How to Use Mirrors to Decrease Objections and Boost Results

One of my favorite communication tools is the mirror. The power of a mirror is that it reflects the truth! A mirror gives back what it receives. And, if you don’t like what you see, then you will make adjustments to improve the reflection.

A CSR and Their Mirror

Even though a client cannot see the face of a CSR, the client can hear the tone of their voice. From the tone of voice, the client imagines what kind of expression the CSR is making with their face.

If the CSR is smiling, then the client can hear the smile. If a CSR rolls their eyes at a client’s “dumb question,” then a client can hear the eye roll.

Body language is communicated over the phone. A great way to boost the positive body language and tone of voice is by placing a mirror on the CSRs computer. It’s an old technique, but it’s one that works.

A Tech and Their Mirror

Techs are the brand ambassadors of your company. When they step into the client’s home, they represent your company.

This is why a mirror is such a vital part of a tech’s communication tool bag. Along with a model of what your perfect service tech looks like, a tech can quickly determine if they are meeting your brand standards.

A Sales Professional and Their Mirror

Did you know that there is another type of mirror? This type is called the verbal mirror.

The verbal mirror gives back to the homeowner their information. When the homeowner’s information is reflected back to them, they will naturally make adjustments.

Here is an example of how the verbal mirror works:

Homeowner: “This project is just too expensive.”

Sales Professional: “Expensive?” (Pause and wait.)

Homeowner: “Well. Maybe expensive isn’t the right word. It’s more like I don’t have the money for it right now.”

 

When the Sale Professional reflects back to the client their objection, then more information is given by the client.

This occurs because people have an instinctive desire to be truthful. Especially when they are faced with their own words.

When the mirror is held up the client, the client will typically clarify and provide greater detail.

The more information you have as a Sale Professional, the better you will be able to solve the client’s problems and win their business.

Mirrors are fantastic tools for boosting results. Start using them today!

 

Todd Liles is the founder of Service Excellence Training and the creator of the PRESS PLAY Training System.

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!

Simple Tips & Trips to Keep Your Business on Track

Running a business is hard. Everywhere you look, you will find articles, blogs, and podcasts on what you should and should not do to be successful. Below are some of the best business tips to know and business trips to avoid that I have found. 

Tip/Trick One

Tip- Stay up to date with your industry. You cannot do this alone. There is a multitude of resources to keep you informed about legal changes, product advancements, etc. Sign up for newsletters that give you an at-a-glance briefing of what is going on. Network with other contractors to find out what is happening in their area. 

Trip– Trying to do everything. Take a good look at what you are spending your time on. Factor in the value of your time and lost opportunities. Don’t waste your time on tasks that you can easily outsource or hire a person to perform. Save your time and energy on growing your customer base, training your employees, and overseeing your business. Chances are, you are doing tasks at a pay rate that is much higher than the going rate. Hire well, and they will be better at the task than you were. 

 

Tip/Trick Two

Tip- Save for a rainy day. Put a plan in place to save consistently. Be careful to not take on too much debt. Profit by Design is our Contractor program to help you start setting aside your profits while keeping money reserved for the vital needs of your business; payroll, taxes, and saving for the long term.

Trip- Not knowing your numbers. What is your profit margin, and how much are your monthly expenses? Compare your numbers to your KPI’s and be prepared to make changes quickly when needed. 

 

Tip/Trick Three

Tip- Document your processes. Review them and keep them updated. This does take time, but you will more than recoup your efforts when onboarding new employees, promoting existing employees, and providing structure and career paths.

Trip- Not implementing what you learn. After training, be sure to focus on one or two ideas. It is easy to get overwhelmed when attending seminars, training sessions, etc. Go into the event with the idea of only acting on a few nuggets. This will keep you focused on gleaning the best ideas, instead of writing pages and pages of notes that get set aside when you get back to the office. Find someone who can hold you accountable, and you do the same for them.

 

Tip/Trick Four

Tip- Keep your overhead low. Do you need an office? Can you downsize or change locations? Many distributors and supply houses have showrooms for contractors to utilize. One-day shipping is minimizing the need for a large inventory. Your techs are out with customers, and with VoIP, your CSR’s can answer the phone from any location. While you are at it, take a good look at your expenses. Are you utilizing what you are paying for? If you are paying membership dues or fees, make sure you are taking advantage of all the benefits those organizations offer.

