Category Archives: sales tips

Praise and good in a life.

Praise and good in a life.

This past week I have been blessed by my involvement in some amazing life changing circumstances that have certainly rocked my heart and world. It categorically has created a different outlook towards life’s irritating trash as inconsequential to what is certainly more significant in people’s lives.

The first of which is a small church in Sarasota called Liberty Baptist. From the very first Sunday evening 4-5 months ago that entrenched me to visited the church I knew this was my slice of Gods will for me. Everyone was inviting and friendly. For me this was the first time I have ever had this feeling of belongingness. I have been in this church ever since then .However what me and my family are going through has never been mentioned to anyone in this church they made me feel like I have been there my whole life. This is my feeling and reflects no one else’s feelings.

A week ago Monday we received news that was not a priority on my list or my wife’s. The first day I was fine. The second day I had a feeling that I would need help and I did something I have never done in my life. I sent the pastor an email asking for help. In this email I explained I have never done this and how the church members and he have made me feel. The thing I love about this church is how caring and giving they outside of the church and inside to their congregation. This small church has raised over 119 grand for mission work inside the USA and in many countries in a very short period of time. The Mission conference at the church was Monday through Wednesday. I wanted to attend however my emotional stance would not allow me until Wednesday night.

When I arrived there was an outpouring of support caring and love expressed that overwhelmed me. I did not know the pastor had read my email to the congregation. What is more is, I never realized how many of the congregation knew who I am? This church at every chance has a time where the members greet one another. However most of the churches I have been to do this: hi how are you and off to the next person.Many others are shaking your hand while making eye contact with other people. At Liberty it is different, they talk with you and this blows me away; they remember what they talk to you about during this short period of time. They are awesome individuals that are caring loving and kind people that live the word of God. This made me weep uncontrollably with explosive joyfulness.

Then the day of my treatment today I was able to experience this: an opportunity and pleasure to witness the Bell Ringing at Florida Cancer Specialists. When the Bell Rings the individual ringing the bell has found their cancer in remission and is cancer free. This is an amazing awesome experience to witness. What an incredible day and something that will stay with me for a very long time. Almost like observing a rebirth, the look in her eyes and the feeling of getting her life back. To personally witness this has given me a sense of God’s miracles. This woman had been fighting breast cancer and for now has won.

On top of this I am the luckiest person on the planet as I have Suzy my wife since 1981. She is in my corner supporting and helping me every day of my life. Without Suzy’s help, where we are today is improbable. Suzy has given feely to me 3 children that are out of this world and very much like her. They are all caring, giving, and loving. Each one of them has a profession that demands a great deal of giving to others and thinking of others. One of our daughters has given birth to a daughter who is an amazing little girl that brightens up the world with her smile and love. Each is a wonderful inspiration to me that drives the want and will to come forward from me. Now both of our daughters have picked wonderful men to go through life.

What I have learned today is we never control anything in our lives. We are a passenger in our lives. We get the free will to roll the window down and let our hair blow through the breeze or we can close the window and pretend that life is to hard or terrible to live. There are times we think we are in control of our lives and destiny and we have this false sense of security that is like the coolness before the dawn of morning. However we also discover that during these times it seems like a long long time and satisfaction or contentment is fleeting and nothing is ever good enough.

I feel that without living a life of faith and hope in God there is that false sense of I made this happen. But if I really made it happen why I am not at peace with myself, that inner peace that says everything will be alright and is alright. I have found it is great to say a little prayer get grace, mercy, and strength that tell me that I have an inner peace that created calmness and a debt of gratitude.

What this has done for me is give me the want to give information that I have gathered through the years and give it to others. For many it could save them from traveling down the road of hard knocks that I pursued for many years to master a fantastic education given by other to me. What seems to bother me more today than in the past the less fortunate people who refuse to open their minds to endless possibilities to potentially make a huge impact on them financially and change their personal lives? I feel sorry that they have obstacles in their lives preventing them from accepting a different way of life and living. I am trying to be more tolerant but it is difficult to say the least due to the most dangerous part of the human anatomy. That being the tongue, saying the right thing can bring tears of joy yet saying the wrong thing has caused wars. The stupidity and ignorance of man and his ability to become a fool comes to light far too often. I typically write about sales and you can apply these principles to your work and make a difference in your customers life.

Good intentions


Decisions to make with Your Company

Decisions to make with Your Company

Whenever I get involved in a discussion with construction trade professionals concerning sales an amazing fact keeps leaping to the front of the line. I discovered this fact while I was working as a service sales plumber in a truck. Our owner would try anything that he believed would and could have helped his staff become more effective with their ability to help his customers. The training should have helped. However it failed miserably.

