As Home Technology professionals we’ve all been there. You’re about to meet up with a Client you’ve met a few times before. In your mind you are ready for them to sign on the line and commit to the cinema project. However, the Client has different ideas. You meet up and they throw that curve ball at you – “We’ve got an alternative quote that’s cheaper than yours”.
What went wrong? Why did they do that? In the latest instalment of the SinemasVR blog we are going to look at what you can do to prevent this from happening.
If the Client is still talking to you, it means you aren’t out of the running yet. But there is more of a challenge ahead. Some Clients will genuinely just buy on price, and shop around for the lowest possible quote, regardless of expertise, specification or requirements. That is a reality. But experience tells us that is rare. It’s best to steer clear of Clients purchasing on price and nothing else. Following the steps below will help inform your Clients that there is more to consider than just price when buying a cinema.
So, what can you do to improve the odds in your favour? This blog will highlight five steps you can take to help improve your conversion rate, close the sale faster and have great conversations with Clients to guide them toward understanding that you are the best choice for them.
Step One – Be Professional & Brush up on Your Sales Skills & Knowledge
The definition of a professional is being “engaged in a specified activity as one’s main paid occupation rather than as an amateur.” As a Home Technology professional, you wear many different hats until the company has grown to a size where you’re able to employ people to take various roles on. Engaging with Clients requires you to be a sales professional, not a sales amateur. Brush up on your basic skills of communication, how you present yourself when you turn up for a meeting and how you conduct yourself. Never be late for a meeting, never cancel a meeting unless it is a life or death situation. The Client will make a decision about you within the first 4-5 seconds. (Visual Cortex, Prefrontal Lobe, then decides!) Within those precious 4 seconds you need to be able to demonstrate 3 things:
- You are a sharp problem solver
- Energetic, positive and genuinely believe in what you are selling
- An expert in your field, an authority that knows the industry, market, the prospect and the competitors.
Consider these three things in advance before turning up to your meeting. The chances are that you may well feel more compelled to turn up early and not be flustered!
Basic sales skills involve asking great questions (be prepared with these before you turn up to the meeting) and understanding that listening to the answers carefully and following it up with a why to get more detail into the Client’s thoughts and reasons. The most valuable sales skill is listening. Clients will genuinely feel like they’ve had a great meeting if you get them comfortable enough to talk openly to you and this gives you a great opportunity to build the proposal around their hopes and desires!
Step Two – Ask Great Questions
During Client meetings the most valuable thing to do is ask great questions. Asking great questions gives you the knowledge and power to be able to put together a winning proposal. During these early stage questions, there is no need to demonstrate your expertise, it is all about making the Client comfortable in your company. Create an environment where they are able to ask anything, they want without feeling stupid. Some Clients may come to you and feel slightly intimidated by the technology as they won’t have a clue about any of it. Don’t make it about the tech! Ask them why they want a cinema, what they enjoy watching, how often they watch or even what is there favourite program to watch.
All of these questions allow you to spec a system suitable for their requirements. If they watch a lot of TV all day in a bright room, then a standard project isn’t going to cut it. Having that information will allow you to demonstrate why you’ve specified something specifically – because it works, and option X and Y won’t work in that environment.
Ahead of your meeting work out the most appropriate questions for the Client. Go armed with a selection. Although you might need prompts, don’t rattle through a sheet of questions in front of you, the idea is to spark a meaningful conversation, not rapid fire questions.
Don’t be afraid to talk about cost during these discussions. If you’re able to demonstrate by images or VR different rooms and specifications complete with cost this will help the Client understand how much things are. Don’t waste your time putting together a proposal for a £100k cinema if the Client thinks it costs £10k!
Step Three – Teach Them Something They Don’t Know
Once you’ve asked great questions and noted their answers down, you’ll be in the position to start to talk. At this stage it is important to get across a valuable piece of information that really accelerates their knowledge or understanding. A great way of doing this is through demonstrating a scenario with a story. Again, something that can be pre planned (keep a list of them somewhere and add to them.)
The real difference comes when you’re able to demonstrate in an interesting and engaging way. SinemasVR members have access to a catalogue of videos that help explain various features that are ordinarily complex and a bit boring. Through animated render videos members are able to show Clients the benefits of various technologies such as masking screens in as little as 40 seconds through a great looking video. Giving you the ability to teach, and also explain the value of typically hard to sell features.
Create and curate your own stories about experiences and how they’ve helped your previous Clients. People love to hear of success stories and how your company helped them avoid making a costly mistake, and the value it’s provided.
Step Four – Demonstrate Why Your Specification Meets Their Requirements
In a previous blog we discussed how to write great proposals. Before you demonstrate why your specification is perfect for their requirements get the proposal right first.
It’s always best to sit down with the Client and run through the proposal. Avoid emailing it across with no conversation at all costs! Even with a well curated proposal a conversation can help your Client jog their memory as you remind them of the conversations and answers they gave.
Your aim during this process is to get them to buy in to the design and system you’ve specified. Explain why you’ve specified what has been selected. Don’t go too deep into the technical reasons. Keep it really simple. i.e. A brighter projector allows you to view the screen with background lights on etc. Everything you describe should be in context to the Client’s surroundings and their story.
Never over specify! If they really don’t intend to watch films in a lounge set up and never have the volume high there is no point in specifying an incredible AVR and reference level speakers. Listen to what your Client has said and find out why they don’t want it. It may be that you can explain a reason why they might. But if they are firm with what they want, don’t blow your chance by specifying something they don’t need or want!
Step Five – Tell Them How to Buy from You!
Sometimes the most overlooked point of all! How do your Clients buy from you? do you let them know at the end of the proposal what to do next? Ideally, they should be presented with two options.
- What to do if they want to proceed right away
- How to seek more guidance if they aren’t quite ready yet
Asking the right questions when you are with the Client is also important. Ask them when they are looking to have their room completed by. Help them work back from that point to understand when they’ll need to place the order with you. Let them know what your lead times are so they can work it into their decision-making process.
Increasing your conversation rate and making sure you don’t lose out to the competition comes down to listening to your Clients choices, educating them to make the right choice for them, and then offering them what they’ve asked for. When running through proposals and it appears that you aren’t getting the buy in that you hoped for from the Client loop back round to the reasons why the proposal is the way it is. Remind them of the answers that you gave them and ask if that’s still valid or it needs to be changed. The chances are that you won’t win them all, but adopting these steps into your business will help increase the amount of projects you win.