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Handling the Price Email

Manufactured Home Sales,Mobile Home Sales,Modular Home Sales
by drew @ 10:22 pm on January 31, 2011

 

Chad

Please send me pricing information on your product.

Thanks

Have you ever received e-mail like this and wondered, “What am I supposed to do with this?” That’s exactly what I thought when I opened this e-mail a couple of weeks ago

The first problem is the word “products” – just what does that mean? With language like that, I couldn’t even tell if this person had reached the company he was looking for.

Second, even if he does know he is talking to the right company, I have no idea what he is asking about. We have a lot of different products – just as you do.

Third, everyone knows you are not supposed to send pricing information out without building some kind of rapport and doing some qualifying. Doing so is almost always the kiss of death for the sale.

As a sales person working with Internet Leads, you probably get this type of inquiry on a regular basis. However, my guess is that none of your sales training has ever explained how to respond to this type of e-mail. Since we do this kind of training with dealers, I thought I would share the steps used to turn “Internet Leads” into good prospects.

Step #1 – Assume this is a Valid Prospect. Dismissing a prospect that leads with this question is going to cost you a sale. The fact they are asking the price question shows a real interest in – but a lack of information about – your product.

This prospect is trying to avoid being embarrassed by asking you to do a lot of work if they aren’t going to be able to afford your product in the first place. The price question is a gateway question that opens the door for discussion. It is an important question for them, but not for the reasons you would assume.

Step #2 – Respond A.S.A.P. You want your prospect to feel you are sincere and that you care about helping them. Even if you respond with a quick e-mail asking for permission to contact them later, that will help. Taking a long time to respond will turn your prospect off and make your answer – no matter what it is – feel contrived.

Step #3 – Don’t Answer the Price Question Directly. I said earlier, “Giving price without building rapport and qualifying the customer is the kiss of death.” I meant it. If you answer this price question directly, the prospect won’t need you anymore. Once they have this information, they will move onto another sales person, not because they didn’t like your answer, but because they will now have what they need to feel smart when they talk to that other salesperson and everyone would rather feel smart.

On the other hand, you don’t want to annoy the customer by ignoring their question so you need to give an answer in a format that gives you a lot of flexibility such as, “Our homes can range from between X and Y per Square Foot”; or “We have homes starting at $20,000 and we’ve custom built homes into the hundreds of thousands.”

Step #4 – Explain Why You Can’t Answer. Give the prospect two or three real reasons why you can’t answer the question yet. You don’t have to make these up. You need to know more about what type of home they are looking for, where they are going to put the home, what zoning requirements there will be for their home, etc. etc.

Step #5 – Solicit Their Help. Almost everyone lets his or her guard down and reaches out to someone who says, “Can you help me?” Ask your prospect to help you by giving you more information so you can do a better job answering their question. Give them a specific list of things you need to know, but make sure they are open-ended questions, not a punch list that will force you into a corner when they respond with answers.

Step #6 – Promise to Answer the Question in Detail. Yes you are going to give the customer a specific answer, but you don’t have to do it now. Really you can’t do it now anyway. Promise the customer that you will give them a specific and accurate answer to their question as soon as you have all the information you need. The act of gathering this information will give you the chance to talk to the prospect and build some rapport.

Step #7 – Ask for an Appointment. If you’ve followed the steps this far, it should be pretty easy to get the prospect to give you their phone number or to give you a call. Try something like, “It might be easier to help get you the information you need if we could talk. What’s a good time for me to give you a call?” or “Would you mind giving some time to better understand what you need in your home and get you the exact numbers you are looking for?”

Remember to Follow Up. If they don’t respond with a call or a phone number, ask again. They may need a little encouragement to come out of their protective shell. Internet prospects could be looking to make a short-term decision or they could be months away from being ready to talk to a sales person. If you want to be successful, you have to be prepared to follow-up over the long haul.

Remember when you follow-up to always be nice, be polite, be honest and be sincere.

From now on, when you get e-mail from leads asking for price, follow these seven steps and you will significantly increase your ability to convert leads into good prospects.

Chad Carr is the President of Rainmaker Consulting, a second-generation family business that provides Retail Management Software and Consulting Services for the Housing, RV and Trailer markets.