It was not due to the owner that the effort failed. The trusted advisors of the well-known sales help and companywide educational organizations failed this owner and many other owners and companies due to the exact same reason. They excelled at sales however they were extremely poor at discovering real problems and providing long term solutions that would create success.

My discovery and declaration of these organizations is they have not learned how to sell or educate properly. These contractors and employees have searched for sales training when they should be searching for other items including how my staff learns. They find sales training, get sold and then decide to invest in the training without considering, how they learn, why they need to sell, how they will sell, or what they will sell.

There may be a consultation with the sales trainer most likely the consultation is with a person that is ready, willing, and quite able to convince you to pay 10,000 or more dollars a year to join their chapter or group. What good is that training when you or the sales trainer has not found out your core beliefs? You must discover what is holding back the company instead frenzy is built that overwhelms. What is most likely to stop you in your tracks from selling? What is stopping you from moving forward with a sales system? What have you done up to this point? Why did it not work? Why did you give it up? Why did you not stay with it? What did you like about it and what did you not like about it? Are you committed?

What is it that you like about sales? What do you not like about selling situations? Why do you think the way that you do? What is your support system like? How do you continue with your ongoing training? What drives your training? What have you seen? What have you done? What have you heard?

If you have invested in training and help in the past why has it failed? Some of these trusted advisors will pick up a phone and decide to ask questions without visiting the company and understanding firsthand how your company is in an unorganized chaos. They expect you as an owner to tell them truthfully. A good rule with sales is the customer may tell you things truthfully however it may not be true. They have information and the information is wrong. Very rarely will you hear a person, especially an owner say; I have been running my company wrong or into the ground. As an organization you will hear I am not making money.

Then questions like what is your overhead? What is your breakeven? You need to charge more. These remedies seem to spew out without direction. The organization is expecting you to understand business and you are joining them due to wanting to expand your education with your business acumen. This is crazy and sort of like allowing the alcoholic to serve drinks and collect money at a bar. Stop allowing the inmates to run the asylum.

What is it that you need? What is it that you want? Where do you want to be in 1 year? Where do you see your company in 3 years and then 5 years? What is your plan? How will you get there? How will you sell?
Don't fear change,change fear

I am here to inform you that you must jump in and get your feet wet. It is understood that you drank a lot of Kool-Aid in the past .You are reluctant to drink from the well of broken promises and dreams. However there is a need to give a little more you for your future. It is a simple procedure. In a few steps you can have a break out year. Answer the questions asked above and now you may be able to implement the strategies below.

It starts with step 1, defining and determining your GOALS. What are your goals with customer service and experience with you and your company? What are your company goals? What are your personal goals? How can you tie these goals together? Each goal must be dependent upon each other and a plan to reach those goals. Your customer allows you to reach your company goals that will pay you and then give you the means to reach your personal goal. Once you have clearly defined the customer, professional and personal goals you then can head to step 2.

Step 2 is a COMMITMENT to do what is necessary to follow up on your goals. You cannot be half in and half out and expect to reach your goals. There is a demand to be all in with your words and actions to fulfill your dreams. The commitment stage is 2 phases. The first phase is a commitment to stop doing what you have always done in the past. Let me cover that a gain as it is the most important phase of stage 2. You must forget and leave behind the land of what was and move into the land of what will become your future. Make this commitment to you, spouse, children and employees. Most importantly make this commitment to your customers.

Step 3 is a byproduct of step 2. Sharpen your LISTENING skills. Close your mouth and listen to the customer. Practice with your spouse and friends in order to build a new belief system. When your spouse or friends speak, shut up; do not respond with something that you know. Decide to ask a question about the things you have heard. Let them react and respond to your question. Once again do not react to their reply respond and ask another question about their response. The purpose is to gain confirmation about a fact they stated. You will start to see a change with their eagerness to give you more information and they will be happier. This stage is difficult as you will change your behavior from center stage to a developer.

Step 4 is dependent upon step 3. Your COMMUNICATION skill must take a giant leap forward. The communication you employ is based on what the customer states to you. It is essential to use the same powerful descriptive words to describe your solution. An example is my faucet is too hard to turn on and off. Typically a plumber would present it this way. This faucet is broke and needs fixed. It is an old faucet and should be replaced or they may state I have parts in my truck and can fix it. Some may say,I have a faucet in my truck and it is x amount.

Mrs. Client I have a faucet that works with a single finger and is extremely easy to use. Would you like to give it a try? Notice how the handle is formed for ease of operation. The best thing is you will get years of use before you will need me again. Let’s go take it to the (sink) and see how it would look.

