ESB004 Winning Clients: Success Secrets for Selling Your Services

In this podcast, we explore a proven sales approach that can help turn more of your client presentations into wins for your estate sale business.

 

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Transcript of Podcast:  ESB004   Winning Clients: Success Secrets for Selling Your Services


How many new estate sale clients do you plan to win this year? How many do you need?

How many can you afford to lose?

Keep listening and I’ll share a process. It can help turn more of your client presentations into wins for you and your estate sale business.

Welcome to the Estate Sale Business podcast, brought to you by estatesalebiz.com.  This is episode ESB004 titled Winning Clients: Success Secrets for Selling Your Services

I’m your host, Ronald Andrew Murphy

To get new business, you must sell your services.  But the sitdown with a prospective client often challenges even the most experienced of business owners.  

In todays podcast, we’ll look at a proven approach that can make you more effective and help you close more new client business.

The success of your business depends on getting a regular diet of new clients.  Unlike many businesses, you don’t get many repeat clients.  Your services are needed only once in many cases.  

Every time you sit down with a prospect, everything is on the line  Make the sale, close the client, and your business prospers.  Lose the sale, lose the client and your business can quickly dry up.

You may be perfectly at ease with selling, but many folks find it a challenge.  Some feel it’s almost mysterious, wrapped up in phrases like art of persuasion and overcoming objections.

Truth is, selling is really just basic communication. It’s a conversation. The goal is to understand what your prospect wants and needs. Then, match that up to what you offer.

It’s asking questions and listening.  It’s presenting ideas in the simplest, most straightforward fashion possible.  

Years ago, sales trainers would recommend using a scripted presentation.  The salesperson would learn the script word for word and then present the canned speech to the prospect.  Even back in the day that never worked very well.

Selling is a dynamic process.  Every sale is a little different, even when you’re selling the same thing.

What’s proven to work much better is a simple guideline, a map with a few basic steps that get you from beginning to end.

In today’s show, I’ll introduce a process that’s proven to win sales.  After you’ve heard the simple steps, I’ll walk through an example.  You’ll hear exactly how it can be used in a typical estate sale situation.  And finally, I’ll throw in a few tips to help you deal with some of the common objections your prospects might have.

The winning approach I recommend is something called the Five P Path.  It’s a simple five step process that is easy to remember and to apply.  If something gets you off track, it’s easy enough to get back on.  You just keep the five steps in mind.

To help you remember, each step is a word that begins with the letter P.  Five steps, Five P’s.

Here they are:  The Five P’s:  

  1. Problem
  2. Promise
  3. Proof
  4. Payoff
  5. Proposal

Let’s see what each step is and how it works.

Step Number 1: Problem –

When you first sit down with your prospect, your primary goal should be to uncover their problem.  

People are most motivated to act when faced with pain associated with unsolved problems. Beginning by focusing your prospect on their problem, reminds them of their pain and their desire to end it.  You discover exactly how you can be of most help.

You need to understand what the problem is in the mind of the prospect.  Even though you will be dealing with similar situations time and again, you don’t want to assume anything.  You need to draw out the prospect so that you have a clear picture of what concerns them.

Ultimately you want the prospect to act by hiring you to solve their problem.  But they won’t act, they won’t hire you, if they don’t think you understand what they need.

For example, you might be working with an elderly couple who are moving to assisted living.  In their mind, they might have any number of concerns.  But unless you ask, you won’t know.  They might need money from the sale to help pay for care.  Or, they might need to liquidate quickly to meet a deadline to move in.  Or, they might want to avoid family squabbles with children who are fighting over their estate.  Unless you find out exactly what’s going on with the prospect, it will be difficult to persuade them you can help.

Your best approach is to use open-ended questions to draw your prospects out.  Start by simply asking what led them to call you.  Ask them what their plans are.  Ask them if their family will be involved.  Ask where they hope to be 30 or 60 or 90 days from now.  

Once you and the prospect agree on the problem, you’re ready to move on to the next step.

Step Number 2: Promise   

Step number 2 is simple.  You promise to solve their problem.  You know what the problem is.  You state your promise as the solution to their problem.  You assure them they will get exactly the solution they need.

Making the promise is important because you’re giving them tangible hope.  When you first arrived, all they had was a problem.  Now, they have the promise of a solution and an end to their pain.  

For example:  If the problem is needing to move quickly, say by the end of the month, you can simply promise that.  “Mr. and Mrs. Thompson, our estate sale services firm will make sure we meet your deadline.  All your items will be sold, the house cleaned out completely, and the cash proceeds from the sale in your hand by the thirtieth.”

