Selling Without Slippage: Translate & Communicate
The responsibilities of a Sales Person range significantly within a remodeling company for many reasons. Typically, a sales person is rewarded by closing the deal and setting expectations with the client. However, it is equally important to know how he or she can help reduce profit slippage by communicating the client’s project details effectively, when handing the project off to production.
Depending on their service offerings, company structure, and volume, there are many ways remodeling companies handle the transfer of information from Sales to Production. There are salespeople that just sell, salespeople that design, salespeople that estimate and then of course, there are the owners who are the salespeople, estimator, designer, office manager, janitor and chef. No matter the structure or size of your company, here are a few things to keep in mind, when selling, that will help your company avoid slippage and improve profitability.
Have a Process
Implementing a sales-to-production hand-off process is one of the most important things a company can do to reduce or eliminate slippage. Depending on the size of the company, when a sales person is wearing multiple hats, the need for a process is even more imperative. Establishing a process will help eliminate the important information that is lost with “mental notes” during the sales process.
Even if you are handing the sheet off to yourself, from sales to estimating for example, be sure to establish a process that will grow with you and your company. As you are implementing or even just improving your process, be sure to keep all of the parties involved during development. Getting constant feedback from Sales, Design, Estimating, Trade Contractors, and Production will make your process more effective as it is handed off throughout a project.
Become a Project Translator
During a consultation with the client, Sales will gather a number of important details, and the client will often times personalize the reason they are renovating. Whether you develop a checklist, or record the interaction with the client, do not let the personal details get lost when you are estimating, or creating the scope of work. Make sure that production will not only know what they are building, but WHY they are building it as well.
Increasing the emotional intelligence of your details will fill in the gaps in the scope of work. If you let your design or production team know why the basement is RedSox Blue, it will also help them pick up on a missing detail and ask the right questions during a planning meeting. It will also let them know that they should refrain from their Yankees talk during the project.
Know the financial and emotional cost of slippage
No matter the cause of project slippage, the one thing that must be discussed is the financial and emotional impact that slippage can have on your company. Do not let the stress of a deadline get in the way of checking each box in the process. If the Customer/Client is adamant on completing the project before a holiday, wedding, or graduation, always remember the cost that slippage will have on your company and your bottom line. If your company generates $1 million in Revenue, at 4% slippage you are losing $40,000 a year due to waste, excess runs to the lumber yard or improper material orders.
Being efficient in your process is the goal but rushing and skipping steps to meet the needs of a client is counterproductive and will ultimately help you lose money, creating a division among your team. If the production staff is regularly given a poorly developed plan or find that they are constantly scratching their heads in the field, you can bet that they will look to the sales/estimating/design team for answers.
While you are setting expectations with your client for an incredible project and customer experience, remember that the production department needs you to do the same with them. Increasing the clarity of communication while you complete a project will not only reduce and eliminate slippage, it will help you establish a reputation as an incredible remodeler & builder.