International Door & Operator Industry

SEP-OCT 2018

Garage door industry magazine for garage door dealers, garage door manufacturers, garage door distributors, garage door installers, loading docks, garage door operators and openers, gates, and tools for the door industry.

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Page 22 of 118

SALES&MARKETING have the personality of a doorknob and are not a good communicator, you will have a rough time. If you're not comfortable with traveling, meeting and talking with strangers, I suggest you try another position. It's a plus if you have solid technical product knowledge, but it's recommended to travel with your fellow salesmen at the beginning to pick up pointers on how to act. Owner/ operators love to talk shop and will ask questions about your product, so it is best you reply with intelligent answers. If someone asks you a question and you don't know the answer—do not guess or make something up. Tell them you will get back to them with the answer–and do it! People in production believe sales are easy, but I'm here to say the position of 'salesman' is the toughest to hold. While you have to work hard to find new accounts, you must also keep an eye on all your current accounts to make sure they are happy and don't flip to a competitor. What I'm saying is; if your hard work produces new accounts, you cannot sit on your hands and do nothing afterwards. I suggest on the first day of every month, make a list of suspects in your territory. If you are an IDA member, you can ask IDA for the door dealer member list. IDA now boasts over 2,000 members and the list is available in Microsoft Excel format so you can sort members by state or province, or zip code. Phone numbers are also included. Once you make a list of suspects, call each one to set up a meeting. This will allow you to make appointments and plan a trip. Hopefully all in the same week. You have to be very diligent with all appointments. Never be late! Customer satisfaction is at the core of the sales experience. High levels of customer satisfaction are strong predictors of customer retention and future purchases. Typically, a salesman will approach a suspect with lower pricing, but not all door dealers are looking for lower pricing and many times can be influenced with other benefits. A good mutual relationship is more important than pricing and is something you should work on with all your suspects, prospects and accounts in good standing (current with their bills). Actually getting paid for your goods is most important. If you bring in a new account and they don't pay, you did your company a disservice. So do your homework first and check credit references. Depending on your company's policies, and your prospect's preferences, this can happen before you get that first order but sometimes doesn't happen until the prospect is ready to do business. Often new customers will wait until they are ready to buy to provide you with trade references. Credit terms can be an important part of the customer relationship; it helps to know what options are out there. Those terms can range anywhere from CIA (cash in advance) where the check has to clear before products can be shipped to net 60 days where the customer is given an extended term in order to assist their cash flow. This can be helpful especially on large commercial projects where the general contractor is processing payments to the door dealer. As a salesman, you should always understand your company's credit policies to avoid confusion during sales negotiations. It is also important to understand the applicable lien laws in your area; sometimes the product manufacturer can retain lien rights on materials shipped directly to jobsites. I have enticed a few customers with an early pay discount. Basically, you give a discount to those who pay faster, such as in 7-10 days. You can post the discounted price on the invoice; or if your company does monthly billing statements it might be a discount for the entire current balance. You will be surprised how many will take the option and pay faster to save a few bucks, resulting in improving their profit and your company's cash flow: something you should always prioritize. Lien laws, and credit disclosure laws should be taken very seriously. A professional sales person should know what the rules are and follow them. If your territory crosses state borders, do not assume the laws are the same. When calling for appointments, you will experience some resistance. Most owners have trained their staff to vet every call and will not connect you to the people in charge until they know your intentions. If this happens, don't take it personally. Due to the constant barrage of telemarketers, it is a normal business practice to screen calls. If you do connect and the person says they are too busy to talk to anyone, ask them when is a good time to call back or see if they would prefer an email. Honestly, it can take 5-12 attempts before getting a meeting set up. After you have sat down with a suspect and spoken with them, and if they have your attention, they become a prospect and hopefully an account. Continued from page 18 Continued on page 22 "While you have to work hard to find new accounts, you must always keep an eye on all your current accounts to make sure they are happy, so they don't flip to a competitor... if your hard work produces new accounts you cannot sit on your hands and do nothing afterwards." 20 International Door & Operator Industry™

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