Simple and to the point.  You don’t need to exaggerate.  Just promise to solve their problem.

Before you move to the next step, it’s helpful to confirm you’ve gotten it right with a simple question: “Isn’t that the result you’d like to see?”

With a yes from the prospect, you can go to the next step.

Step Number 3. Proof

With your promise to fix the problem, you’ve raised the hopes of your prospects.  But to sustain it, you now need to offer proof.  Step number three can be the most involved of all of the 5 P’s.  

Prospects will need proof that you can follow through on your promise.  They want to know for sure that you can do what you say and really fix their problem.

Proof can take a number of forms.  The key is to make the proof match the promise.  If the promise is to meet a certain deadline, prove that you’ve done that successfully in the past.  If the promise is to earn the greatest return possible, show how you price and how you promote so that the maximum sales can occur.  Make the proof as specific and related as possible.

Here are five types of proof with examples…

Testimonials – satisfied client testimonials are one of your strongest selling points.  But be sure it covers the point about your service that you’re trying to make.  If you’re promising to hold a speedy sale, don’t show a testimonial that talks about how pleasant you were to deal with.  Make it count.

Process – explain how you work.  Give the prospect a simple rundown of what you’ll be doing from now and up through the sale.  This goes to proving how thorough and detailed you are and how much work you will do to make the sale successful.  Don’t go overboard but do explain.  Many people do not understand what’s involved with an estate sale.  The process explanation can help prove your professionalism.

Financial Results – if the promise relates to how much money might be raised, then samples of past financial results can be effective.  Obviously retain previous client’s privacy but figures from sales and breakdowns of typical types of items, like furniture, clothing, etc.  can help to show the prospect what to expect.  This is also an area where you can guide their expectations.  Many people think their items are worth more than the market will bear.  Financial discussions as part of the proof step can be useful.

Photos and Illustrations – pictures showing the crowds at your sales, or happy buyers, or even satisfied clients can be tangible proof of past success. And pictures communicate quickly when words are sometimes less effective.

Schedule and Plan – it can be helpful to sketch out the plan for the client’s actual sale.  Use a prefilled calendar with general steps and add the actual proposed dates to show what will happen when.  This kind of proof can make the whole sale more real in the client’s mind.  Once they start seeing it, they’re closer to signing up.

Keep in mind… Not all types of proof need be used.  The point is to offer proof that supports your promise.  You shouldn’t need to go beyond that.  Once you’ve presented the appropriate proof, you can move on to the fourth step of the process.

Step Number 4: Picture

You’ve nailed down what the problem is, assured the prospect you can solve it with your promise, and offered concrete proof that you’ll deliver.  Step 4 will move the prospect a bit higher on the emotional buy-in.  Make no mistake, ultimately it’s emotions that make the decision to use your services.  Logic plays a role, but feelings seal the deal.

You can bring in feelings most easily by painting a mental picture of the payoff.  You’re going to assure them:  When this problem is solved, you can finally enjoy having it all behind you.

Show don’t tell.

For example, you might say something like:

“Mrs Williams, right now you’re surrounded by all the things your mother accumulated. I know it can feel overwhelming.  But in a short time, all these things will be gone.  They’ll have been bought by others who can use them; others who will cherish them as your mother did.  And you in return will receive a nice cash deposit that can go to help you settle the estate, or to put in your pocket as you see fit.  All the headaches will be behind you. You can sit down in your own home and breathe  a sigh of relief.  By relying on us, you’ll know you handled everything the very best way it could be.”

Get the prospect to this point and then move on to step 5 with a bridge like:

“Mrs. Williams, together, we can make that picture reality in just a few weeks.  If that’s what you’d like then let’s go ahead and get you on the schedule.”

Step Number 5: Proposal –

With the prospect’s assent in the previous step, it’s time to present the written agreement.  

One effective way to describe it is to show how the document is for their protection.  For example:  “This is our a written agreement. We use it so you can be sure that you will be treated fairly and safely.  It’s for your benefit.  It shows the dates we will plan to hold the sale and the access we’ll need and what you can expect from us.  If you’ll just sign here, we can take care of this so you can have the peace of mind you deserve.”

Congratulations!

With a signed agreement you successfully closed another sale and added another new client.

