Point of Rental cares about the rental industry and its success. So in our blog, we’re going to do a better job of tapping into our 600+ years of in-store experience on our staff. We’re going to work with our worldwide customer base to get blog content that will benefit everyone – not just Point of Rental users. We asked our friend (and former Pointer) Josh Nickell if he would write about « Mastering the Close » from his highly-rated sales call workshop from IC2019

If you attended my sales call workshop at Point of Rental’s 2019 International Conference, then we have covered many of the tools you can use to create a better customer experience and improve close rates. You also know that asking for the business is the most critical part of the call. 

To help you with training and reinforcing high-quality behaviors, I wanted to provide some resources and a deeper dive into asking for the business.

Why are we so concerned about asking for the business? 

Simply put, it’s good for the business and good for the customer. 

I think it’s safe to say that most rental businesses would consider closing more business better than less. Call tracking has shown us that, on average, answering the phone and not being a jerk results in a close rate around 30%. If the only behavior you change is to ask for the business, that close rate doubles from 30% to 60%. While you can get close rates over 90%, asking for the business is the most important skill to develop. 

It’s easy for people to forget that buying is a stressful process for most people. Whether they are planning a wedding or building a deck, they want to get on with that project – not spend their day making phone calls for quotes. Think back to your last big purchase. Once you make the decision and get to bring home that big brand-new TV or super-fancy washer, there is a sense of relief and excitement. What’s interesting is that even when we don’t make the best decision, we still feel that way. It’s called choice-support bias, and it describes how we overemphasize the value of the option we chose and de-emphasize the value of options we didn’t choose. That being said, if you handled the call really well, then their bias is the truth!

How do we ask for the business? 

As my wife, a teacher, would tell her students, “Use your words.” 

Words matter, but we will move from the simple to complex. Different companies have different terminology, but most companies consider some sort of reservation as “getting the order” or “closing the sale”. So, asking for the business is just asking the customer to reserve the item. 

I would consider any habitual form of asking that question a win, but we can take it a step further. Find a way to ask for the business that is not a yes or no question. Often, this takes advantage of the open-ended questions you were asking earlier in the call. An example would be, “What time on Saturday morning would you like that delivered? I’ll go ahead and get everything reserved and set up for you.” The Jedi mind trick with this method is that instead of saying “no,” most people will feel compelled to tell you why before saying no. This gives you the opportunity and information to overcome their objection. 

How do we make it a habit? 

Information, practice, and reinforcement. 

The information you need to explain how and why we ask for the close is outlined above. So, print this out, hand it to them, cover your terminology, share why it matters to you AND them, and then check that box! 

The next step is practice. This is often uncomfortable for people, but try out a little bit of role play. Go back and forth taking turns asking the imaginary customer for the business in different ways. Try to keep it fun and light-hearted. Randomly spring it on them when walking by. This practice is often harder and more uncomfortable than doing it with a live customer!

At first, their calls will be choppy. That is OK and completely normal. Keep them focused on asking for the business every time. Listen in as you walk by. Challenge their peers to encourage each other. Just keep doing it. After two to four weeks, it should be habit and you can move on to a new call skill. Occasionally, we do revert back to old habits. That is totally normal. Just remind them of the why and do some practice. That’s usually all it takes to get them back into high gear. 

Copy and paste this into an email to your sales team (because we are paperless) and start closing more business today!

Josh Nickell grew up in the rental industry and has scaled, marketed, and sold two companies in two different verticals at industry-leading multiples. He’s led companies with 90%+ close rates on sales calls and several industry-wide committees. He’s also spent time as the president of ARA of Georgia and Point of Rental’s Director of Global Strategy. Josh now works as a consultant to help businesses enter, take advantage of, and grow in the rental, shared, and circular space worldwide. You can find more of his insight by connecting with him on LinkedIn.