Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Are You Selling the 5D's?

A new feature at this year's National Green Centre were Google Hangouts, small group gatherings with an online speaker.  Jody Shilan, FromDesign2Build.com,  presented a talk on "It's Not the Economy, It's You."  I was intrigued by the title and wondered where the talk the would lead.  Though it was focused for landscape contractors, I believe the points he made are applicable to all of us involved in selling. 

In sales, we all get the same kinds of leads.  Shilan believes it is in differentiating the leads and navigating the customer through the process that makes the difference.  Done correctly, the economy becomes less of a factor in getting the most out of a sale. 
His talk began with the story of a 1D contractor.  A 1D contractor gives the price for exactly what the customer requests.  The resulting bid just leads to price shopping.   There is no added value and no opportunity to upsell.  A 2D contractor offers a few ideas and engages the customer a bit but is still not getting the most out of the lead.

A 5D contractor, on the other hand, is helping the customer realize the potential of the project:
  • Develop the Program
  • Determine the Priority
  • Discuss the Budget
  • Design the Dream
  • Do the Deal
Some tips Shilan offers in Developing the Program are getting the customer to think about the possibilities by walking around the property.  Get the customer excited at this point by giving ideas.  Point out choices that may need to be made with the project such as grading, privacy, etc.  Developing the Priority helps both the customer and contractor know what needs to be done first and what can come later.  It helps everyone focus.  While Discussing the Budget, don't say how much do you want to spend!  Instead, Shilan recommends asking "how much would you like to invest?"  The customer has an idea and may need a bit of help spitting out a figure.  To help them, a contractor can state "I've done projects like this for $3,000 up to $75,000."  This will help move along the budget process.  With the budget in mind and ok to design the project, it is time to collect the design fee according to Shilan.  Designing the Dream is now easier since the contractor and customer have walked the property, talked about possibilities, know the starting point and the budget.  Finally, Do the Deal. 

A selling process such as the 5D's adds value to the relationship and helps remove the perception of being a commodity. 

Another Google Hangout that I attended was "Working in the Cloud."  Watch for upcoming blog posts with tips of online resources for sharing files, collecting money, communicating, project management and more.  Though I attended in hopes of getting information on creating a mobile website, it wasn't a waste of time.  It was a fascinating talk!  Have you created a mobile website?  If so, I would love to know about the process. 

Susan Mertz, Loma Vista Nursery, Director of Marketing

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