Wikipedia describes confidence as “A state of being certain, either that a hypothesis or prediction is correct, or that a chosen course of action is the best or most effective given the circumstances.”
What is the value of confidence in your sales approach? It’s huge. If a customer doesn’t think you believe in either your diagnosis of the issues as well as the solutions you have created, they will not purchase from you. In essence, the first person who must be sold is YOU the service or sales person. You must believe in what you are telling a client or they will see right through you. I was recently doing a ride-a-long observation in the field with a service tech and what I witnessed was a pathetic string of verbal fumbling.
Weak Words Kill Sales
The person I was observing proved to be a very bright, smart and knowledgeable tech with over 15 years of experience in the field. His verbal skills did not reflect his level of competence however and so he was left frustrated and angry at the end of the call. The customer told him that they had to “shop around” to get more information on repairing the problem. So he left defeated.
The difference between him getting or losing the job was just a matter of using “weak” words when conveying the problems and solutions. Let’s go over this call and see what “weak” things he did to make himself look like he had a low level of confidence in his approach.
1. Diagnosing – After he diagnosed the problem, he explained what he found to the customer. Here is what it sounded like… (Weak language in bold)
“Hey I think I found the problem here. At this time you got a bad ignitor. It’s probably due to lack of maintenance. I really don’t know if there are other problems because I’ll have to try and fix this problem because I can’t tell if there are more problems or not. This is probably the only problem though so don’t worry too much.”
2. Pricing – Of course the above information lead to the customer asking, “Well how much will this cost to get it fixed?” The answer…
“I don’t really know right now. I’ll have to try and find the price in my flat rate book first. Hopefully I’ll have the part in stock. I’m not sure if your service contract is up to date so I’ll see if I can find that out for you. I could call the boss to see if he could give you the contract price though. Let me go out to my truck and try to get a hold of him to see if maybe he knows something about your contract.”
3. Solutions – Once he went to the truck to come up with the pricing he returned to the home owner…
“Okay I got the bad news for you. (Really? Getting the heat back on is bad news?) Before I tell you how much this will cost, I gotta tell you that there is no way of knowing if there are more problems or not. I’ll see what I find once I try and get this up and running first. Then we can hopefully get you the full diagnosis after that. I don’t have the exact OEM part on my truck but I have a generic part that most likely will work.”
Forget what You “Don’t Know”
During the ensuing discussion with the customer he uttered words like, “maybe, we could try this, could be, I’m not sure” and many other weak phrases. Once in the truck, I quickly let him know in no uncertain terms that his lack of confidence was killing his results.
I simply told him that customers do not care about the things you DON’T know. They only care about what you DO know. For instance, if you were an electrician were not sure about an electrical problem and the exact location of the short, keep that to yourself. Instead emphasize what you CAN tell them for certain. For instance you CAN say that the system is old and the electrical panel is obsolete and over loaded. You can also say that you have ways to renovate this system and take care of the problem permanently.
This tech took my words to heart. He said he would eliminate these weak words. (Not try to) What impact did this minor change in language have? It was huge. The past two weeks, this tech who could barely achieve as little as $1,500 per week has done over $20,000 per week in the past two weeks. Remember to only talk about what you know for certain and leave out the rest. Your sales results will be the better for it.