Which way entices a buyer to buy? Which way engages the customer to act in a particular way? Which way increases the desire to have the new faucet? There is no end to where this could help the customer. She could say since we are doing the faucet can I have a new sink? Would you like a new sink also? It will also give you the freedom to suggest a new sink.

Decide today to implement these 4 basic strategies and Practice Better Business. Decide today to use words that encourage the customer to take action. It is time to stop being boringly predictable. It is time to learn how to sell.

Where did that sale go?


Where did that sale go?

From time to time a sale can be as elusive as the bug hovering around the windshield distracting you as you drive. You whack at it a few dozen times deliberating that you have made the insect part of the windshield multiple times. Yet the windshield is clean and clear of the bug and with exception to the hand prints on the glass. A sale is the same with only the handprints left as evidence indicating there was ever a chance.

Like the sand in the hour glass you may know why the sale disappeared or you may not think you know, and still; sometimes the client disappears like a thief in the night without rhyme or reason. However some telltale signs of why it went south are your words: The price is the price ,that is the price in the book, that’s our price are rock solid indicators expressing and illustrating why the sale is with another sales person instead of you.

Those 3 and many others are a signs of frustration by the seller. They believe there is no other place to go and placing an ultimatum to the customer saying it stops right here is the best option. When in fact it never is a best option including as a last ditch effort.

Some questions to ask, you the seller are: why are you here? What made him or her call you today? Why is the customer acting and reacting to you like this? What is the buyer comparing your solution to? What is preventing the buyer from moving forward with you?

What is it that is confusing the buyer?

It is the indecisiveness of the service provider with their solutions. It is the service provider providing solutions that do not fit the customer’s lifestyle. The service provider did not take the necessary time to discover what it is the customer would like for the new product to do for him or her. Lacking the proper training has placed the service provider in an auspicious position that lends a helping hand to failure. They are placed in a position of the deep dark night where fears tend to slowly reposition into nightmares. Leadership has failed.

Simple questions that gain the customers confidence that you will take care of their problem by addressing their concerns is all it takes to show him or her you have their best interest at heart. These questions get to the problem and then address what the customer wants to happen in the very near future. It starts with options that fit their lifestyle. It has nothing to do with the service provider’s wants or needs.

You must discover how the consumer buys. It is essential to understand how your customer buys in order to supplement his or her needs and or wants. What are the driving factors in the decision making process?
Why did they call you what do they like about you and your company that made them call? What points will enter the buying decision and how can you make a call to action that inspires the customer to move in a positive forward motion. What kind of words can you place in front of the customer that will engage him or her? How will you make her feel? Why would she want to move forward with you?

Stop making your customer adapt to your personality. This does not mean you must change or alter your personality. I am not sure I know or would like to know let alone work with an individual that can change their personality. However you can change your tone, how you act and react to your customer actions and reactions. Decide the type communication style you will employ with each person. Make sure you are not faking it as people in general can see right through a person that is trying to change their persona.

You should be able to predict the terminology that you can use in order to communicate effectively with each person you wil have a conversation with during your daily activates. I will have a different style of communication depending on the person I am conversing with and as an example I speak differently with a sales person then I will with a customer. I will tell a sales person too speed it up and get to the point as I am limited on my time and they are infringing on my space.

You will never tell a customer they are infringing on your space. Take as much time as necessary for the customer to understand their options and permanent solution. Customers do not mind taking a little longer when they see and understand your difference. Your difference should be outstanding customer experience. Consumers are not expecting much due to their past experiences with other service providers. This is a fact otherwise the last service provider would be there instead of you to take care of their needs. Something was missing? What was missing? Isn’t it your job to discover the missing link and provide it to the customer with over the top service and outstanding experience?

I want my customer to dance across the porch with so much excitement that has them wanting to refer me to their friends, neighbors, and relatives. The only way I can make profits and be in business in the community for years is to deliver the intangibles. The perceived must become real and the customer must want to use me.

It is time to start having sales that are solid and not elusive like the bug dancing across the windshield. Increase your ability by communicating by painting a picture that asks for an action.

Practice Better Business

What you say Matters!

What you say Matters!

Mam I’ve told you before the flange is broken. The broken flange is why the toilet moves and is leaking on the floor. If it is leaking liquid it is also leaking sewer gases. Sewer gases will make people sick. Do you want these kids to get sick?

This plumber visited this place of business in the past and forewarned them of their issues and what is required to get the plumbing in working order. The place of business hired a pseudo plumber since the 1st visit. It appears he was a laid off plumber or a handyman and they did not fully understand the repair that was necessary and did not make the proper choice concerning what to do. It is impossible to expect a laid off plumber or handyman to know and understand plumbing. The laid off plumber is laid off for a reason and the handyman is not educated enough in plumbing to understand plumbing codes or have the experience to know why things work the way they do and what they should do to make repairs. They may know how to install a faucet or other fixtures however rarely will they know why a product should be used or not used.