That’s the 5 P Path.  The steps are: Problem, Promise, Proof, Picture, Proposal

The beauty of the process is that it provides a simple path to gain the prospect’s confidence and move them to the sale.  It’s a good example of a win-win situation.

Now let’s move on and look at an example so we can see how it might be applied to a real situation.

When selling estate sale services you’re typically dealing with one of a few problems.

Death in the Family

Relocation to Assisted Living or moving in with the kids

Downsizing/Move

Legal (Divorce, Bankruptcy, etc.)

Let’s look at what is often the most common situation – death in the family. The lone surviving parent has now passed on.  One daughter has come in from out of town to handle the estate. She needs to get the house cleared out soon so it can be sold. Other relatives are eager to split the proceeds.

You sit down with the daughter and open with the first P, the Problem she’s facing.  While you have a pretty good idea, it’s important that she state how she sees the problem. You always want to solve the problem as the client sees it – not how you alone see it.

You say, “Mrs Smith, we appreciate you contacting us about your estate sale needs.  On the phone you mentioned you wanted to move quickly.  What type of deadline are you facing?”

The daughter, Mrs. Smith, shares that there is already an offer on the house.  If it goes through, the closing will be in one month.  Everything has to be cleared out before then.

You should restate to confirm your understanding.  “So, we’ll need to get to work quickly to insure that everything is sold before the 30th, correct?  

She agrees.  And then also points out that she won’t be able to stay.  She has to get home to her own family.  She says she needs to be sure she can trust that this will get done properly.

She’s now raised another problem.  She’s worried about trusting someone she doesn’t know.

Again, confirm your understanding of the problem as she sees it.

“Mrs Smith, it’s understandable you need to return to your own home.  And your concern is perfectly reasonable.  If you cannot oversee the job personally, you want to be sure you can trust whomever you choose to do the job, is that it?”

She agrees.  She says her husband warned her to be sure to hire someone who’s bonded.

Once more you confirm your understanding of what she’s seeking.

“You want to be sure you and your family’s household is protected by dealing with a reputable company that provides legal protection for you.  Is that it?”

With her agreement to this last point, she seems satisfied that her concerns are on the table.  You ask if there is anything else she has concerns about but she says no.

Mrs Smith has told you she has three concerns, three problems.  Note that it’s easy to jump into the promise step as soon as you hear a problem.  Don’t.  Wait to be sure you understand all the problems a prospect has.  That way you can best address them together in your promise.

Now, with the problems defined and clarified like this, you can move directly to the second P, the Promise.

Use her language and promise to solve her problems as she thinks about them.

You could say, “I think you’ll find that you’ve made a good choice in contacting us.  Our business is dedicated to solving issues like you raise for our many clients. First, we will work to your schedule.  We have a well deserved reputation for working quickly to meet our client needs.  We can plan the preparation and promotion to insure your house is cleared well before the deadline.

“Second, we take on the responsibility for managing your sale as professionals.  We’re known for the extra steps we take to insure security from our sales.  You can trust us to handle everything in your absence just as if you were here.

“Third, we back up our promise with full insurance and a one-million dollar bond.  We operate under and comply with all local regulations and licensing requirements.

“We promise you we will handle your estate sale with professionalism, responsibility, and speed.”

You’ve made the second P, the Promise clear.  Now it’s time to move directly to the third P, the Proof for what you’ve said.  You need to back up what you’ve promised to do with verifiable proof.

At this point, it can be helpful to have preprinted information in the form of handouts, brochures, photos, and testimonials that serve as visible back-up for your claims.

Your proof should directly address the problems and concerns raised earlier.  

“Mrs. Smith, I know timeliness is a concern. The sale must be completed and the house clear by the 30th.  Here’s a schedule.  Let’s fill it in together so you can see how we’ll be able to meet your deadline.  We can begin prep on the fifth.  We’ll allocate three days and two fulltime staffers. Just in case, we’ll allocate one more staffer an extra day to handle any final prep.  The following week of the 12th, we’ll begin promotion.  We’ll post your listing with complete photos on the premier estate sale listing sites. Full descriptions and photos will also be posted on our website.   We’ll email our large subscriber list of proven buyers to let them know your sale is coming.  Actual newspaper ads and flyer promotion will go out at the beginning of sale week, the 19th.  The sale will take place on the 23d and 24th. Final cleanup will be handled the day following.  Everything will be completed and settlement done well before your deadline of the 30th.  You can see for yourself on this schedule, there won’t be any problems with meeting your deadline.

