January 31, 2014
It’s amazing how many sales best practices are universal. Last week, I was searching for a tile cleaning company. (A little back story: My husband and I bought our home one year ago. It was a foreclosure and fairly dilapidated, but the location was so great we couldn’t pass it up–a secluded cul-da-sac in a lovely waterfront community in Stamford, CT. We’ve been making improvements gradually, and the kitchen floor is this spring’s project.) I Googled “tile floor cleaning + Stamford” and clicked on the first hit–Sir Grout Fairfield. I called the prominently displayed phone number and was greeted by a pleasant woman who set up my appointment. The experience that followed was so positive and inspiring, I just had to share it. Here are five things Sir Grout did right, lessons that apply to nearly every salesman, regardless of his industry.
1. Be punctual.
On appointment day, Tom Lindberg, the owner and founder, arrived on time. It may sound obvious, but I’m surprised by how often a salesperson keeps me waiting, particularly in the digital ad sales world (when I’m lucky if I even get a real person on the phone).
2. Be passionate and solve my problem.
Tom expertly described the problem he’d be solving. Most people don’t know how to properly clean tile floors. Because of this, grout becomes discolored, creating an unseemly and outdated checkerboard appearance. Fortunately, he had the solution, and he described it so passionately that grout became interesting. I was impressed by his pitch and told him so. The candid discussion that followed solidified my respect for Sir Grout.
3. Localize your approach.
Sir Grout is a franchise with offices around the nation, but it makes a point to feel local. This tactic is reflected in its SEO strategy, and it has built local websites for all of its branches.
4. Use case studies.
Tom was armed with an arsenal of before-and-after photos of tile, floors that had been transformed by his services. Tom may have been articulate, but the visuals spoke for themselves.
5. Embrace content marketing.
Of course, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to pitch myself. I told Tom about my business and the power of content marketing. Turns out, he’s already a believer. He raved about his in-house marketing professional who smartly suggested that Tom create a YouTube channel with informational videos on how to clean a kitchen floor. Although there’s still a lot more Sir Grout can do to showcase its expertise and position itself as the leader in grout cleaning and restoration (call me, Tom!), they’ve already taken some very important steps.
Sir Grout didn’t convert me into a client, but only because we decided to extend the wood floor into the kitchen; and that doesn’t take away from the respect I have for Tom and the empire he’s built. The experience reminded me that the best and most basic sales tips can be applied to nearly any industry.
By Jacqueline Lisk