Trip- Trying to reinvent the wheel. Yes, your business needs to stand out from your competitors. But that doesn’t mean you have to create everything from scratch. Yes, you grow and learn from failures, but they don’t have to be your missteps. 

 

Tip Five

Tip- Set SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Sensitive.

 

Lynn Wise is the CEO and Founder of Contractor in Charge

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!

Perfect Practice Makes Perfect Sales

Vince Lombardi, the famous football coach, used to say, “Football is about blocking and tackling. The team that blocks and tackles better than their opponent will probably win the game.” Translation, stick to the basics and practice, practice, practice. But DON’T practice in front of the customer. Just like a football team doesn’t hone its craft in front of a packed stadium, your salespeople need to practice out of the limelight. Role-playing is the easiest and most effective way to practice and build confidence. It gives salespeople the risk-free opportunity to develop their selling skills within the guidelines of your sales process (assuming you have one!).

Our Attic Systems dealers have found that regularly scheduled role-playing of our sales process is the single most effective way they’ve experienced to improve the performance of their salespeople. Our process has scripts for every step of interaction with the customer, from how to book appointments and make confirmation calls, to multiple strategies to help close sales. Each week during sales meetings, 35 – 45 minutes is dedicated to role-playing specific steps and scripts in the sales process. Salespeople know in advance which steps will be reviewed and are assigned “homework” to be fully prepared for these sessions. If you want to improve your sales results (who doesn’t?), role-playing is a key component for your home performance business.

We share the following tips with all our dealers to help them implement role-playing as an integral part of their sales meeting:

Five Role-Playing Tips

 

1. Create a Safe Environment

Role-playing tends to be an uncomfortable thing for most of us. So be sure your role-playing exercises are done in a quiet place free from distractions and away from anyone not participating in the activity. There must be someone assigned responsibility to be the facilitator. The facilitator must create an environment of positivity and support. Role-playing IS NOT a test. It IS an opportunity to learn, grow, and expand skills. If salespeople feel there is no risk, they will give their best effort and will learn. If they don’t feel safe, they will simply go through the motions to complete the task and then revert to their habits as soon as they leave your sessions.

2. Define the “Rules”

Make sure that everyone knows that everyone participates in each role-play. Even if they are not the salesperson or the customer, they are to observe and be ready to provide helpful observations and input after each session. Feedback and observations should be positive and supportive. If it turns negative or critical, the ‘safe’ environment no longer exists and you will see your team shut down.

3. The Facilitator must enforce the “Rules”

It is up to you and the facilitator to ensure everyone stays focused on the task and within the ‘rules’; If someone gets critical or a role player does not stay ‘inside the lines’ of the session, you must step in immediately to keep the session going in the right direction.

4. Start Easy to Cement the Basics

You can’t learn basic blocking skills if the defense is blitzing on every play. Allow your salespeople to refine the exact language and techniques without trying to trip them up. The primary purpose of role-playing isn’t to see how well your salespeople think on their feet. It is to give them a safe and supporting environment where they can learn, practice, and refine your sales process.

5. Debrief . . . with kindness and support

At the end of each role-play, ask the salesperson what they felt went well, and what they could change the next time. Do not let the salesperson be too self-critical. Ask the ‘customer’ what the salesperson did that was helpful, and ONE suggestion for improvement. Then, ask the group what they liked best about the performance and for one thing that they think might help the salesperson. The facilitator should then choose one suggestion for the salesperson to try and repeat the exercise as many times as needed until there is a noticeable improvement in performance.

 

Consider including role-playing in every sales meeting as a way to keep your team ‘blocking and tackling’. Your win/loss record will surely get better and each of your salespeople will understand that working together as a team will only make each individual a better performer.

 

Marc Tannenbaum is the President of Attic Systems

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!

I Don’t Agree, but I’m Listening!

