Everyone has something that keeps them up at night. Whether it’s their son’s insect-themed school project, job woes, or a recent move, you want to find out what that problem is in a genuine way and offer a solution if you can. In the end, it may or may not be the storage problem you’re solving. It may be a reference for a good plumber or pointing them to the best BBQ in your town.

When you can communicate in an authentic way and solve problems, you can connect with your customers. When you connect, you have a greater chance of selling a shed.

People will walk onto your lot in various points of the sales cycle, from just looking at options to “I have to buy a shed today because I just purchased an awesome set of dirt bikes, and they won’t fit in the garage!” No matter where they are in the cycle, they WILL remember a genuine interaction, and they will ask for you when they are ready to purchase. Wouldn’t it be nice if they chose to return to buy from you because you took the time to listen and solve a problem?

We’re talking through some concrete examples of ways that you can become a problem-solver for your customers. Let’s get started.

Notice the obvious, and ask a unique question

Chances are if a person walks onto your outdoor building lot, one of their problems has to do storing stuff. That’s obvious. So, when someone walks up, do your sales people instinctively say, “Hi. My name is Bill, what can I help you with today?” It’s not necessarily a bad approach…however, it’s obvious that they are here to look at sheds. A question like this is too broad, and might get a response like, “We’re just looking to see what options are available.” And they will start inching away from your sales guy like he has the flu!

Why not start a conversation by saying, “Hi. My name is Bill, have you ever owned one of our outdoor buildings before?” This instantly disarms the customer because they aren’t used to a specific question, and it gives the salesperson a few answers. It lets the salesperson know if they are familiar with outdoor buildings and if they have owned one, specifically if they have owned one of your buildings or a competitor’s.

This question will naturally lead into others depending on their answer. If the customer has never owned an outdoor building, you can ask them what they plan on storing in the building. And along the way, you may figure out that they have just moved to a new house, and they need a few references for closet organization, pest control, or lawn care. That’s solving problems, and customers will remember how you kindly offered help.

What if they say something like, “Yeah, we had a shed a few years back, but it wasn’t one of yours.” You say, “Great! I’m glad you’re already familiar with them. What did you like or dislike about that shed?” Or “What did you store in that shed, and are you looking for a similar solution now?” Again, these answers will naturally lead into other conversations.

Wherever the conversation goes, be ready. Get familiar with the situations in which people buy a shed. Is it when they move? Or maybe when they decide to put in a pool? When their kids get to elementary school and the recreational toys go from a race track inside to ATV’s? When they retire and start gardening more?

Be ready with problem-solving examples from real customers

Know your past customers and what they are actually using the shed for. There are a million uses for a backyard shed, from pool gear storage to even a she-shed (the alternative to the man cave). Call your customers a few weeks after delivery, and ask them about the shed. What are they storing in it? Is it an outdoor home office? Are they using it for a garden shed? Ask if they added anything to the inside to make it work better for them. Did they add shelving or a small air conditioner, for example?

Knowing how your customer has used your products gives you ammo to solve problems as new customers come to look and eventually buy. Knowing your customers interests and intent helps you prepare for future customers and solve their unique problems.

Remember, connecting with customers will make an impact. The more you connect to solve problems, the more sales you’ll make.

Do you have a story of how you closed a sale using problem-solving? Let us know about it!