I would like to break down the plumber’s statement to the customer in simple terminology concerning what is known and understood. The customer / business must respect the knowledge of the plumber due to calling the plumber back to their business when the problem persisted. However the business did not hire the plumber to do the work and this means a lack of trust and respect to complete the job. Why: they chose a nonprofessional that did things differently than the plumbers recommendations. Most people in the industry would assume that money was the driver and prevented the right person from completing the work. WRONG!!!!! Stop thinking this way. Start driving the want to use you with your customers and you will be amazed by the results.

Mam I’ve told you before the flange is broken scolding the customer for not listening. You have just treated this person as a child. Give him or her a dunce cap and sit them in the corner of the room until they realize their mistake and promise not to do this again. The broken flange is the reason it is leaking, reminding the customer that they made a horrible choice and that they cannot remember , understand, or make the right decision while the problem stillremains. Do you want these kids to get sick? Since you obviously did not want to listen to me you must surely not care about those you watch over. This is the discussion that took place after the 3 rd. visit. 1st visit by the plumber, and visit by the unqualified person performing the work and 3rd visit once again the plumber returning to scold the business person.

What do you think happened on the 1st visit that was different from the 3rd visit? The same plumber visited the 1st time and 3rd time. The same type communication most likely took place. History repeats itself unless something is done to prevent the history from repeating itself. I have an office staff that has been doing the same thing since 1990 and refuses to change old ways without creating a battle or drama to prevent change. It is expected and received. The change that occurs is planned with the reaction in mind. Plumbers in the field must understand predictable behavior by their customer and plan accordingly. The history of this business would suggest that the plumber should have taken a different route. Looking back in history 1 plumber has been highly successful at having this business move forward. But I’ve always done it this way won out over learning why the effective and productive plumber had success in the past.

What could have been done differently that may have changed the direction of this particular service call? Some people in the industry would automatically assume that the message here is to intentionally not inform the customer of potential health risks. You would be extremely and utterly wrong in your thought process.

Discover a way to facilitate change with your communication and turn it into a conversation that includes the customer in the breakthrough of the facts / information. Mrs. Client, the water closet that is lose and moving has a broken flange. Do you know what purpose the flange has and why it is important? Let the client answer this and have them repeat to you why it is important. This then gives you the opportunity to give information concerning sewer gases and give the information according to what the customer knows. It is much easier to influence a decision when you know what the customer understands. Mrs. Client the sewer gases are called methane gas and are toxic. Where do you think this methane is released? The liquid that is leaking on the floor is from the water closet being flushed with fecal material and urine that is oozing on top of the floor. Ask how much she knows about fecal bacteria. Ask about the installation process of the flange. Next is to ask the customer to explain the importance of you installing the flange, taking care of the leaking methane gas and liquid. Mrs. Client would you tell me why you call us when you experience plumbing issues? This will remind the client why she decided to call you.

Hi, I am happy that you have tried to get this taken care of and I hope that you understand the importance of using me for this job. We have the experience to take care of this and finally get rid of the problem for good. I have done this hundreds if not more times and I have the tools to make this a thing of the past. We can take care of the potential health risks in order that you do not have to assume those extra risks with your business. Sound good to you? What should we do Mrs. Client? Would you like to know why more people use me for this exact type of job?
Another approach

Mrs. Client, I appreciate that you have tried to make this issue go way. May I ask a question? What did you like best about our visit the last time? Whatever the client states arte exact reasons why you should finally make this a thing of the past. Repeat those reasons to her, ask if any other person as ever given as much information to make a decision in the past? When the answer is no, ask if you should get started.

Hi, can you tell me how long this has been going on? What have you done in the past? Why have you chosen the choice in the past? Now you can answer any direct questions and concerns that have her calling for resistance or reluctance towards your solution or proposal including using a nonqualified person completing the actual work. Frequently the service provider neglects the past as a reason for making the choice today. Personally I have found more clients want something different and their expectations are derived from past experiences.

When you decide to stop barking orders to your customers they become friends and will decide to move forward based on your information and direction. Start setting your customer expectations and give the customer a reason to meet those expectations.

Don't fear change,change fear

Are you a Manifestation in your own Company’s Growth?


Are you a Manifestation in your own Company’s Growth?

I simply adore people’s reactions to stuff that they do not understand or believe to be “creepy, or something they would not do. The reason they hold these beliefs they are stuck in their way and very seldom move left or right of center. The concept is if I stay where I am I feel safe.

