Chapter 3 ; Steps for Success
Chapter 3 ; Steps for Success
We have arrived at the customer’s home and we know a little something about him or her. There has been some small talk and we have taken a look at the problem that plaques the customer today. We still are not ready to give a solution.
Taking a few steps backwards let us discuss the conversation. So many trades’ people have small talk without a purpose. Without a purpose it is now idle chit chat that means absolutely zilch. The customer realizes that the questions are worthless and understands as soon as you leave you will forget what each of you have passed to one another.
What did you learn about the customer? Did you learn that they have a couple of children that are grown up and live in other states? What exactly does this mean to you or the customer and the purchase of your products and service? Where did you go with the conversation? What was your purpose? Was it to get to know the customer? Good for you but how did that go with the business side of things?
Why not discover if the customer visits their children or perhaps their children visit them and bring the grandkids. Discover how often they visit and how old the kids are and what will be necessary to serve the visitors. With plumbing this could determine if you install a larger water heater, elongated water closets, easy to operate faucets. You will be discovering how hard the fixtures in the home will be used or abused.
What can you learn from a vacation? How often do they go on vacation? Is it in the same location year after year? Do they stay in the same place, eat at the same places, enjoy doing the same thing while they are there? If so find out what it is they like about the place they stay, why they eat at the same places. Whatever the customer says remember it as they are informing you what they consider is value.
The hotel room was clean every morning and they left something every day for the visitors. Tells you they like a person that cleans up after themselves. Make sure you wipe everything clean, perhaps use a cleaner that has orange or lemon in it. Discover where they ate, if the water glass and drinks were never empty tells you they love service and taking care of them. Pamper your customer. They will be loyal customers that use you year after year. They have also told you they budget for this vacation why not decide to help the customer set up a budget for plumbing or any mishaps that occur during the year? It also informs you that this customer may not like change; you must address change and the ease of the change to install a new product. Frequently the trade professional spends too much time on the product when the product is not the issue. The issue is change management. Understand chit chat can become meaningful if you open your mind to the possibility. Start putting useful information together with the information that is given freely.
Many times over the years customers make statements that make little sense. During the early years of my career I took these statements as offensive and demeaning to me and my profession. Today they roll off my shoulders as meaningless until I ask a few questions such as how you mean. Why do you think that way? Why do you say that? Once you discover why a customer makes a statement it is so much easier to answer the concern and get down to business.
A customer may make this statement; you guys charge too much. You may be looking at toilet when that statement is made. You have not made a commitment to a solution let alone a price so what does that statement mean? My Immediate thought is this is a problem child and he has spent a lot of money keeping this product working. It could also mean that anyone or every one that has worked on the product has made a wrong diagnosis of the problem and that is why the problem has come back. We have all had a lemon of a product that has given us nothing but trouble. Take a running toilet and every plumber has installed a new flapper. My experience automatically tells me to check the trip lever. The trip lever could be spinning in the tank lever opening. However every plumber has replaced the flapper because water is leaking into the bowl. Start having the opinion that this is the customer’s lucky day to have a plumber like you in his or her home.
Staying with this toilet the customer states I am not spending any more money on this or I am tired of spending money on this, this has never worked what are you going to do. Your company has worked on this many times in the past and it still is not working. These are not attacks on you or your company however many trades people believe they are attacks. Many more trades people believe the customer will not spend the right amount of money to fix the problem. Show me anywhere in the statement where the customer states he will not spend money?
He will not spend any more money on this toilet however he will spend money on a brand new toilet. A great question to gain clarity is Ron tell me more about the problems you have been having with this in the past? Ron what were you thinking? How do you like this toilet? I noticed the plunger how often do you use that? Do you like using it? Is this the bathroom your guests visit when they are here? Ron would you agree it is time to make this a thing of the past? How about it Ron would you like to get rid of this problem all together today?
These things can be transferred to faucets, washing machine valves, filtration, HVAC or electrical products and service. It does not matter what the issue it is about what should be done to make the customer’s life easier and issue free.
Next time a customer makes a statement that has you thinking what is going on with you make this statement Ron that is a good question or statement. You have me thinking that we should be taking a different look that can produce better results. What do you think? You will soon discover the customer did not know how to tell you what they wanted to do as they do not know what they do not know.
I remember having a debate with another plumber concerning a customer that will not know that a new product is available to him or her. Of course they know there is more than 1 product out there however they do not know if it will take care of the issue they are presently facing. All they know is this one has the problem and why would a new product not have or get the same problem. Depending on the product they would purchase it may have the same problem. They know this as they have purchased products only to face the same problem they did in the past.
People buy based on past experiences good or bad. When we allow our customers to buy on their own they make bad choices. The reason they make bad choices is the person helping them at the box stores or hardware stores, even showrooms do not have their best interest at heart. They have quotas to fill and incentives to be paid. Let it be you that help the customer with the decision to make the right choice. You know how to get rid of the problem the best way. You are the professional and you also know what is bugging them.
Frequently the trade professional will make idiotic statements such as I do not have the time to spend on each customer. What, you do not have the time to serve and help each client as if they are your best client on the planet? You do not have the time to do what is best for the client? However you do have time to do what is in your best interest. It is time to put the customer first and you second. When this type of service is given to the customer a minimum repair is completed and trouble is on the horizon with call backs.
Another goofy thing that is stated all too often; I do not have time for this touchy feely stuff. I am not Dr. Phil. You do not have the time to spend to get to the root of the customers issues and take care of them properly? You do not have the time to present a solution that will best get rid of the customer’s problem? You do not have the time or ability to understand what it is the customer wants or should have that is a best practice and in their best interest? It is now time to start really caring about your customer and stop the lip service of I do care. If you did care you would get to the bottom of what is giving your customer her ills.
You are in business to make a profit and yet many subscribe to leaving the profit on a table located somewhere in the basement hidden under a mattress. Open your mind to endless possibilities by helping your customer discover how to get rid of their problem for good verse getting them by until you arrive to fix the same problem over and over like a second hand store.
Start today having a conversation with a purpose and discovering what the customer really wants to do today. Start enjoying more customers that are your favorite customers. We love customers that are extremely nice and giving. Start having customers that are comfortable with you and will not question your solutions.
Posted on July 23, 2012, in construction services, electrical sales, HVAC sales, plumbing sales, practicebetterbusiness.com, sales tips, service industry, service trades and tagged Air conditioning, Electrical, HVAC, Plumbing. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.