How to Make a Sale
What Mistakes are you Making?
by Tara Taffera
If you are a window retailer and you don’t make your customers
give you a deposit you are making a mistake, Dave Yoho, Dave Yoho Associates,
told home improvement companies, including many window retailers, recently
during a home improvement profitability seminar.
This was just one of the many pieces of advice he gave companies. Other
tips include everything from pricing to determining costs. He doesn’t
buy the argument that companies must drop prices to compete.
“The major failure in businesses is they don’t have the proper policy
when it comes to pricing,” said Yoho.
As for why companies must take deposits, “You need to accrue cash,” he
“Never do a job without a deposit. In the window business we believe the
deposit should be 40 percent of the job.”
Other advice included how to ensure you get paid.
“When your receivables are more than 90 days past due your chances of
getting paid are almost nil—but you still have to pay taxes on it,” he
But “it’s all in the way you ask for it,” said Yoho. In your contract
specify that the homeowner has to pay when the job is “substantially completed.”
“If you did a $16,000 job and a $300 window is missing they still have
to pay you,” he said.
“Don’t let the money hang out,” said Yoho. “Make sure you ask for the
money on the jobsite.”
Yoho spent a substantial amount of time telling people how to determine
“If you bargain you just lost your profit,” he said. “You should not be
doing jobs if you can’t make a profit.”
But you can’t make a profit until you make the sale, right? That’s where
proper training of the sales rep is crucial.
“If you don’t try to make the sale on the first call you won’t,” said
Yoho. “You need to train your salespeople how to do this.”
Why do they not make the sale on the first call?
“They do not ask for it or they don’t’ ask for it properly,” he said.
But some in the room are already doing a great job in this area. A representative
of one company in attendance said, “A high 90 percent of sales are made
on the first call.”
So how do they make that sale the first time? Proper training. However,
when Yoho asked attendees how many had formal sales training only a few
hands went up.
Sometimes this leads to the offering of options, that while valid don’t’
always need to be offered. For example, Yoho talked about financing options
such as same as cash and said, “Salespeople spit it out automatically
and they don’t have to.”
Much of the seminar also centered around lead generation and the cost
of a lead.
“Be careful when it comes to farming out too many leads to your reps,”
said Yoho. “Too many leads doesn’t get you to sell more—it gets your reps
to waste more.”
Yoho puts the cost to issue one lead at approximately $300.
“When your sales reps complain about the quality of leads you give them
don’t give them one for a few days.”
He also reminded attendees that when it comes to close rates, “Most people
measure closes by presentations given. It’s really by leads issued.”
His no holds barred approach to sales seemed to be welcome advice to those
in attendance. He left them with words of wisdom including:
“You don’t have to cut your prices. You don’t have to offer a secondary
product … You lose the sale because your salespeople don’t perform well.
Most think they lose due to price.”
Don’t Deviate From the Script And Other Tips on Canvassing
“He’s probably the greatest script writer I know,” said Dave Yoho when
introducing his son David Alan Yoho who also spoke at the seminar and
serves as senior consultant at the company. He is featured on the series,
Leads, Leads, Leads and the soon to be released video series: Super Sales
The younger Yoho seems to know a thing or two about writing a script.
He also feels very strongly about the importance of having a great script—and
following it. “People have to be scripted,” he said. However, this is
often a hard pill for a rep to swallow. “One hundred percent of people
want to change the script,” he said.
Yoho talked to attendees aboutcanvassing, which he also referred to as
“radiation marketing.” “Ninety percent of all canvass programs fail,”
he said. “This should average 11-12 percent of your revenue but the average
company spends 15-20 percent and sometimes more, which is too high.”
He also talked about “the nebulous (indefinite) lead.” He defines this
as when a sales rep calls a homeowner before they are ready to buy. “They
cost less than regular leads but they require more training,” he said.
“They have a need but not the want—yet.”
So what if you approach a homeowner and they say, “Not right now?”
According to Yoho’s script it would go something like this: “I didn’t
expect to catch you on the day you were going to replace your windows.
Let me send one of my guys to inspect your windows so you are prepared
when you are ready. Does that sound helpful?”
If they answer yes the rep continues, “The purpose of the visit is to
answer your questions. The price will be good for one year. How does that
If they respond yes, keep going: “We need you to set aside 90 minutes
whether we need it or not. The information works best when all the property
owners are present. Easy enough?”
“Set and sit within 72 hours,” said Yoho. “That’s our mantra. Every time
you reschedule an appointment, the probability of a sale goes down 50
The importance of following such a script is “non-negotiable” and personnel
must learn it early “This is the first thing they have to know. You need
to teach them this in day two,” he said.
Some other tips for reps to follow: Personalize every contact, for example,
I met you at x home show.
He added that most of the time the homeowners will go back to, “I am not
ready” and that’s when Yoho said it’s time to “go back to the problem.”
For example, how old are these windows? Wouldn’t you agree that you will
likely need windows in the next year?
“Do not attempt to set an appointment until the prospects have agreed
on the need. If you can’t get that one it’s over,” said Yoho.
When it comes to interacting with potential customers, if you are making
a phone call don’t say, Hi, is this X?” Instead, say, “Hi Mrs. I am X.”
Don’t use sir or madam, he added.
sit within 72 hours. That’s our mantra.
Every time you reschedule an appointment, the probability of a sale goes
down 50 percent."
-David Alan Yoho
“You are hiring salespeople who may not have manners so
you need to teach them,” said Yoho.
But it’s not easy for the sales rep and Yoho admitted that two things
that are happening in the industry.
“First, the difficulty in getting people to confirm an appointment,” he
said. “That means the answer is probably no. The second is the number
of people who will call to cancel a contract.”
How can you help make sure the latter doesn’t happen? Install the job
sign immediately, according to Yoho. “If you know I am going to put a
sign on your lawn you will hesitate before canceling.”
Next, mail or drop a radiation letter (immediately after job approval)
to 50-100 neighbors telling them that Mr. and Mrs. Jones are going to
have windows installed. The letter should say that if they [too would
like new windows but] can’t purchase them now the price is good for a
year. Always include a reply card.
“You won’t get many back,” said Yoho. “A week before you will install,
send another postcard saying we will be there on X day.
“When you see people watching at the end of the day go over and ask if
they have any questions,” he said. “If you knock on ten doors you will
find three to four people.”
If you don’t see people watching, then Yoho said to ask the homeowner
which neighbors asked about the job? When you go talk to them, get right
to the point, said Yoho and don’t ask people about the weather.
Finally, he said a sales organization is not a democracy.
“Your best closer goes out first,” he said. “You can’t run your business
based on fairness. If your best has an appointment at 10 and they cancel
then you have your best with nowhere to go.”
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