Ask a Pro January/February 2023

January 27th, 2023 by Nathan Hobbs

The Art of the Close

By Mike Burke

I’ve talked about the boom of the last couple of years as an all-you-can-eat buffet before—we picked and chose the work we wanted and became waiters and waitresses taking orders. We forgot what it’s like to go hunting and fishing to put food on the table; to go out and entice customers into our stores.

Set the Stage

It’s no secret that sales is my thing. What I do comes so naturally that I don’t even think about it. But with business slowing down due to inflation, the holidays and the cooler weather, I have analyzed my processes to train the rest of my company.

Start by setting the stage. I have three resources indispensable in making a good impression when following up on a lead. First, every store has a company cell phone so that we can call and text the customer. The caller ID shows up as Sun Stoppers.

Second, I have a 60-second video showcasing our offered services, the inside of our shops and a quick overview of our process. This gives the customer a great visual of the experience they will receive working with us. I can’t overstate the value of this as a tool. If you don’t have something similar, create it ASAP.

Third, I have a photo archive of cars we’ve tinted over the years. If someone has a Tesla, I’ll send photos of a recent one in the shop and tell them what we did to it. Same if it’s a mom with a minivan or a collector who bought a new Lamborghini.

Make the Call

With these resources in place, I’m ready to call the customer. While I’m on the phone with them, I will text them a link to the overview video and a couple of photos of cars like theirs. I will also text them a link to the Google page with the address of the store they’re visiting.

This is important because we have multiple locations, and I want to avoid confusion—especially since not all of our locations offer every service. It’s also helpful if they are calling multiple businesses to compare shops; this way, they have a record on their phone that is definitively tied to your business. If they don’t answer, don’t leave a voice mail. Instead, send them a text with your name and company, but also include their name, their vehicle info and the services they’re looking for. This personalizes their experience and helps you remember who you’re talking to when they respond.

“Hello, Mr. Johnson, this is Mike Burke with Sun Stoppers following up with you about your 2021 Ford Bronco. I’d love to get you some more information about the kinds of tint we offer. Please give me a call back at xxxxxx-xxxx when you have a few minutes to talk.”

Include the same links to the video, cars and shop address. Then send an email telling them about the text you just sent. This gives your customer three ways to get in touch with you, with a built-in record of who they are.

The Pitch

Once you have the customer on the phone, there are three steps to the sales pitch:

Step 1—Build some common interest;
Step 2—Set a timeframe;
Step 3—Ask for the business.

Find a Common Interest

An easy place to start is to ask where they’re from and how long they’ve lived in your town. Have they ever had tint before? Talk about the car—it doesn’t matter what car it is, you love it; maybe you had a similar model once or you just bought one for your son or daughter.

Ask them how long they’re planning to keep the car. Don’t talk about price; pretend you’re on a first date and start building a relationship. Find out what’s important to the customer and then show them how you can meet that need. People buy solutions to problems, so identify the problem they’re having that you can help them solve. Will they have children in the back? Is privacy a concern? Do they just want the car to look great, or are they interested in a film with the best performance against the sun’s harmful rays and extreme heat?

Set a Timeframe

Now that you know what they’re looking for, be excited and enthusiastic when talking to them about it. I tell the customer how great their car will look and use specifics—you want them visualizing their car already tinted, so all that’s left is to make it a reality. “How soon can we get you in?”

If they’re still hung up on price, use an analogy to shift their focus. “Do you call Outback or Longhorn and ask them how much a steak dinner is at their restaurant?” There are many choices on the menu, and the price depends on what you want. A 6 oz filet doesn’t cost the same as a 24 oz ribeye, but each of those will make a different customer very happy.

Window film is the same. Entrylevel films start as low as $200, and our best films go as high as $500 or more depending on the number of windows. Convince them they need to come into the shop to see the differences before they can make a decision. That’s when you can give them your best price.

Ask For the Business

You’ve educated the customer on what type of experience they will have with you. They’re picturing their car with the work already done. But you still need to ask for the business.

Never talk about the competition. If they said they got a quote from someone else, say you have never heard of them and don’t know their process. Then turn the conversation back to yourself and why you’re great. Promote the value of what you do. How much experience do you have? What kind of warranty do you offer? How quickly can you get them in and out? How many satisfied customers can vouch for you? Finally, turn the table if they know what they want and why they should get it from you but still can’t get past the cost. Ask them to tell you what would get them to purchase today. Once they’ve told you where you need to meet them, you have all the tools to make it happen. Step down to a cheaper film to fit their budget. Call them an Uber back to work if they don’t have time to wait or anyone to help them drop off the car. Don’t think of it as one tint job—think of it as a new relationship. You never want to lose a relationship over $50. You don’t want to lose a relationship at all.

Mike Burke has worked in the window film industry for 33 years. His company, Sun Stoppers, has more than 63 locations in 19 states and offers residential and commercial tint and decorative film services as well as automotive tint, paint protection, and ceramic coatings. If you have a question for Burke to tackle in a future column, email him at mike@sunstoppers.com.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

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