The real issue is the fear inside that prevents people from trying something new. It is a fear of change. This change can be subtle or it can be drastic no change is safe. It is much easier to bring someone down then to make a slight adjustment past comfortable that will lead to more success.

How does a progressive person who definitely took a blind step and a leap of faith to start up a new business and assume the risks suddenly shut down and close the door to any type change. Why the reluctance and resistance to change when many years prior most people were about change.

Change does not necessarily mean better. However there is a battle to decide what is working and what is not working. The battle is to admit when things are not working out the way we originally thought they would and then to make the necessary changes to change the direction of our fortunes.

Be careful of selfish thoughts that have zero consequences. Frequently people believe that staying the same will produce zero risks. Everyone knows and understands that change produces added risks that fabricate consequences that can be high reward or catastrophe. It is much easier to paint a picture of disaster then it is to paint a stunning picturesque field of ecstasy that is extraordinary and breathtaking.

It is much easier to accept that you may fail then you will succeed. It then becomes better if I do not try something different and accept that if I do not try anything I will be successful or at least content. How can you be content when you are afraid to succeed or fail?

Will you make a decision today to take a chance? Will you buy lottery ticket and give it to yourself with a card saying take a chance on me as I am worth it. Decide to make 1 little change with your customers. That change, find out as much information as you possibly can about your customer. This will allow you to hold a conversation that is all about the customer. It is more about them and less about you. It drives the customer’s self-worth and importance and gives them over the top customer experience.

Allow the customer to get excited .Allow the customer to feel the importance. Allow the customer to receive a different experience. Allow the customer to enjoy your visit. Allow the customer to be happy they have spent money with you. Decide today to give your customer the opportunity of lifetime and make a difference in their life. Decide to excel in your present assignment and change the direction of where you are now located. Stop looking downward while moving forward. Start looking upward and forward.

Stop being afraid of stuff you do not understand and start digging at the center of discomfort forgetting what is behind and pressing for what is above. Here is the key to success and never is outdated and is always fresh and that is Serve, Think, and Help others. Start focusing where you are going not where you have been.

Practice Better Business

What is clarity in a sale?


What is clarity in a sale?

Recently I realized that communication with home owner’s frequently causes’ friction with many service providers within the service construction industry. It is due to a lack of communication however it is not perpetuated on purpose by those inside the industry. It happens because those in the industry do not know or understand the cause and effect that takes place with the miscommunication. When you have 2 people discussing and neither of them understands the problem, solution, and proposal, someone must speak up and gain clarity. No one wants to admit that they are unclear.

This is caused by training that states and tries to live by the law that states relationships are not necessary to build trust and respect. By ignoring personal relationship the service provider leaves some of the doors closed that will help explain the right information where the customer can make the proper decision. This information is not given due to people in the industry thinking it is not important enough or information the customer needs to make the right decision. Typically something is stated that does not make sense. Then it seems like a small attack on the individual or professional and the lack of clarity cuts off the message today and all future communication. All of this is due to a misunderstanding between 2 people. Isn’t it crazy that no one wants to admit that confusion is keeping the potential of the future from moving in the right direction today?

What is even crazier is both buyer and seller are negligent to discover the missing clarity and someone will decide to shut down and get angry. The buyer may decide they are going to do be rash and do what they think is the easiest thing on the planet. They believe they must write a poor review that is poor to the seller and poor to the writer because they do not understand and refused to take all the information under advisement. To the lay person it may make sense however the reality is ignorance is bliss and gives some people power that is nonexistent with the exception of the power in their mind.

I had to address such a thing recently where a home owner of a condo purchased a disposal at a really cheap rate. It was purchased for 250 dollars and the disposal offered was 650.00. However this person forgot to mention all the extras that came with this 650.00 disposal and the benefits of this disposal over the 250.00 disposal. The communication between buyer and seller was non-existent too; the seller did not express it in terminology that the owner could understand. However the home owner did not seek more information to make a smart decision or seek clarity. The only thing on the buyer’s mind, cheap dollars, the customer was greedy in their decision to keep hold of her money versus buying a disposal that was her best choice.

