D+AS MAGAZINE

FEATURES — New Sales Research: Solve Real Problems

© 2004 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Winter 2004
Author: Scott O’Neill
Page 62


SALES TIP

New Sales Research: Solve Real Problems
By Scott O’Neill, Garage Door Sales Professional

Smaller garage door dealers can learn a lot from the big guys.

At least that’s what I learned from the new “2004 Sales Effectiveness Study” conducted by Miller-Heiman, a global sales consulting company. The report, which involved about 2,300 sales professionals, revealed critical factors to successful sales that all of us can appreciate.

A New Way

Consider this: “Buyer behaviors have changed” … forcing consumers to expect a “higher standard from sales professionals.”

The study further concluded that “organizations are beginning to view their customers in a new way, breaking them down to how they think, creating value rather than articulating what they believe the value to be. They’re selling solutions to real problems.”

A Case in Point

Here’s a case in point. I recently got a call from a customer who was determined to purchase a custom garage door for her unique home’s style. She had contacted several companies and was fairly insistent that custom was the way to go.

I exchanged a few phone calls and E-mails with her, and she sent me a photo of her house. After the third call, she agreed to meet me at our demonstration showroom to clarify some points I mentioned. My goal was to make sure she was clear about what she believed to want for versus what she actually needed.

What Do You Need?

When she came into the showroom, I explained the positives and negatives of a custom garage door. I let her run a motor-operated custom door and listen to the loud sounds of heavy wood transitioning from closed to open position. I had her move the door manually to understand the bulky nature of custom faced wood doors.

I feel that the weight of a door can affect its long-term durability. It causes increased wear and creates a maintenance issue over the life of the door.

After we looked at her home on our computer screen, we discussed a flush-faced, simplistic-looking garage door. With some added windows in the top section (she originally had very specific ideas on the windows’ shape), the door’s design would mirror the windows on her rather simple-looking house design.

Thus, we could see that a flush door with windows enhanced the visual style of the home. A custom wood door would oppose her home’s design and seem out of character.

We then talked about the thermal performance of a fully insulated steel door and the benefits of powder-coated tracks, nylon-coated ball bearing rollers, and a quiet DC-powered operator. She was hooked. Her upstairs bedroom would never again need to endure the racket of a garage door early in the morning when her hubby is off to sell stocks.

In the end, she made the decision to purchase a quieter, easier-to-maintain door that is aesthetically more appropriate for the style of her home.

Lesson Learned

My lesson learned from the Miller-Heiman study was to find a real solution to the customer’s real problem. Yes, I could have sold her a much more expensive custom door with a bigger profit margin. But in the long run, it would not have met her real needs and solved her real problem.

After the sale, I received a letter of accolades from that customer stating that she never had such a positive sales experience and couldn’t recommend us highly enough as a professional organization.

Now that is satisfying!