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spacer A New Sales Approach and Process for Restoration Professionals
By Tim Miller

Timothy Miller Selling to make a living isn’t easy. The time that I spent as a cold call salesman involved the highest highs I had ever felt at a job and the lowest lows. On the worst days, it felt like the doors on my car were welded shut. The restoration salespeople that I consult with on a regular basis know this situation all too well because it’s the same thing they experience when they’re out making calls and not getting the results they’re after. 

The occasional sales miracle can happen when you’re in the right place at the right time. You might be in an adjuster’s office just as that adjuster discovers that their usual go-to contractor just screwed up an important job, or you could be talking to a plumber just as their phone rings with news of a flooded basement. These moments do occur, but any salesperson that relies on these moments won’t be in the business for very long.

Restoration salespeople need a way to consistently build mutually beneficial relationships with the targets that are in the best position to hire, refer or work with their company. It isn’t enough for restoration salespeople to be “busy”. You can put in consistent long days of work, but until targets are actually calling you to refer work, sales efforts cannot be considered successful.

How can restoration salespeople make a consistent and immediate positive impact on their company’s bottom line when the targets that we want to forge relationships with have their walls up? When you walk into an adjuster’s office, their guard is up the second they discover you represent a restoration company.

Why? Because they already know what they’re going to hear from you! You’re going to unload on them with what I like to call the feature and benefit machine gun:

“Hi! Thanks for giving me a minute of your time! I just wanted to drop by and let you know about our company, Joe’s Restoration. We’re a water, fire and mold remediation contractor that offers 24/7/365 emergency service. All our technicians are IICRC certified and we’ve got the latest and greatest in equipment and…”

What do you think is running through that adjuster’s head? You or your salesperson is delivering this same, tired speech that they hear from every single restoration company that walks through their door. They’re thinking to themselves, “There’s five minutes of my life I’ll never get back.”

At this point, if you haven’t completely irritated the adjuster with your approach, they might humor you and ask for some literature. You know very well that as soon as you walk out that door, it’s probably going to get filed straight into the trash.

Either that or it’s going to get lost on their desk because that adjuster is taking on about four times the amount of claims that he or she is used to. If only they had a restoration contractor to work with that could give them a way to close claims faster and make their job easier…

Well, there’s a thought.

What if, instead of walking into that adjuster’s office and “unloading the clip” on your features and benefits rifle, you communicated to them that you understand the problems that are unique to their business and may be able to provide them with a solution? What if you made it clear that you are there not to sell anything to them, but to find out if there’s even a reason that the two of you should do business together?

What would they think? Have they ever heard anything like that from a restorer?

People change for their own reasons, not yours. No one is going to change the way in which they operate and make the change to work with your restoration company unless they are given good reason to. When you are able to demonstrate that you understand your target’s industry, and more importantly their specific business challenges, you are communicating on a level that other salespeople don’t operate on. 

The sales approach for restorers should always be to take a non-selling posture. This means that you should literally be saying to your prospects that you don’t know enough about their company’s unique situation to know if you can help them (and you won’t know until you can have a conversation).

When they hear this, their defenses are let down because you’re not trying to sell them! You’re making it clear that there could be a possibility for a mutually beneficial business relationship, but you’re just not sure yet. Isn’t that refreshing?

When you take a non-selling posture, and are then allowed by the target to ask them some questions about their business, you’re able to probe for what we like to call motive. A lot of times, motive is obvious and the target knows that they need to find a solution to a particular business obstacle, but sometimes, you can uncover motives through your line of questioning that the target didn’t even know they had! When you are able to uncover hidden motive, you are demonstrating to your prospect that you can be a resource for them.

There is, of course, a time to sell, but doing so too early greatly reduces any chance you might have of building a long term relationship with a target. The time to sell doesn’t come until after both parties have agreed to have a discussion, motive is discovered and investigated further and the target has made a decision to change the way in which they operate if you can offer a solution.

How do you even know if a target wants to do business with you? Their relative may own a restoration company and there’s no chance that they’d ever work with someone besides him or her. Wouldn’t it be nice to find this out early on and use your selling time and resources on prospects that may actually want to do business with you?

Successful selling is about efficiency. When you have a sales process in place, your energy is better allocated to where it needs to be, not only by what you’re saying, but also who you’re saying it to. A sales process allows you to minimize your time with the bad prospects and maximize your time with the good ones.

Having a sales process not only helps you make better use of your time, it also gives you an overall guideline. When you have solid scripting, it’s like having a GPS for selling. You always know where you are in the process and what the next step is!

Though there are some exceptions to the rule, salespeople in our industry are not “superstars”. That’s the beauty of having a sales process in place. When a process is in place, you don’t need to be a “natural” or “superstar” salesperson as long as you’re putting in the time and effort!

Becoming a great salesperson in our industry is not an overnight transformation. There will be “crash and burn” moments, especially when learning and implementing a selling system. That being said, restoration salespeople that are willing to learn and implement a proven selling model and consistently put in a hard day’s work will be able to really drive growth for their employers and at the same time start earning at the level of top sales performers in any field!

Tim Miller is the President of Business Development Associates, Inc., a marketing consulting firm that works exclusively in the restoration industry. He is the co-creator of Sales Mastery for Restorers with John Hirth of Selling Dynamics, LLC. This is a yearlong training program designed specifically for restoration salespeople to dramatically increase effectiveness and deliver maximum impact for their company. Contact Tim Miller by email or at 773-777-9956.


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