As Paul Harvey used to state here is the rest of the story. This is the 3rd disposal in 6 years at 250.00. Why so many disposals you ask? This disposal is made of metal and will rust. The cutter blades are also made of metal and rust and bind together. When the housing and blades rust the cutter blades freeze up and will not rotate and chop food up properly. The cutter blades not rotating properly will cause food to be thrown into the drainage system creating stoppages. In this home there have been 2 stoppages during this 6 year period. Due to the disposal manufactured with pot metal the housing rusts and will create a leak from the housing which means it must be replaced. We have 3 disposals at 250.00 dollars each which =750.00 and now add 2 stoppages at 350.00 dollars each = 700.00. A total of 1450.00 dollars some plumbers and home centers have stolen I mean sold to a customers. The service provider was unable to pass the proper information to the buyer for her to make the right decision. At times we must discover a way to give this information to a customer even though they do not want to hear this information. Sometimes a customer will only hear and understand dollars; you must discover a different way to convey your message so that it is heard.

I say stolen mainly due to the plumber and home centers refusal to communicate and give information to the customer that will allow them to make a logical and sensible decision that best fits their budget and system. In this case the home owner let the condo association know there is an unreliable plumbing company that will over- charge when in fact they were overcharged in the past by getting the wrong product in their home and omission of information that prevented the right choice.

The 650.00 dollar disposal rotates much faster which means it chops food finer before tossing it through the drainage system. The disposal also has a 5 year warranty if the customer wants to match the current size and a larger one has a 10 year warranty. This means if a disposal had to be replaced within the 5 years this customer would only have had to pay for 1 during the 6th year. The housing of the disposal is not made of pot metal which means it will not rust and rot creating a leak in the cabinet. The cutter blades and base are made of stainless steel which means the cutter blades will not rust together and stop rotating which means the chance of a stoppage being created are slim.

Please tell me which disposal is better for the home owner? Which disposal is better for the condo association? Who has the best interest of the customer and condo association in mind? Yet automatically people assume that the higher priced object, product, and service are over charging. The customer misses the practical definition of price and is not receiving the best possible solution for their home and condo that will affect not only budget but life style and future money spent.

It is time to decide today that you the service provider start delivering over the top communication with to your customer. Do not let the customer or you fall into the trap of I’ve always done it this way creating an; us against them mentality. This serves no one. This will not allow your customer to help educate other customers to why you do what you do, what you do and finally how you do it.

When your customer is not clear on what you’re trying to do for him or her decision’s cannot be made on a solution that you have provided. The friction that is created by a lack of communication can be placed to the side and never visited by gaining clarity. It is essential that you gain clarity and the customer also has a clear vision as to what has happened in the pats, how you can prevent it from happening the future. A discovery of how it can be prevented in the future must be accompanied by why it happened and why it will prevent it from happening in the future must be understood. The words you choose must paint a picture that is logical and sensible to the home owner to move in that direction. If it is not logical or sensible why should the customer move along those lines?

What Construction Service Industry Questions are you Asking your Customers?

Questions and Answers signpost

What Construction Service Industry Questions are you Asking your Customers?

Most of us are old enough to know better yet seem to struggle with discovering the right words to say and the right questions to ask. Then a question is asked: what are the right questions to ask? What weight should the customer’s statements hold deciding the type question you should ask? How can you determine and set the attitude and expectation customers have of you and your company?

What leeway should a customer have when engaging you? What if they are waiting to bait you? How should you act or react? Why do you react the way you do now to customer statements? Why do you believe they should not act out or misbehave? Who has said a customer must be on their best behavior? It is time to start thinking outside the box and understanding the customer has had all types of service providers in the past. The reason you must build trust and respect us due to those very same exact past experiences.

Some people think passiveness is a sign of weakness. I say kindness is a very assertive activity that has the inclination to force angry and mean people to submit and surrender their anger to calmness that begs to suppress chaos for remedies. Generosity has a way of removing animosity and replaces it with an eagerness to participate and provide solutions that are viable. When we give it freely it increases the chances to receive in return. Whenever I have witnessed 2 people extremely angry and maintained that anger it can turn into something volatile quickly. However when 1 person is in turmoil and the other is in constant calmness a comforting effect that is seeking a cheerful resolution overwhelms the offsetting behavior. Just a smile when speaking can create a vision of joy. Niceness is an attractive trait that is contagious.

The customer’s mood will dictate the type questions and their starting behavior. Stop thinking the customer is attacking you. They do not know you well enough to know your attitude and altitude. Stop thinking the customer is devaluing and berating you. It is time to change the customer’s expectation and show them a different point of view by bringing them to this new area that will give them different results. You need to remove yourself from the self-zone and open that comfort area to a place where you are not finished due to the place your mind has traveled and deposited money into the parking meter. It is time to focus on where you are going and not where someone has led you. You must create an action in order for both you and the customer to move forward.

What type of questions should you ask to gain control over the situation in addition to the smile? How about inquiring questions? Questions that ask the customer to freely give information that gives you the ability to regain their passion and composure then for you to discover the explanation of what is bothering him or her. The questions asked should demand a sacrifice and surrender of yours and their free will and to answer basic questions that examine how each of you feel, where this feeling came from and how you can align a solution to their feelings.

