Developing a sales strategy framework is one of the most important things that your trades business can do to improve sales.
However, creating a winning sales strategy may first require a company-wide shift in how you think about selling.
That’s where adopting a sales mindset that focuses on your customers comes in.
What is a Trades Sales Mindset?
A sales mindset is all about the mental attitude and approach your team takes to selling.
With the customer’s needs at the forefront of your mind, a sales mindset encourages staff to think more strategically about how they engage with a prospect and how they can find the right solution for them. A sales mindset should not focus on the hard-sell, being loud, or pushy: it’s about positive connections. Recruiting the right people to sell for your company is important, click here to explore the soft skills your company should be looking for during recruitment.
There’s a lot more to winning business than simply having the ability to complete the job. Your competitors will likely have the same technical skills as your team, so it’s important to ask what it is that should make people choose your business, instead of theirs.
“Most trades businesses don't necessarily think of what they do as selling; most will consider what they're doing from a technical perspective, thinking of each job only as a task that needs doing…”
— Jason Morjaria, CEO of Commusoft
But by adopting a sales mindset, you can shift your thinking to both recognize and prioritize the many aspects that affect a customer’s decision to do business with you.
Any new sales strategy you implement will be underpinned and driven by this foundational mindset. This will improve how you interact with customers and help you win more work.
Stop Quoting, Start Selling
The first step to adopting a sales mindset is to understand and acknowledge that what your business does is selling.
Whether you’re in plumbing and heating, HVAC, electrical, facility maintenance, or any other trades industry, the one thing all of these businesses have in common is that they sell.
They sell products, services, and most importantly, they sell themselves.
One of the biggest traps that trades businesses fall into is believing that the simple act of sending a quote is all that the sales process entails. That’s a negative sales mindset and couldn’t be further from the truth. If this is how you view sales, your business needs a new, positive sales mindset, one that helps you to stop quoting, and start selling.
But… aren’t they the same thing?
What is Quoting a Service?
Quoting (or estimating) is the basic process of sending a price, a list of parts, and perhaps a brief summary of the work to be completed to the potential customer.
What is Selling a Service?
Selling is a much more comprehensive process. Selling encapsulates everything from attracting leads, consulting, sending a proposal, effectively following up, and ultimately closing the deal.
By being more proactive and less passive, your business can develop a winning sales process that reliably grows your revenue.
Your next (and perhaps greater) challenge will be to get the rest of your team adopting a sales mindset, too.
How to Develop a Sales Mindset in the Trades
Defining unique selling strategies for your sales team isn’t easy. Here are seven tips to help you get started!
1. Set Clear Sales Goals
Working towards transparent targets makes it much easier to surpass your quotas. Besides the obvious increase in deal size and deal won rate, you can set a number of cold leads to reach out to each month, a target for email opens, or work to reduce the overall length of your sales cycle. Remember, your goals should motivate your salespeople, not discourage them!
2. Build Confidence
For your sales team, their confidence will grow when they meet and exceed their personal and team goals. For your prospective customers, establishing and increasing trust in your team and services is essential during your selling process. Converting more leads into customers will be easier once you prove you’re the best team for the job.
3. Emphasize Customer-Centricity
Your customers come first! You know this. Bigger deal sizes are a great win, but meeting customer needs is essential. It’s about providing the best solutions – not just boosting your revenue. That’s why listening to each prospect is so important.
4. Practice Active Listening
Understanding and solving your prospects’ unique needs will set you apart from competitors. Active listening will make it easier for your sales team to both qualify and disqualify leads. You might be tempted to sell the most expensive appliances and parts, but they might not be the best option for your customer and their needs. Selling is a two-way street: both your business and prospective customer need to be good fits for each other.
5. Use Persuasive Language
An extension of active listening is understanding how to compel leads to choose you. There’s a razor’s edge between being helpful and too pushy or “salesy”. Tracking why your customers chose you makes it easier to discern what your prospects will likely care most about too.
6. Leverage Technology
There are so many great digital tools your team can use to effectively manage and oversee all sales activities. Digital sales pipeline, lead tracking, and proposal builders ensure sales teams stay-on-top of each opportunity. The best sales software are all-in-one solutions that integrate with your job management platform. This makes the transition of notes and files from your sales to service team seamless!
7. Seek Continuous Improvement
Complacency is the death of the best teams. Like any great business, you should always work to better yourselves and your offerings. If you’re interested in either narrowing down or diversifying your services, look into past sales. What services are and aren’t bringing in the most profits? This can help you determine where you’re excelling and where you need to make improvements.
Aligning Your Team With a Sales-Focused Mindset
Selling requires a united front. Each team member has the capacity to impact your sales in one way or another, which is why it’s vital that you are all on the same page. Whether it’s the person who answers inquiries, the in-field surveyor (or as we’d call them, a salesperson), or the technician who completes the job, everybody contributes to the lead’s or customer’s perception of your business and their likelihood to choose yours.
If everyone is aligned with the same sales mindset, it allows your team to be more consistent, more efficient, and ultimately help you to secure more revenue.
What Should Your Team Be Aligned On?
What the sales process looks like from start to finish (plus what all those sales terms mean)
Who is responsible for which steps of the sales process
When each sales action needs to occur
How to communicate the value of your services at each touchpoint
Why the sales strategy impacts your company goals (and what those goals are)
Impacts the overall strategy, direction, and alignment of sales across the business. If they are also chief salesperson, their attitude and approach greatly influences customer relationships too.
Typically the first touchpoint for leads. Their initial interaction sets the tone for what comes next. Are they prompt, polite, and informative? Do they understand what their goal is when handling a lead?
The first person from your business that the lead will likely meet face-to-face. Are they arriving on-time, professionally dressed, and thoroughly listening to the lead’s needs?
When One Person Handles Your Sales
The reality is many smaller trades businesses won’t have multiple people dedicated to selling. If you are solely responsible for sales in your company, it’s still vital that you align your sales mindset with your objectives. Do you know what you want to achieve when it comes to selling and do you have a plan to achieve it?
What Comes After Adopting a Sales Mindset?
With this sales mindset adopted, your business will have a renewed focus on how you plan to grow and increase revenue through selling. A sales strategy framework that aligns your team will ensure employees can understand how they contribute, can work more productively, and may stay more motivated too.
Of course, you still need to define how you’ll implement your sales strategy and how you plan to manage the process of selling in your company.
Keep reading – we’ll show you how to master your sales pipeline in Chapter 2.
Do you typically consider what your business does as selling?
That’s great – you’re already on the right track! Would everybody else in your business agree with you? If not, that’s where team alignment becomes crucial, to ensure you’re all singing from the same hymn sheet. With the sales mindset down, there’s nothing holding you back from mastering your sales pipeline!
Onto Chapter 2…
Okay, so you don’t sell… then you quote, estimate, or consult?
We know that’s the mindset of a lot of trades businesses – and that’s why we put this guide together – to help you shift from quoting to selling.
Hopefully Chapter 1 has communicated the sales mindset and the importance of selling, but if you’re not yet convinced, we suggest you check out Chapter 2 on mastering your sales pipeline. In some cases, the difference between selling and quoting only becomes apparent when viewed in the framework of making a sale itself.