Presenting Solutions to the Customer; Be Concise, Precise, Definite

Presenting Solutions to the Customer; Be Concise, Precise, Definite


I am never amazed at how little is known concerning the presentation of solutions within the construction trade services. At the same time it is really cool to see how people operate business especially in the Plumbing Industry.  In a recent discussion concerning warranties it strayed into drain cleaning and hydro scrubbing a drain line. Hydro scrubbing a drain is the use of high pressure water to clean the inside of a waste pipe.


It started out how anyone can warranty a drainage system that is abused by the home owner or tenant. Then someone started throwing hypothesizes that cover such a small percentage of anyone’s customers. It was concerning the customer that tries to take advantage of you the business owner. Next in line came a flurry of excuses why you cannot and should not warranty the work.


Very few if any understand that you must make the proper diagnosis in order to warranty the solution. A few plumbers stated that they cannot warranty defective and compromised piping. They could not warranty the wrong fittings installed by someone in the past. Frequently a drain line will have back pitch or a bow in the line that is causing the problem. Then the surprising line that some fittings such as an offset just cannot be cleared and may cause bumps down the line. I waited and it finally came, I cannot warranty when it will not get as clean as it should.


All of the above situations will not warrant hydro scrubbing as the proper solution. The proper diagnostics in the above situations is to replace the defective or bad situation. To diagnose the cause of the problem is our job. To diagnose a Band-Aid solution is not the right diagnostics. The customer must understand and know that the real solution is to replace the bad section of pipe and or fittings. The customer must commit to the real problem and solution. However the plumber must have the ability to communicate to the customer the cause and how to cure the cause. This will not mean the customer will accept or reject the proposal. It will not mean the customer will automatically do the right thing.


When the customer cannot afford the true solution and must buy time in order to afford the proper correction then an alternative should be given with the understanding you are buying time to do the right chocie. The plumber must stop fearing the customer. They present the solution then say immediately we can hydro scrub the line to take care of it. The customer assumes the job that is about to be completed will prevent it from occurring again. When it does happen and we all know it will trouble ensues. Of course the customer is upset with you and of course they will try to get free warranty work from you.  The customer deserves the free work from you. You did not present the proper solution and quickly went to a solution that would not cost as much because you were afraid to hear NO.


Who cares if the customer states NO. No is not that big of a deal. Discover why the customer said no. Discover why the customer cannot afford the proper solution. You may discover a way to help the customer afford the right choice. It never is wise to have a customer settle on second best, when it is not a close second best or the customer does not understand the 2nd choice will not get rid of the problem. You must explain why this solution will not get rid of the problem and the customer must commit to the explanation and understand the repercussions of choosing this method. It is when the repercussions are not understood that a problem will arise when the same situation reappears.


It is time to learn how to present the proper solution. I will use as an example building sewer as the problem. The problem is structural and not just a buildup of organic material or scale. It could be bows, back pitch, compromised piping or fittings that are the problem and causing the stoppages. The building sewer is located between the home and the utility sewer lateral. When it is neglect of the building sewer the proposal will look different then the below.


The proper solution should appear as;

1. Replace Building sewer under this heading there should be all the bullet points that explain why this is the perfect solution and the benefit to the customer to follow this solution. There should be a note on the negative side of this solution and that negative is the expense of the solution. This will allow you to warranty the whole piping system from the house to the lateral.

2. Replace section of Building Sewer that is causing the issue. The bullet points to this solution should include the explanation of why the number 1 solution is the best overall choice and then why this is the 2nd best choice. This choice will give you the opportunity to warranty this section of the piping system only. Again there should be an explanation of the negative side of this solution  which is the rest of the system is as old as this section and may  eventually have the same issue arrive.  This may also have an expense as a negative.

3. Hydro scrubbing this should include an explanation of this proposal is temporary and will buy time until the customer can discover financing to do number 1 or 2. This is not the final solution or permanent solution. Explain that the amount of time cannot be calculated depending on the compromised piping and fittings. The positive to this proposal is it will buy time before the action of number 1 or 2 must take place.

4. Drain cleaning with an electronic drain machine. The explanation for this proposal is the same as above and will not be as thorough as number 3 and will give less time than number 3.

5. Doing nothing this is self-explanatory.


Frequently the plumber forgets to include or speak enough about number 1 and 2 and quickly jumps to number 3 and 4. The plumber is afraid or misreads the customer due to their own thinking or the customer’s statements.  This reinforces the concept the customer must commit to the real problem and the right choice. You must gain this commitment before jumping to the rest of the proposal. Jumping prematurely will give the customer a belief that you are not confident in your permanent solution. The customer does not fully understand the differences and will think that number 3 and 4 is sufficient. There is not enough upfront time to completely build confidence, mutual trust and respect and this must be gained before presenting the solutions.


Too often the plumber believes that trust and respect is given when in fact it is still in the building stages. Too often construction trade organizations/guru make this wild statement that trust and respect is built in the first few minutes. What is discovered in the first few minutes is a decision to listen to you or blow you off.  Trust and respect is earned and not given and this takes time. You will not gain mutual trust and respect in minutes.



Once the customer has given commitment and understands completely your presentation of the solutions then and only then is you ready to start the work the customer chooses. Your paperwork should include each solution and the choice your customer made. It is extremely wise to ask the customer why they chose the solution and have it on your paperwork. This will help verify the customer understood each solution and the implications of not choosing the right solution. It will also reinforce the customer made the absolute right choice when they choose the best solution that will take care of their problem.










About practicebetterbusiness

Author of Outside the Business Box: All about Sales Build a better you and increase your earning potential

Posted on March 30, 2013, in communication skills, electrical sales, How to sell HVAC, How to sell plumbing, HVAC sales, plumbing sales,, sales, sales tips, Selling HVAC, Selling Plumbing, service industry, service trades and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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