Below are my top reasons why starting off your selling process with a showroom tour is an absolutely horrible idea.
- Prospects can’t relax. Sit back and watch a showroom tour from one of your coworkers. It’s laughable when you look at it. There’s a lot of leaning, shifting of feet and general discomfort going on as the prospect nods their head as if they understand what the hell you’re even talking about. And if the prospect has a back injury like most middle aged men, it’s absolutely awful. Try getting them somewhere quiet where you can have a coffee and relax – even sit down. Getting them to open up on their needs and wants is so much more valuable then you getting the cabinets on the displays to open up. “Hey look, another empty cabinet – isn’t that just beautiful?” Yeah sure it is – but only from your perspective.
- It should be more like a doctor visit. Your doc doesn’t start off by showing you the lab, the surgery room and a colonoscopy device when all you have is a runny nose. Instead, he asks “What seems to be the problem today?” Then you describe you’re runny nose (and some family drama)…then he asks more questions and only at the end of your visit does he actually prescribe something for your ailment. Starting off with a showroom tour forces you to show your prospects that colonoscopy device first. And that means you’re most likely showing them things they aren’t interested in or, worse yet, don’t even need. And, well, that’s a little scary to prospects.
- It encourages too much focus on product. In fine dining restaurants, did you know it’s rude for the waiter to ask you to cut into your steak to see if it is cooked appropriately? That’s because it interrupts the flow of conversation and the expectation should be that your steak is cooked to perfection. Moving from vignette to vignette is not only distracting, but it interrupts your dialogue with the prospect on why they are remodeling. Instead of introducing yourself and concentrating on qualifying, you’re forced to introduce product displays and stuff prospects most likely aren’t ready to hear.
- It encourages tire kickers. Showroom tours used to be a get-to-know-you/product-ideation sort of thing with buyers – at a time when buyers were lined up out the door. Why spend 15 minutes on a tour when you can qualify a prospect in under five minutes? You have to have hours available to sell. If you’re touring your showroom like the guides on Animal Kingdom to every Tom, Dick and Harry, you’re closing rates are going to be in the toilet.
- It’s usually overwhelming. Most prospects have some sort of mental picture in their head somewhere of something they’d like to accomplish in their upcoming remodeling project. That showroom tour of yours is ridiculously overwhelming to them and most likely just completely obliterated whatever they had in their head. Now their confused, frustrated and, as the old saying goes, a confused buyer never buys.
- It hides poor qualification skills. Qualifying with product is a proven formula for failure. And if you think otherwise, you’re kidding yourself. You qualify with questions about timeframe, decision makers, scope of project, budget and more. You don’t qualify by jamming the prospect into a product line just so you can take a wild ass guess at their budget and somehow convince yourself that you’ve lowered the chances they’ll swap brands on you later when designing.They’ll swap alright – to another competitor of yours. All you’ll see on your end is that they never called you back.
- It encourages more questions. It’s almost a certainty that something you show in your tour is going to work against you later. Maybe it’s an unbelievable upgrade you love and they can’t afford. Or maybe it’s confusion and clutter you stuck into their heads. Either way, you’ve done little to grease the skids towards a closed sale. In fact, you’ve most likely slowed things down. Think of it this way: if I’m your prospect and you show me something I’ve never seen before…don’t you think I’ll have questions? You betcha! And more questions…and more and more – all about a product I don’t understand at a time when you should be asking me questions about my project.
The showroom tour gives you a false sense of confidence and hinders your ability to connect with prospects and ultimately close a sale. Similar to that colonoscopy you’re probably due for, showroom tours are painful to watch and to receive.
Nuke the showroom tour for you and your staff – like yesterday. Put the focus back on solid qualification skills, listening and other probing (no pun intended) questions about their project.