Scoreboard kitchen salesI have the great pleasure of coaching a girls’ fast-pitch travel softball team. I enjoy coaching because it helps me feel like I am giving something back to the next generation and, most of the time, it’s just plain fun! One of the lessons we teach our kids early on is that “you can’t hit the ball if you are focusing on the scoreboard.”

That lesson applies to cabinet dealers

I have found over the years that many sales team members get hung up on the dollars and cents way too early in the process. Too often, they are “looking at the scoreboard” within the first 15 minutes of an initial meeting with a prospect rather than following a routine process to clearly understand their customers’ needs and wants. They are afraid of investing too much time with an unqualified customer, because many times, that is what they were trained to do. They are so focused on the bottom line that they fail to observe the various clues, many non-verbal, that their prospect is sharing with them.

Some of the best sales people I have ever worked with had an uncanny ability to sniff out a prospect’s budget after an initial meeting — sometimes without ever having to ask a direct question.

I always challenged my staff to remember they were in the “people business” and their product just happened to be cabinets. Create an open and honest dialog with your prospect and build their trust. Allow them to share their vision and actively listen to the clues that can help you match your products and services to their needs.

Observe body language to gain insight on their “wants,” the little touches that can make your plan standout. Stay focused on the process, “the ball,” and the scoreboard will almost always take care of itself.