Another area I am conferring and parleying to the service provider is to surrender their free will giving up the combative approach of disarming the customer by might is right philosophy. Might is right will not define who or what is right or correct. Might, will define who is stronger with a routine or set of guidelines that gives you unfair advantage and strength to overcome an opponent that does not have a system to follow. Knocking down something that you have built has never been a great equalizer. It does show that you do not have control over your own emotion and no longer have the ability to control your business acumen.

The questions to ask are to disarm the customer. They are designed to engage and attract a picturesque response and reaction from the customer to guide them to a positive stimulant that demands movement to act to an ownership situation. Try to design questions that draw a belief from the customer. Then discover where this belief sowed its seed. Is it something that came from something they have done in the past, is it something they have heard or is it something they have seen? Then align the solution in a question that includes their belief.

Did your customer have the ability to pick this out themselves? Would they like to it out? Is this something they would like to do now or in the future? What is it they like about their current product that would keep them from replacing it now? What is it they would like to see different that they would like to see now? How is this product presently used? How else could this or another product be more useful to him or her? How can you influence your customer?

What must you do to change your position? You must discover your comfort zone and then expand that area. When you live inside an area you cannot grow that area. You’re stuck rotating in a vicious circle that has you turning round and round without gaining ground. No one questions the routine so it stays and you keep plodding through one step at a time. It worked before and it is still working to a degree or it has been steadily losing ground.

This change must be followed by an action that will include changing your source of information. Stop implementing old procedures that are no longer working or viable. Find a new source and frequently this means leaving old trusted advisors behind to seek new ideas that have evolved over time that are fresh and relate to this time. By discovering a new source you now have the ability to replace old thought with new thoughts. Before something new can work it is essential to replace those thoughts with new thoughts. Prior to discovering a new source and replacing your thoughts new thoughts must be programed into a plan and then implement the plan.

The concepts of sales have remained the same. You must have a discovery or a needs analysis. I call this information gathering time. You must be able to provide a product and service to the customer. You must be able to convey to the customer that you have the right product and services. Then you must influence the customer to make the right choice to use you and your solution. This is the basic to selling. The thing that has changed is how you sell, communication, medium to get your message across. You must earn the right to do business with customers today.
are your excuses larger than your dreams

Now go make a decision to move forward today. You expect the customer to make the right decision. It is time you start making the correct decision. The unknown is not to be feared but to be explored. Open your mind to others ways of doing business. Just because you have been doing this for years does not mean there is not a better way. Decide to create an action that will have you moving forward. Become like a musical instrument that plays different notes together in chords that are in perfect harmony

The difference between a profitable service provider and ………………………………..getting by

The difference between a profitable service provider and ……………………getting


I recognize every single construction service industry company shares the same goal as we do. The goal is to make sure the customer is taken care of in the best possible way leading to higher profits. The disparity between the companies is the exceedingly subjective term of best. Some companies will howl at the moon and others bark at the moon and still others are left on the dark side of the moon when it concerns doing what is best for the customer.

Some fail to recall how business was run in the 50s and earlier. Typically business was conducted with the neighborhood in mind and helping the community. It was growing your neighborhood. It was about enhancing the neighborhood. Back in those days neighbors helped their neighbor and took care of all of their issues.

Over the year’s transportation, advertising, and reaching more people became possible. The only advertising available was through local print and some radio. TV was for giant corporations. Magazines may have been printed every 3 months and newspapers ruled the local community. Whoever advertised in the paper was considered giants of the community. The only information available was by word of mouth via the local businesses.

As the 60’s approached radio became even more powerful and now you could reach communities that were over 30 miles from you. With a larger area to work customer service became less important to businesses to receive this information. Access to Information became easier to gain however the home owner still trusted the local community company for their information. The problem that came from this situation was less information was given to the home owner. Fewer questions that could possibly lead to a different perspective led to quick fixes and the inclination that home owners only wanted you to address the initial problem that the home owner diagnosed.

Years past the service provider would come in and complete the job and have a cup of coffee or even eat a meal and discuss business with the home owner along with current events occurring in the neighborhood. This conversation developed a relationship built on trust and respect that built loyalty to the customer and the customer to the company. It is a 2 way street and a lot of companies forget that loyalty starts with them first

Then the information age hit. It hit hard and fast. You could find Dot com’ers all over the place selling multi-million dollar companies. The computer became smaller and more affordable. The information gained from the computer was amazing and fast to receive. Back then within 10 minutes the information was there. Today that same 10 minutes has become seconds. Frequently this information gained and given does not necessarily mean the home owner has the right information.

