In the in-home services industry I’ve found quite a few contractors that don’t do the basics when it comes to sales. Here are some tips when selling to homeowners:

Ask the right questions

When ever possible (especially on the smaller jobs) give the estimate while you are in the home for the first time. You’ll have the greatest opportunity to close the job right then and there, while you are sitting face-to-face with the homeowner.

If the job is to complex and/or if there is a bit of site-planning or engineering to be done, set a return date with the homeowner to present your proposal in person.

If you don’t close the sale during your first visit, ask the customer some questions about how and when they will be making a decision. Here are some examples:

--- Your Question: “Mr. Homeowner, when do you think you and Mrs. Homeowner will be making a decision on doing this work” (then be quiet and listen)?

--- Homeowner’s Answer: “ Well, Mike, we should have all of our estimates in by Friday and we’ll talk about it over the weekend.”

--- Your Question: “Great, should I call you Saturday afternoon to follow up or would you prefer sometime on Monday”?

--- Homeowner’s Answer: “Monday”.

--- Your Question: “Should I call you at home, work or do you have a cell phone # that you prefer”? You then say, “When do you think is the best time to reach you on Monday, just so I don’t keep calling and pester you”.

What you’ve just established through this basic Q&A is a sense of obligation with the customer in a very professional manner.

Don’t knock the competition.

However, know your competition very well so that you can use this information to address the positives of your company or business. Do they do the work themselves or do they subcontract it out? How do they rank with the Better Business Bureau (and similar associations)? Do they have insurance? Do they drug test their employees? Are they customer service-oriented?

If your company or business doesn’t abide by a good portion of the above listed (especially insurance and drug-testing), then you better make a change for the better.

Utilize the Resources

Create a structured sales presentation system for yourself and your sales people. If this is foreign territory for you, then enroll in a sales seminar, listen to sales CD’s and read sales-related books. There are endless books and resources. Here are a few of my recommended authors you can’t go wrong with: Brian Tracy, Dale Carnegie, David Sandler, Jeffrey Gittomer , Zig Ziggler and Tom Hopkins.

Pay attention to the “Givens”

If you’ve never sold your services before, “WHO CARES”. Trust me, there are some things in the in-home services industry that I consider to be “GIVENS”. If you pay attention to them, you will sell jobs. There are 1) honesty, 2) integrity, 3) knowledge of your trade, 4) professionalism. and 5) persistence. The more you perfect these things, the more jobs you’ll close at greater gross margins and despite your competition.

Author's Bio: 

Well known in the services industry for his high-volume tickets, record-breaking, tenacious, self-disciplined, and self-motivated selling and sales training style, Michael O'Grady is an accomplished Sales Manager, Sales Trainer, Business Owner, aspiring Sales Coach, Independent Consultant and Entrepreneur. During his 20-year sales career, he has set and achieved many industry and personal records as well as his personal and professional goals. He is dedicated to inspiring others to do the same

Michael O’Grady’s articles, tools and sales training resources can be found online at his website, and his dedicated blog,