What is step selling and its purpose? “Step Selling,” which we introduced to the home improvement industry in 1962 (originally titled “Six Sales to a Sale”) has a simple (and provable) purpose and one that is unchangeable: “the mind can only deal with one idea at a time.” It is reinforced by the premise “people seldom buy a product for what it is. They buy it for what it does for them.” This is directly related to the four core buying reasons, which seem to be present singularly or in combination at the root of every motive: gain, pride, fear and imitation.

These four buying motives lend importance to the need for information and the sequence in which it is presented. All too often price is considered the reason for not getting a sale or rescission (cancellation), which can follow a sale. This in turn necessitates the purpose for a complete needs assessment long before a presentation aimed at fulfilling those needs is made and a price is quoted. That is how prospects perceive the value via your presentation.

Rapport is a Gateway to Closing the Sale

It is universally agreed that if you develop rapport with a prospect you have a better opportunity to have your ideas and proposals valued. Yet rapport is purely a state of mind which begins with feelings. So, how much does an individual know about what prospects like versus what they need, or what will cause them to respond more positively to your presentation? Our research indicates that prospects most frequently purchase products or services from home improvement companies based on the following perceptions:

  • The perceived credibility of the salesperson;
  • Rapport (developed early) between the customer and the salesperson;
  • Questions asked and responses given (showing care);
  • Consideration of their timely questions, concerns and value system;
  • A unique, quality product/service tailored to their individual needs;
  • A product/service which was perceived as superior to other options;
  • The project’s perceived value was equal to, or exceeded the price quoted;
  • The perceived ease and simplicity of the type of purchase;
  • The presenter/salesperson was a knowledgeable specialist who showed care and related to their value system; and
  • The presenter/salesperson showed an interest in doing business with them and asked for the order (possibly more than once).

Now, consider the prospect who met with the salesperson and was given a presentation and came away with feelings such as:

  • The salesperson was primarily interested in talking about himself or his company, their brand and history. He showed little interest in our values or long-range goals;
  • The salesperson had loads of pictures and brochures, most of which were more important to him than to us;
  • The salesperson kept reminding us how busy he/she was almost as if he/she was doing us a favor in considering our project;
  • Once he/she gave us a price, they told us about certain options or discounts they could offer, and it seemed apparent that there may have been little or no credibility in the original proposal and price. Note: An added incentive to buy now versus large or multiple price drops; and
  • The salesperson never really asked us to make a decision to have their company do our job.

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