With our world growing more polarized day by day, it is more important than ever to have healthy conversations with those we agree with and not avoid those that we disagree with. We need to polish our skills of having productive and meaningful conversations with other human beings, even if we don’t agree with them. This applies to conversations with friends, acquaintances, relatives, as well as coworkers and clients. Avoiding someone because you know that the conversation of politics, religion, or some other touchy subject may come up is stressful and unhealthy. What I am not suggesting here is that you go full steam ahead and pontificate your beliefs and opinions without respect for others. The lecture approach will not get you far in a conversational atmosphere. 

After 40 years of being a trainer, public speaker, and in positions where proper communication is the key to success, I have improved my conversation, speaking, and listening skills through learning from my mistakes and observing others. Here are a few observations and suggestions that may help you with your communication skill set as well.

When I observe groups in conversation, whether it’s a group that is all in agreement or an adversarial group, I see their stress levels and blood pressure rising. The group that is all in agreement on a subject matter, they are passionate and can work themselves into a frenzy agreeing with each other. On the other hand, group conversations where there are obvious divides and disagreeing sides can escalate quickly and get stressful as well. According to the 2017 Stress in America Survey, “27 percent of adults strongly or somewhat agree that the political climate has caused strain between themselves and their family members. It’s important to have healthy conversations, but also to be mindful of when the discussion escalates and becomes unproductive.” It’s very healthy to have beliefs and opinions based on those beliefs, even to the point of being passionate about them, yet it’s also OK to disagree with someone, but listen to them and engage in civil conversation.

When having conversations that may become adversarial, find areas where you agree. You may disagree with someone, but instead of strongly reacting, actively listen to the other person about what is important to them. For example, you might have different ideas about gun control, but underneath you share the same concern for keeping your kids safe and healthy. You may find that by discussing shared viewpoints, areas of disagreement will feel less intense, and your stress may decrease. 

Some suggestions that may seem obvious, yet sometimes are difficult to put into practice:

  • Don’t multitask during your conversations with your phone and other distractions. You can’t fully engage and listen if you are partially present. Show respect for the person or group that you are speaking with by giving them your full attention, both physical and mentally, to the conversation at hand. 
  • Use open-ended questions to get more engagement from those in the conversation. Starting questions with who, what, when, where, or how will help you gain more insight into what others are thinking and truly believe. 
  • Avoid the need to save your ego by supporting your position with made-up data or hearsay. It’s OK to say you don’t know if you don’t know and don’t try to one-up everyone. Listen and let people share their experiences without one-upping them at every turn.
  • Try not to keep repeating the same information or experience throughout the conversation. Say it once and let it ride as is. Otherwise, it sounds like your pontificating on the subject and not listening to the dialogue.
  • And maybe the toughest to learn and practice is listening, because talking and thinking of your next comment is easier than listening. Remind yourself that you are in these conversations to learn and not to preach. It is not your job to covert everyone to your way of thinking. Have passion, beliefs, and opinions and add listening to these characteristics.   

I love it when people speak with passion and conviction. At the same time, one needs to stay calm during these conversations and not assume bad intent on the part of others. This takes practice and patience, but it is very powerful. Assuming ill motives almost instantly cuts us off from truly understanding why someone does and believes as they do. We may forget they’re human as well, with a lifetime of experience that shaped their minds. Getting stuck on any first wave of anger will set the stage for never having the opportunity to move forward with a productive conversation. When we stay calm and assume good or neutral intent, we give our minds a much stronger framework for dialogue.

Finally, what I’m not eluding to is just to be passive and never have an opinion or belief that may ruffle a few feathers. One side effect of having strong beliefs is that we may assume that our position is, or should be, obvious and self-evident to others and that we shouldn’t have to defend our belief and opinion. If someone doesn’t get it, that’s their problem. If it were that simple, we would all see things the same way, wouldn’t we? This attitude can be unhealthy as well during a conversation because it may shut you down and make you appear uncaring and uninvolved.  

Go ahead, make the argument with the above suggestions in mind. Find areas where you agree, be open and kind, accept the fact that you may not change the other person’s mind, and know the appropriate time to end a conversation peacefully when it becomes heated without resolution.

You may not always agree, but you should always be listening!

 

Steve Mores is the VP of Training and Sales at Dynamic Air Quality Solutions.

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!