Rainmaker works with dealers ranging in size from five to six people up to some of the biggest and most well recognized names in the industry. For more information about their services, visit their web-site at www.getRain.com or contact Chad at (800) 336-0339 or chad@getRain.com.


Four Common Problems with Internet Lead Handling and Sales Processes

By Chad Carr, Rainmaker Consulting

I am excited about the opportunity to write for this website because I see so many misconceptions about Internet Leads and how they fit into a company’s marketing and sales process.

As a consultant to Housing Retailers for almost twenty years, I have been in hundreds of dealerships. In almost every one of those dealerships there has been a need to improve the process sales people use for handling leads, especially Internet leads.

When I first met the principals at ManufacturedHomeSource.com, I was very excited about their ability to deliver Internet Leads to a dealership. But it quickly became apparent that even dealers with a good sales process in place had no idea what to do with Internet leads.

It is not unusual for a salesperson to come up to me at a dealership when the boss isn’t around and start complaining about the stack of garbage leads he is supposed to be working from the Internet. In most of these cases, it takes only a little bit of questioning to identify why the salesperson has this attitude. I can promise you it is never that the Internet Leads weren’t actually good leads.

Let me share a few reasons for these negative attitudes:

Age – In sales there is a saying, “The older they are the colder they are”. Why would anyone think its okay to let Internet Leads sit around for days before we get back to them?

Research shows that customers will lose 50% of their interest in a company or product within 3 hours of their initial inquiry. Yet, as an industry, we average five days before getting back to an Internet lead. That’s terrible.

If a salesperson is handed leads that are old, they are going to be disappointed when they call those leads. Likewise, if they are handed new leads and sit on them for a few days, they will not be happy with their results when they finally do get around to calling.

This makes total sense. If I left you a phone message asking you to call me about the product you are selling and you waited several days before you called me, you would expect the cold shoulder from me. Don’t let this happen to you – call your Internet Leads as fast as possible.

Wrong Expectations – Many times when salespeople call Internet Leads they have the expectation they will be talking to someone who is ready to buy a house.

This can happen, but more often than not, Internet Leads are contacting dealers very early in their decision making process. If you suddenly move into the selling mode with someone you have never met and who is not ready to be sold, you are going to put them off.

As strange as this might sound, the number one thing customers are looking for on the Internet is someone with whom they can build a relationship. Your job as a salesperson is to develop a relationship with that lead first. Selling them a house will come later, but only if you have a good relationship.

Lack of Training – Almost everyone agrees it is important to train salespeople. Dealers send salespeople to factories to gain product knowledge; they send them to sales training to learn a sales process; they may even do some basic telephone skills work with them. However, dealers almost never invest any time or money to train their sales people what to do with an Internet Lead.

For example, if you are responding to an Internet Lead, it is likely you will have to write e-mail. Have you been trained on how to write a good e-mail? Do you know what to include and what to leave out of these e-mails? Do you now how to use the spell check and grammar check features of your e-mail system?

With the Internet, dealerships have a completely new way of collecting and communicating with leads. Dealers need to invest in training their people on how to use this new tool to build relationships and make sales.

Lack of a Process – If a sales manager hands a salesperson a stack of leads and says “See what you can do with these” the whole endeavor is going to be doomed. Every dealership needs to have a written and well-designed process for handling Internet Leads.

This process needs to address how quickly you will respond, how often you will respond, what you will do if the customer doesn’t return your calls, how you will answer the question “What’s the price” and much, much more.

A lot of my work these days is centered on helping dealerships put together an effective process for working with Internet Leads and then training their people how to use that process.

I will try to share some of that information through this blog, but if you would like to get started with your process, I would recommend coming to my free webinar entitled, “Unlocking the Secrets of the Internet”. Send an e-mail to chad@getRain.com and I will let you know when the next webinar will be held.

Chad Carr is the President of Rainmaker Consulting, a second-generation family business that provides Retail Management Software and Consulting Services for the Housing, RV and Trailer markets.

Rainmaker works with dealers ranging in size from five to six people up to some of the biggest and most well recognized names in the industry. For more information about their services, visit their web-site at www.getRain.com or contact Chad at (800) 336-0339 or chad@getRain.com.






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