“Mrs. Smith, we do this all the time.  Here are just a few testimonials from past clients that talk about how we met their schedules exactly even on the tightest of time frames.”

You’ll need to tailor your approach to match the problems and your earlier promises.  But it’s likely you can gather appropriate support materials since the problems tend to fall in one of a few categories.  Just be sure to support all the problems and the promises you’ve made.

As you present the proof, remember to confirm with the prospect that they see the benefit and advantage of what you’re proving.

Once you’ve given the proof that you can do what you say to Mrs. Smith, it’s time to wrap up.  The Fourth P can be brief but it’s important.  You’ve given her the facts about doing business with you, now show her the emotional side of deciding in your favor.

Remember the easiest way to do this is to present a simple picture.  You could say, “Mrs. Smith.  We know you’re facing a real challenge.  It can feel overwhelming but it’s our job to make that feeling go away.  With our services, you can go home to your own family and feel confident that you’ve made the right choice. You can relax knowing all will be handled perfectly.  Does that sound like the right direction for you?”

Simple agreement from the prospect lets you move on to the the Fifth P: your  Proposal.  You’ve gone through the process.  Now you just need to get the client’s commitment.  You should use a written agreement that the client signs.

Remember, it will work best to present it as protection for the client.  That’s exactly what it is.  

“Mrs. Smith, this is a letter of agreement for what we’ve discussed.  The important thing to remember is that this is for your protection. You told us how important that was for you.  It’s assures you we are legally bound to do what we say.  I’ve filled out the dates for the sale.  If you’ll just sign here, we’ll sign below that and provide you your copy.  “

That’s it.  That’s a complete, if brief, example of how the Five P Path can be applied.  

Use the Five P process to provide a smooth approach to getting agreement from your prospect.  Make yourself comfortable with each of the steps along the path. You’ll find you can move the prospect along as you get agreement at each step.  Then when you finally make the Proposal, you’re most likely to get consent.

We’ve covered a lot.

At this point, we’ve learned about the Five P Path – the professional approach to sales designed to help you win more clients.

And we’ve seen how the path can work in an actual situation.  

Now, for the third and final part of today’s show, let’s briefly consider what to do when and if the buyer hesitates at the end of your presentation.

Why are there objections? Sometimes it’s because the prospect kept some concern hidden.  Sometimes, it’s just cold feet, some folks are afraid to make any commitment.  

Regardless, there are some additional tools that can help you deal with final stage objections.

If they prospect objects, first ask a confirming question to make sure you understand the objection. Never answer a question you haven’t been asked.

Objection 1:  Waiting “I’m not ready to make a decision now.”

One of the easiest ways to deal with a prospect who says they want to wait, is to build a waiting period into your agreement.  You can indicate you can add a three day consideration period as part of this agreement.  Show it in writing. Explain, that if they decide by this date to change their mind all they have to do is call  and let you know and you’ll stop the process.  Do point out that it does mean however, that the schedule may need to change.  Another client could come up in the mean time.  We can’t guarantee the sale date (if this is important to them)

Objection 2: Money – Sometimes the prospect is concerned about the commision or fee amounts.   The easiest way is to compare your rates to other servicers who are higher.  You should have knowledge of your competitor’s rates and be able to favorably compare your rates.  You don’t have to be lower, just being in the same range is usually enough.  The client is afraid of being ripped off, but if they see that you charge the going rate, it should ease their concerns.  Also pointing out all the services such as advertising and promotion,  cleanup, etc. that are included, if they are, can help justify your rates.  It helps to show it as money saved.

Objection 3: Want to Do it themselves –  When a prospect objects because they think they can do it themselves, it helps to review what’s involved.  Noting the experience it takes to price effectively to gain the most and not lose money is key.  Going over the staff involved to handle a sale can often make them rethink trying to do it themselves.

 

That’s it.  We’ve covered the 5 P Path to consistently make winning sales presentations.   We’ve reviewed how the sales path sounds in a typical example of a sales presentation.  And finally we we touched on ways to deal with the most common objections in presentations.

Please do visit our website at estatesalebiz.com.  We encourage you to stop by and post comments, questions and suggestions. Also subscribe to this podcast.  We’re on iTunes, Google Play and other podcast networks.

This has been the Estate Sale Business podcast,  brought to you by estatesalebiz.com.  This was episode ESB004 titled Winning Clients: Success Secrets for Selling Your Services.

I’m your host, Ronald Andrew Murphy.

Thank you for listening.

 

Music is from Bensound at Bensound.com.  Check em out.

 

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