Last October, I stepped out of bed and felt my laminate floor squish beneath my feet. Being a longtime homeowner, I figured this was worth investigating. I knelt down, pushed on a plank and saw water ooze up from the seams. This was not a good sign.
One week and $500 later, I had a repaired (previously leaking) central A/C, a stack of soggy laminate floor planks ready for bulk pick up, and a Master bedroom floor stripped down to unfinished terrazzo.
My wife Ellen and I then began shopping for new flooring. We looked online, checked Home Depot, contacted a friend-of-a-friend, and shopped at two local flooring stores.
We decided to buy from Joel at Not Just Carpet. Here’s why:
- Not Just Carpet offered a turnkey solution including tear out, materials and installation.
- Joel was responsive but not overly aggressive. He followed up with phone calls and emails but did not badger us.
- Joel was reliable. He sent quotes when he said he would. He showed up on time with his installer Rick to do onsite measurements and discuss the installation process. They listened to us, answered our questions patiently, and then gave us time to think it over.
Here’s why we didn’t buy from some of the others:
- The friend-of-a-friend never delivered an estimate. He kept promising to send one over but after the 3rd broken promise, we gave up on him.
- The other local shop didn’t offer a turnkey solution. They could supply the materials, but it would be my problem to find an installer, coordinate for delivery and manage the project. I wanted a new floor, not a part-time job as a general contractor.
- Home Depot, Online Stores and the big Flooring Discount Warehouse all had cheaper prices. But at these places, I was lucky if someone could point me to the right aisle, much less reassure me that their “approved 3rd party installers” would do a good job,
We decided to install new tile throughout the entire house and had Joel send over the contract. We were all set – or so I thought.
The next morning I received an unexpected call from my newly promoted VP. I was informed that the company was doing a reorganization and that my position had been eliminated.
I emailed Joel to tell him that the project was cancelled because I lost my job. His reply was,
“…Just remember, when one door closes, another one opens.”
That was a classy thing for him to say.
Nine months later things were going better. I had launched Inside Sales Dude, filled my blog with dozens of enlightening & amusing posts (at least to me), and was working with several clients.
My Master BR floor had remained untouched.
One morning Ellen said, “Can we please do something about the floor now?”
I agreed it was time to fix the floor. However, this time we decided to look for a wood laminate that could be installed over our existing tile floors.
Did we check out Home Depot, the Flooring Discount Warehouse, and shop around locally? Nope.
Joel and Rick had already won our trust. We already knew they would do a good job. And we knew they would give us a fair, but not rock bottom price.
Plus, throughout the 9 months as I was job hunting and then building up my business, Joel’s parting words had echoed in my head and inspired me.
We drove to Not Just Carpet, told Joel what we wanted to do and picked out a laminate. Joel and Rick came out that week to spec the installation. A few days later we agreed on a price and signed the contract.
Joel’s total time invested in making this sale was about an hour. The sale he made was $12K.
Like Joel, sometimes you can “win” the customer and not even know it. My teams have had some of our best sales happen years after we first met a prospect and pitched a solution.
In fact, this has occurred at every company where I worked.
Many times, our customer was just not ready to buy when we first spoke. It may have had nothing to do with our price, our “closing techniques” or even our products.
But if we presented a good solution, were responsive in our approach, and handled the (immediate) rejection with class, we’d often be presented with a better opportunity down the road. More than once this happened after a prospect bought a competitor’s solution!
Winning a sale can be a matter of doing the work, moving on to the next prospect and being around later reap the reward when the timing is right for the customer.
When my sales teams do this consistently, we find we are able to hit our sales numbers from a combination of new deals, old deals and “bluebirds” that results from from past sales efforts that we were no longer aware were even in play.
How Can Your Team Sell More Big Deals in 1 Hour (plus 9 months)?
If your team is not consistently landing “bluebirds” from previously LOST opportunities then you are missing out on rewards from your hard work.
Some questions to ask yourself are:
Do you see bigger sales coming from your old prospects in Year 2 and 3? Look for these to come from prospects who did POCs or Pilots, but then couldn’t commit to a larger purchase.
Does your pipeline always include a few “bluebirds“ from previously lost opportunities? Someone is winning this business. When your Reps “lose an opportunity” how do they end the relationship? What’s the last thing the prospect will remember about your business?
Are your sales reps even sticking around for 2 or 3 years? Are they selling more each year? If you have a Rep turnover problem, you’re sabotaging your best sales results.
If you want some help improving sales, contact me here. I’d love to hear from you.
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