Fighting the Perception

past  future
Fighting the Perception

Over the years I have had the amazing ability to track and research areas that are weak areas with many service plumbers, companies, and owners concerning their interactions with consumers. The benefit of this is; experience and it is with actual consumers that use plumbing services and then listening and discussing with many plumbers and owners across the country and Canada plus overseas to discover their experiences. It is amazing to discover customers are customers and have the same questions and concerns no matter where they live or how they live. We will cover real issues and have real solutions versus multiple choice answers and you try to pick the best answer or one that fits more closely than another answer. You can decide if this relates to you and your customers and I am sure if you are honest with yourselves you will immediately recognize the similarities.

Plumbers in general have always held the concept that all that is necessary to receive work is to appear at a home owner’s doorstep and they should bequeath you that work. Once there the service plumber would look at the problem and then tell the customer this is broke and I need to fix it. Some service plumbers would relay a price and others would just do the work and then submit the bill for payment. No other discussion was permitted and no explanation given.

What is missing is a direct explanation and passing information to the home owner. The details are scattered and missing forcing the customer to guess 1 of 2 things. These 2 things are do I do it or do I say go away. Years past the customer automatically stated go ahead and do it. The reason, it used to be difficult to get a plumber to call a customer back let alone show up when promised. Customers were afraid if they did not get it done then it might not get done for a very long time. This has changed considerably in the past few years.

Discussing issues with customers in the plumbing trade at times is comparable to tying a string to a door knob and a tooth, then slamming the door shut. It is as painful as you can imagine pulling the tooth that way as it is to have discussions with some plumbers. The discussions are fragmented and incomplete at best. The descriptions given lacks clarity and information given and passed is all over the place making it difficult to follow. This tends to make it very difficult to understand for those of us in the plumbing profession imagine how difficult it is for a consumer that has limited or no plumbing knowledge at best.

Plumbers have to do a better job at passing precise and concise information that is easily understood by the customer. It is essential to paint a picture with no ambiguity. This picture must include information about the product and what it will do for the customer. Another vital point that plumbers seem to overlook and ignore is an explanation of why the problem occurred in the first place and then how to prevent it from happening again in the future. The consumer demands this information from each and every service technician that is invited in their home today. Frequently the service plumber is offended at the way a customer reacts and responds to them and will become sarcastic or defensive with their words and body language. It becomes; a how dare you not pay attention and listen to me attitude.

This is the information age. Consumers have the ability to gain information quickly and precisely. This information generally is well written and it grammatically correct. When the plumber cannot describe the issue and then discuss the solution as well as the written word the customer loses faith and trust. The information they can receive from the internet typically is written in great detail whether it is the correct information or incorrect information. The plumber must be able to communicate and express ideas that supersede those details the customer has at hand. The plumber must become proficient at expressing and passing ideas that will engage and drive the customers want and will to do business with you. The information available to customers in most cases will not be able to provide results that are directly linked to what the customer is experiencing; this is a definite area the service plumber must become skillful at with providing information concerning results to the customer.

When efficient communication is lacking the chances of helping the customer enjoy the best possible choice is almost nonexistent and greatly diminished. You may receive permission to do that simple task. However the future is muddy and additional work today is virtually impossible unless your solution does not work. When the possibility that your first solution may not work lacks a second option given to the customer prior to doing the work the customer feels as if they were tricked or given false information. You lose credibility and the future for repeat business is lost. A way to spruce up your communication is to transfer telling people stuff to holding conversations with customers. A great way to increase your ability to paint a positive picture of ownership is to start reading as much as you possibly can to increase your vocabulary. Stop holding yourself back from immense success.

This leads to the second point that creates an atmosphere of failure and it is simply attitude. Paul Castain has written on this subject and has done it very well. He coined a phrase that is spot on and it is; I’ve always done it this way. The refusal to change behaviors and modify your actions, reactions, and responses to the customer turns a customer off and they tune out. That simple phrase has led to many plumbing companies to go out of business or bleed so badly that they are limping along blaming customers for their actions. The real problem is the service plumber believes the customer should adapt to their personality versus the service plumber adapting to their customer and their personality.

The time is now to stop being that all powerful all-knowing cocky plumber that has a core belief that the customer is lucky to have them in their home. It is there we all have it and have used that as strength in the past. I’ve been there and done that in the past until I realized how much harm I was doing to myself and the company I represented. Once you realize the harm you’re doing it is easy to generate a new and improved behavior that brings positive results. Do not confuse this attitude with I am the best possible person for my customer. During discussions with plumbers and this is brought up there is an immediate behavior jump to become angry and defensive. Your actions do set the tone and the way a customer acts and reacts to you and your solution. When your words are defensive your actions will also mimic that same action. It is time to stop fighting your perception and change your reality.

Practice Better Business


About practicebetterbusiness

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

Posted on May 26, 2013, in How to sell HVAC, How to sell plumbing, HVAC sales, plumbing sales,, sales tips, Selling HVAC, Selling Plumbing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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