customers’ question. Create a Top 10 list of things that a customer needs to check on when deciding on new replacement windows and ask them for their first name and email address to download it. Then send them an occasional email with valuable information. This leads to the second thing…

Build trust before the visit. Give them a chance to “know” you before they ever meet you. High-quality, free, educational information is one way to do that. Do you send/email out any sort of pre-positioning packet? This can be a bit more about you, but should still be educational. How about having a page for you and each member of your sales team that talks about them from a personal standpoint (hobbies, things they do in their free time, etc.) on your website? Once you assign the rep the lead, send the customer a link to the rep’s page. You’ve heard it a million times — people buy things from people they like and trust.

Cultivate and navigate reviews. Seeking out reviews and recommendations is part of that due-diligence process. Not having enough reviews can be as negative as having bad ones. Making sure to respond and being able to point to your attempt to address negative reviews can go a long way to increase trust while you’re in the home.

For many home improvement dealers, longer sales cycles are an accepted way of life based on changes to the marketplace and buying habits. These ideas can help you shorten those cycles.

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