The Importance of Having a Conversation.

The Importance of Having a Conversation.

Years ago a company I worked for decided that they should have their service provider’s work certain zip codes divided into separate cities that may be 15 minutes apart. This did not always bestow the customer with the best possible service provider as none of the plumbers had the same skill, qualities, or were equal in their abilities.

One of my co –workers began enlightening me regarding a customer that is exceptionally challenging for him to move towards the right direction the last few times he had been to her home. I asked what you think is the issue and why do you think it is there. He told me that the customer was too busy watching her cooking shows to be bothered with him. What are your conversations like I asked? They do not exist. I am not interested in cooking and we have no common interests. Really what are some other interests she has? He reiterated cooking. She has a lot of cook books. I said ok what is the issue? I am not interested in cooking. I asked, are you interested in eating?

We arranged our scheduled at a time I could go with our plumber to visit the customer. The visit was fantastic as the customer gave us the same treatment that our plumber typically receives and I could experience firsthand what he must work around. Sure enough the customer was more involved with the cooking show on TV than our arrival or any reason we were at her home. This does not signify much other than I will need to build a door that we both can walk through. It does not mean she does not want help or that she does not need help. It does not indicate she is malicious or unkind. What it tells me is she has been taken in the past and does not trust people and must build a relationship on common ground.

Once we arrived I immediately noticed several book shelves filled with cook books, I walked into the kitchen and on an L shaped countertop cook books were lined up all around the L shaped countertop. I had to walk into her living room to get to the rest of the house and hallway and there were 2 more book shelves with cookbooks.

We went into the bathroom where the water closet was not working properly. I removed the bolt caps from the base of the bowl and noticed roots pushing up into the bolt holes. My co-worker has never thought to open the bolt covers to see what could be observed from that point. We had a pretty good view and with the history accumulated over the years from our visits and visits of other plumbers that a diagnosis could be made without going farther. Each of the other plumbers thought they were wasting their time because they could not reach this particular customer.

We went in to the living room. I sat down in the chair beside the customer. My co-worker sat down on the couch. I leaned back in the chair and made myself comfortable. I started to watch the cooking show with her. The television show had a young, nice looking chef explaining a good meal to prepare. I watched more of the show with the customer and she would look over at me to see what I was doing. She decided not to say anything so I watched more of the cooking show. I noticed the Chef’s name was Delaurentis.

I asked the customer if this lady’s father was the famous movie director that did a lot of movies and she said yes. I mentioned I did not know that he had any children. She then decided it was time to talk to me. So she turned her chair towards me, the volume on her TV still at a high level. So I asked if she had ever cooked any of the meals this Delaurentis cooked and if so how did it turn out. This time she decided to turn down the volume on her TV and pay attention to me. We started to have a conversation about the cooking show, other shows and how tasty foods are. I remembered a cooking show where the guy would throw spices and yell, BAM! Emerald I believe was the name of the chef. I explained to her that my wife and her mom are exceptional cooks and they experiment all the time with me and our children with different foods. She then decided to give me 5 cookbooks she has authored and published to give my wife and her Mom. So far so good and I have not talked about my non interest in cooking. Slowly we moved into why I was there and what was necessary to get rid of her problem and why she was experiencing the issue.

To make a long story short, there were roots that decided to grow between the concrete and the drainage system. The roots were drawn to the moisture which means it was drawn to the water in the bowl of the water closet. The roots grew into the bowl of the water closet and this meant the customer needed a new water closet. The water closet was also a 3 and half gallon water closet from the 70’s.While we are replacing the water closets what would it take to change the yucky faucet since we are here’s luck would have it here is a faucet for you to choose and this is the new china sink.

The difference between 2 service providers is huge even when it is inside the same company. There is a difference even though they share the same training. I wish there was a way to have the same level of skill. Frequently the level of skill installing or repairing products is extremely different even when it is a common repair. Some use channel locks others use smooth channel locks and still others may use crescent wrenches with the smooth jaws. Considering the differences in this category imagine the difference in communication with the use of buying words or engaging a customer too listen or suggest a call to action. Often times you may find it necessary to get the customer just to listen and if you cannot get them to listen you are trying to go upstream against the current without a paddle in a boat. Learn to listen, be willing to listen in order to converse with another person.

Every chance you get, learn to listen. Learn to ask questions and help shepherd the direction of the conversation. Once you learn how to direct the conversation you can now learn to engage with few words that influence. Once the conversation starts to wander you can bring it back to where it should belong. When you listen you gain wisdom, with wisdom you can now teach. When you teach your customer can now make a decision that is armed with good information.

Start having conversations with your customers and start having more enjoyable experiences with your customers that gives over the top service.

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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 August 13, 2014, in How to sell HVAC, How to sell plumbing, HVAC sales, plumbing sales, and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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