Tradies, Understand Your Customer’s Buying Cycle
It’s much easier to make a sale or close a deal or win a job if you have some insight into what’s going on for your customer when they’re buying.
For many tradies and builders, your sales process (that’s the other end of your customer’s buying cycle) is not much more than providing a quote when asked and hoping they say yes.
You might provide some of your technical expertise as part of that – help your customer decide what they should buy or build – help design the technical solution if you like. But if you go a bit deeper than this, if you try to understand what they really want and try to make sure they get it, then you’re doing a much better sales job, aren’t you?
That’s a large part of what sales is really – trying to make sure your quote is actually for what they want or need and that they understand that.
This is a big topic and I cover it more in the Tradies Toolbox Coaching Program.
Stages of Customer’s Buying Cycle
Today, I want to think about their buying cycle and what’s going on for them at the various stages of it.
Recommended Reading: The Importance Of Knowing Your Customer Lifetime Value
A buyer goes through a process when they’re buying – no kidding. I looked this up when I was writing this. And it doesn’t matter whether they’re a consumer or a business, either.
It goes something like this:
1. Need identified
‘I want a new kitchen’
‘The shop is looking shabby, we should do a fit out’
‘The aircon is broken’
‘The top is dripping’
2. Research (Tyre Kicking)
(It’s easy to be frustrated with tyre-kickers but it’s a part of most buying processes – it’s your sales process that made it frustrate you).
‘I wonder how much a new kitchen costs’
‘Let’s get some prices for fit outs and see what we can afford’
‘Better get a new aircon’
‘Maybe I’ll give that tiler a go with this build’
They’re not yet sure they’re doing the thing yet – they’ve got the problem or the desire and they’re researching – the costs, what their options are, who’s good – all that.
3. Intent. They’re on the market now, they’ve decided they’re doing the thing and they’re making genuine, immediate enquiries, seeking quotes.
4. Evaluate Options. What it sounds like – they won’t have the same options from each business they enquired, (will they?) not 3 quotes for exactly the same solution. More likely some different options to consider with different costs.
5. Decision. They’ll make a decision on their preferred vendor and the trade business they like the best.
6. Price & Solution Refining. They’ll want to make sure they don’t overpay and also that they get the best they can. They might negotiate on price (they might not yet commit to a trade business, even though they know which one they want); they might want to review or redesign the solution or check references or otherwise, reassure themselves their decision is the right one.
7. Finally, they commit. So, when you’re talking to someone, it’s good to think about where they are in their buying process and try to imagine what’s going on for them.
If they’re still researching and they call you and ask for a quote (because that’s what they usually do, even if they mean ‘how much do kitchens cost?’ or ‘If I get you to do the roof on this next job, you won’t fuck it up, will you?’), a quote isn’t probably what they should have, is it?
You should probably be helping them understand their options and their relative costs rather than doing a detailed quote.
You don’t need to be quoting until they’re evaluating their options.
And there’s no point pushing for a decision until they’re ready to make one.
So, think about what’s going on for your customer and adjust your sales process to suit their buying, not necessarily what they ask for.
I’ll help you design a sales process and ask the right questions so you help them and win more jobs.
There are four ways you can engage with me:
1. Subscribe to these emails and get them once a week in your inbox so you never miss a video from me.
2. Join the Trades Business Toolshed Facebook Group where you can watch these videos, ask me questions or talk to your peers.
3. Attend my next Tools Down workshop.
4. Book yourself a 10-minute chat with me. We’ll talk about whether coaching is right for you now and if it is, we’ll go further into the process before you have to make your mind up.
See you later.