Monday, May 23, 2011


It's time that the modular housing factory look at changing what has barely worked in the past and start retraining their existing sales staff.  For too long Sales Managers have been put in charge of ramping up sales without being given good ideas of how to do it.  Well, here is one who's time has come.

There are three main areas for every sales rep to cover for the factory when it comes to their builders.  First is finding the builders, next is bringing in that first order and lastly is building a relationship with the builder to insure continuing sales.  In order to do this, sales reps are given glossy folders and price lists along with the OK to bring the builder to the factory for a tour.  They can expense the whole thing.  So why aren't more builders coming into the modular fold?  

The answer is quite simple.  The housing crunch changed the game and few Sales Managers or their reps are ready to address what is needed to succeed.  Oh, sales reps are good at getting an experienced modular builder to switch to their factory from a competitor but how many "new to modular" builders are brought in?

When you ask a Sales Manager what skills they’d like to see in their reps, you typically hear the usual list of suspects: negotiation skills, business acumen, questioning skills, etc.  What you don't hear often is the sales reps' ability to "whiteboard."

What does it mean ‘to whiteboard’? Well, as the name suggests, it’s about a rep’s ability to use a traditional marker and whiteboard to pitch a solution to a customer. Are these reps rare to find? Most definitely!

Portable Whiteboard

Whiteboarding is the best technique for addressing the areas that are not covered by the glossy collateral materials produced by the factory.  Whiteboarding is teaching!  Whiteboarding is knowledge!

If a sales rep simply hands out the glossy stuff without digging deeper into the builder's current construction problems, then they deserve to not get to first base.  But actually setting up a whiteboard in the builder's office will get the builder to open up and give the sales rep a place to answer the questions that come up about modular such as pricing, subcontractors, setting the homes, warranties, service, lead generation and much more. 

It's time for a hard look at how sales reps handle new builders and how they prospect.  And the only person to do it should be the Sales Manager. 


Anonymous said...

Fantastic idea!!

William said...

Hmmm...whiteboarding. So as a sales rep I am to carry with me an easel and a whiteboard, pens and eraser with me to all sales calls. My prospect is going to sit still while I bring in all these items and wait until I am ready to give him my "pitch." I don't agree.
A good sales rep has to be able to do what you term "whiteboarding" orally. A good sales rep will PAINT THE PICTURE using a vocabulary he/she has developed over the years, or through training, to get the needed points across to the prospect.
There is only so much true FACE-TO-FACE selling time with prospects and every sales rep must make the highest and best use of that time. That does not include getting their sales tools together during which time they will lose the momentum they hopefully have built up with the prospect. When you are in the midst of your presentation you do not stop to get something out of your briefcase, go to the car for something you forgot, etc. Just like if the prospect takes a telephone call in the middle of your presentation - normally all is lost - especially the rapport that has already been established.
Coach I think whiteboarding is great for symposiums, sales meetings, builder meetings, etc. but it is not good - nor do I think it was meant to be - used in one on one sales presentations.
For those who are not familiar with this simply search the term "whiteboarding" or "whiteboarding techniques" to see what this is all about.

also named William said...

Whiteboarding can also be done on a big tablet. The effect is to work with the builder and write down for them all the important things you want them to remember.

I've used up to 5 tablet pages when I first met a new builder and when I left the meeting, I gave them all the notes along with a handwritten phone number and my name. I had several builders call me days later and wanted to go over a couple of the points we discussed.

I never had that with a glossy folder.