I’m not a salesman!
There’s a healthy mistrust around salespeople, as their job is to sell. The stereotypical ‘salesman’ sports an ill-fitting suit, with greasy slicked back hair and greedy eyes — his only goal is to sell to you at the highest price, regardless of if it’s right for you.
This is the absolute opposite of a tradie.
Trade business owners always protest that “we are not salesman, we’re tradies!”
But you need sales to run any business successfully, even your trade business. Without sales, your business goes under.
So, it’s vital to refine your sales skills and gain confidence in your selling ability because you need to be a salesman.
Tv’s most beloved, and worst, salesman is Gil Gunderson from The Simpsons. Famously known for his poor sales skills and bumbling nature, he can never close a sale, as he reeks of desperation.
Us tradies feel a bit like Ol’ Gil when selling to a customer — awkward and out of place.
You didn’t become a tradie because you were a slick salesman, great with words and upselling. You became a tradie because you like working with your hands and delivering excellent work for your customers.
So, where’s the balance?
The answer is simple; play to your strengths. Don’t try to ‘sell,’ just be yourself. The moment you start with greasy salesman techniques, you lose the customer’s trust.
Trust is a vital necessity between a tradie and customer. The customer has hired you, because you’re the professional — they can’t fix the issue themselves. They trust that you will guide them through the process, and not ‘rip them off.’
Plus, customers are now savvier than ever and highly likely to put in a little research into their issue. These days you can type anything into Google and receive a fairly comprehensive answer, so bull sh*t can be detected pretty quickly.
Then, how do you upsell?
Selling things to your customers that they don’t need will gain a low reputation in the industry and in the end, your business will be worse off. However, selling them on an upgrade that will last longer, or save them money long term, is ideal.
For example, a Plumber may suggest replacing the hot water system entirely vs. a temporary fix of just replacing the valves.
Another sales skill is informing the customer of an issue they wouldn’t have been aware of before. For instance, an Electrician may be at a house for another matter and find the home’s switchboard is faulty upon inspection.
Informing the customer of the potential issue and your ability to solve the problem is a great way to upsell without being disingenuous.
This is where sales skills come into play. If you clearly explain the benefit to the customer and how it outweighs the cost of the upgrade or additional work — you have a better chance of securing the sale. People will spend now to avoid future headaches when the benefits are explained well and understood.
So in truth, you are a salesman, but you have the opportunity to decide what KIND of salesman you want to be. If you show your customer that you are knowledgeable, trustworthy, and that your purpose is to help, not hinder, you’ll gain an excellent reputation (and increase your confidence) as a result.
To better develop your sales skills, read on with our blog, ‘Get your sales techniques on the money — and make more money!’