Checklists, Checklists, Checklists
Selling a bespoke product such as a conservatory is a complex process. During the process, you will have a mental list of things which need to be asked, to be checked, to be clarified. If you wrote down this list, you may be surprised about how long and detailed it can become.
Your list will change dramatically depending on the answers to previous questions. For example, if the customer wants you to provide the electrics, another series of questions need answering - how many sockets, what colour, how many lights, what type of switches, where do they go etc. Some questions can rule out whole sections. For example, if the customer is going to install their own electrics, most electrical questions immediately become irrelevant.
Upsell with Your CheckList
Accomplished sales people will also use questions as gentle way of upselling. For example, "Have you considered temperature control?" is a gentle way of asking "Did you know you can have air conditioning, heating, blinds, solar control glass, electric roof vents etc in your conservatory, and that we can supply them all?". Such questions can often elicit responses such as "I hadn't really considered that", or "I didn't know that was possible". If the customer chooses that option, then you've upsold, if not you've reinforced your credibility as an expert, and removed a potential source of disappointment later.
Don't Forget ANYTHING!
During discussions, it can be very hard to keep track of what remains to be asked - in fact it can be argued that this is a key sales skill, albeit one that can take a long time to learn. As I'm sure you know, some of the bigger retail companies have been aware of this problem for years and provide multi-page "survey" forms containing these questions, which their sales staff may spend days or weeks learning to use.
A 1 Minute Guide to Documenting Your Sales Process
I'm sure you already have a list of options you offer to help you calculate your job prices. However it's really worthwhile to extend this list with all the other questions which don't necessarily have a bearing on price (what's the conservatory going to be used for?, have you had a conservatory in the past?...) - it can give a great overview of how you sell. Now sort the questions into a logical sequence, grouping them together, and you've just documented a significant part of your presentation process. This can be used to help you train new sales staff and hopefully ensure you never forget a critical question again. Remember, this represents a snapshot of your process and you should expect it to evolve as new situations arise.
The Pitfalls of Using a Spreadsheet for your Checklist
Many of our more IT-savvy customers have developed spreadsheets of varying levels of complexity - this has massive benefits for the sales process, but this is not a task for the faint hearted (and it can be quite easy to inadvertently "break" the spreadsheet, with catastrophic conseqences for your pricing).
A Simple Solution
A few years ago, we decided that we could do a great job of writing software to do this, and the RoofWright Ancillary Calculator was born, available in RoofWright Silver and RoofWright Gold. (I've added an example below!)
And you can set up your own questions and prices, as shown below: