I had a conversation with a builder a while back who made this statement to me.
“Rick, if we put as much effort into selling as we did into building we’d double our sales.”
I was intrigued and asked him to elaborate.
“We break our building process into 5 phases,” he explained. “It’s very detailed, intelligent, automated when possible and we constantly measure our effectiveness as it relates to margins. I want to do the same thing with my sales. Here’s my idea…”
I’ve got to hand it to this guy. He’s got some great, cutting-edge ideas. Here’s his story. Enjoy.
The first thing I wanted to know was the 5 phases he uses to build his new home & remodeling projects.
“The first phase I call Foundation,” he said. “In other words, we don’t turn a shovel of dirt until I know everything about this job. The more I know before I start, the less problems I have, the client is happier at the end and my margins are higher.”
“Ok, that makes sense. What’s phase two?” I asked.
“The second phase is Framing. We’re building the infrastructure for the finishes,” he noted.
“That’s simple enough,” I commented. “What’s next?”
“Phase three is Finishes. This is where we personalize the home for our clients and their vision starts to become a reality,” he added.
I told him as a salesperson I always love this phase because this is where the buyers really fall in love with their home. “OK, what’s next?” I asked.
“Fourth is the Closing phase. It’s where we make sure every punch list item is complete or dealt with and the clients sign off on the job,” he explained. “I want to make sure this job leaves production ‘clean’ so we don’t drag unresolved issues into our warranty process.”
I told him I agreed and felt this is the most stressful time for buyer, salesperson and builder.
“What’s number five?” I asked.
“Number 5 is Analysis. After every job I review any variances from the schedule and estimate and figure out why they happened. Variances cost me money. My goal is to make sure they don’t happen again,” he said.
“That’s smart,” I told him.
“Now for the big question. What’s your idea for translating this to your sales process?” I inquired.
Here’s what he told me.
“First, we need to build a better Foundation with our prospects. We’re not connecting consistently when we first meet them and I think it’s costing us sales,” he reflected.
“Second, we’re not Framing a consistent communication stream. I want to be our prospect’s preferred source of information on new homes yet I don’t have the time or know-how to provide consistent follow-up and information,” he said.
“Third, we’re not Finishing or Personalizing our sales process. I know we need to make things more intimate for each unique prospect but I don’t know how to do it in an efficient manner,” he explained.
“Fourth, I’m a builder, not a salesperson. It seems like me and my salespeople waste too much time doing things that don’t help us Close a sale. It’s obvious people don’t buy the same today as they did a couple of years ago. We need to do things differently. I’m just not sure I know what those things are,” he said.
“Fifth, I don’t have any way of Analyzing our weak points. I can look at a P&L and variance report from a job and pinpoint our weak spots. How do I do this same thing with our marketing and sales?” he asked.
Here’s where he really threw me for a loop…
“Rick,” he said. “I want you to study our building process. We’re damn good at building and remodeling. There’s got to be a way to translate that to our sales.”
“I’d like you to build us a 5 phase sales process that mimics our building phases,” he added. “I know there’s a way to do it and I want you to figure it out.”
That was one year ago.
After a tremendous amount of blood, sweat and tears we did just that. And we brought another builder along for the ride so we could test new ideas faster.
On Thursday December 22nd we’re revealing what we did and the results. I’ll have both builders on the webinar with me to share their insights and results. Hope you can join us.
What: 5 Cutting-Edge Sales Strategies Revealed: How Two Builders Closed More Sales and Maximized Profits in 2011 [Webinar]
When: Thursday December 22nd at 11 PST, 12 MST, 1 CST, 2 EST
Cost: Free but limited to 100 people