Pest Control Sales — Closing Through Objections
After selling pest control door to door for five years and doing sales my entire life, I have found one common difference between rookies and top performers. Closing. The ABC's of selling are "Always Be Closing!" and that holds true for summer sales as well.
Change of Perspective
One of the most eye opening perspective changes for me as a sales rep was when I finally realized that almost every "Yes" I heard came after 5 "no's". As a rookie, I would build up a closing statement for the entire pitch, and then wait for a final and authoritative yes or no at the end. Now, I close early and often and turn objections into opportunities to learn more about my customer. Sales reps who wait until the end of a long pitch to close will often find their prospects barely listening with glazed over eyes and little engagement. They will also realize that they have no idea what the customer cares about or what their hot buttons will be. Prospects are hard-wired to say no out the gate and initial skepticism or lack of interest is the baseline for even the best future customers.
Types of Closes
Many rookie reps think of a close as a built-up question that deserves a final answer. A close can be any statement or proposition that gets a customer to move towards a buying position. A soft close can be as simple as asking a question like: 'Where do you see the most pests in the home?' or 'What pests bother you the most -- do you hate spiders or ants more?'. Medium closes are also often in the form of questions, like: 'Is tomorrow morning or afternoon better for you?' or 'Do you want the Quarterly or Bi-Monthly plan?'. Hard closes are more like statements that assume the sale: 'Let me get your name and address and we'll get you going tomorrow' -- I usually accompany this with handing the customer the iPad to start filling out the info. Your sales will usually be filled with a combination of all of the above.
Ask for Follow-up Information
Every objection you receive from a customer deserves a followup question to find out more information. Your goal in closing is NOT always to get a "Yes" or "No". Its often to get a "why" or a "why not?". This allows you to identify quickly what is important to your prospects so that you can tailor your pitch to the actual items that will make them interested. Here are a few examples of followup questions to common concerns:
- I already have another pest control company. What do you like about your current company? What do you wish they did differently? What would it take to get you to switch? What's important to you as a customer?
- I do my own pest control. Why do you do your own pest control? How much time do you spend treating your home? Have you ever run into a pest problem that you had trouble treating?
- I'm not interested. Is that because you already have another company or because you are worried about a big upfront cost?
By converting rejection into talking points, you learn a lot about why a customer will or won't buy and can easily use this information to show value in your service. It also changes the tone of the conversation to a personalized consultation instead of a one-sided pitch. NEVER be afraid to ask a customer for more information. Remember that you can get away with A LOT more when you smile and help the customer feel respected and cared about.
The Sales Cycle
Typical sales for me always followed the same pattern:
- Give a little pitch/information
- Listen respectfully for an objection -- SMILE
- Ask a follow-up question
- Provide a little more information, and then close again, etc...
After selling for a long enough period of time, you start to see patterns in customers and can move quickly to their hot buttons. Typically this cycle happens 4-5 times before a sale happens and you need to become comfortable rolling through this as quickly as you can!
Great sales reps close often and early. They use closes to learn more about customers and identify hot buttons and concerns. Sales reps who are able to confidently work through objections show the customer that they are confident and professionals worthy of respect and ultimately their business. Get out there and make it happen!