What do you have to do today in order to make a difference? Keep in mind the home owner who is a customer wants a different experience than they have ever had in the past. The internet and the” I have to have it now economy” has provided you with home centers that can give the home owner multiple choices to make repairs or replace what they have in their home. Too many service providers are stuck in the 70’s and 80’s thinking all they must do is, give the customer a quick fix repair choice.

Remember during the days of neighborhood business it was very rare that a home owner told the service provider they would not be doing business today. However today it is much different where 30-50% of the consumers may decide to use or receive multiple bids. During the neighborhood business days consumers were loyal to companies. Today some are loyal most are not loyal.

So what can you do to make it a different experience? Why do you need to make it a different experience? When I visit home owners I am amazed at how many of them have had other service providers before choosing me to help them today. Ever wonder why the consumer was not happy with previous service providers? I have never met any construction service provider ask their customer these type questions: have you ever had a plumber in your home? When the answer is yes, what would you like to happen that did not happen then? What was missing from that visit? There is a reason they did not call that service provider back and that has led to your company being invited into their home.

I would suggest that the service provider did not give the consumer what he or she wanted or liked. Now you must discover what it is they may like. You do that by asking the customer questions that elicit an answer that you understand and can acknowledge.

A fantastic way to give a different experience is to give an inspection to every customer. I am a plumber and that is the example I will use. This should increase the customer’s awareness of their perceived value. The perceived value will be influenced by your ability to communicate and then listen to the customers answers. The inspection will guide your questions to the home owner.

Your communication will control whether or not you do an inspection. The old saying it is not what you say but how you say it that will determine your ability to gain the inspection. The majority of plumbers will inform the customer that they must do the inspection to make sure all of the plumbing products and system is working properly. Each customer will respond similarly to that statement; it has been working fine. Another way to ask improperly is to say I am checking for leaks or finding something that is not working right.

Helen I give/we give/I do /we do a home plumbing inspection. What I do is check for loose toilet seats, loose faucet handles and tighten them up, slow lavatory drains where I can adjust the level or height of the plunger and remove debris from that item. Possibly do an adjustment to the toilets that I can perform for free. Sound good to you/ is this of interest to you?

Let us pretend the customer stops you and makes a statement that no other plumbing companies have done this. Helen this is why we are different this inspection allows me to get to know your home and understand the plumbing system. In turn this will allow me to help you understand your plumbing system.

Helen how do you feel about preventive measures that in all likelihood will help prevent premature failure and in all likelihood extend the life of your plumbing products? Would this be of value to you? Our experience has told us that the majority of plumbing problems happen at the most inopportune time and by doing this inspection I can inform you of most of the issues you may have to deal with in the next 12 months. You can choose to take care of them now or budget for them in the future. Would it be good to know of any upcoming issues that you may face in the next 12 months? Customer states yes, GREAT should I start here?

What is your Experience with Your Customers?

worth it

What is your Experience with Your Customers?

Recently I was involved in a debate concerning treatment of a customer. The situation was very clear and the proper action /response should be even clearer. What did muddy the clarity of the water for many owners were the actions of past customers. Their decisions were based on the actions of a few or many of their customers. The sheer number of customers that they have difficulty with is unclear however their reasoning came from a point of frustration and from a lack of trust with their customers.

These owners kept insisting there was more to the story and they entered many what ifs into the situation. There were no what ifs, there was only what transpired on this job. The “what ifs” have nothing to do with this particular instance. They just could not get past the what ifs and past history with other customers. Their past history also has nothing to do with this instance. The events that took place were different than their past history and that alone threw the past history out the window.

By changing the events that took place they changed the perception and outcome. For some strange reason the owners could not wrap their heads around the specific event. They could not and refused to acknowledge the events that occurred on this specific job. Why change the events from what they were to something fictional is beyond me other than to argue a point right or wrong. This is an enormous problem within the plumbing industry. Many plumbers seem to want to change the story to fit their agenda and then claw their way to win when wrong. They seem to think unrelated events make some service calls similar. The point of view is skewed by false events that drive home a point that is useless and pointless.

No 2 people are the same, no 2 debates are the same, and no 2 actions produce the same reaction. Give me the same exact situation and now you may have something however no 2 situations are ever the same. YET many owners will try to manipulate situations and place them into the same category and justify a result.

A customer walks into a plumbing showroom. The customer picks out a faucet, sink, and other things for a kitchen sink reconnect. The showroom recommends and refers a plumber that accepts the job. While the plumber is at the customer’s home he or she discovers additional sales and has them accepted by the customer. A problem with the faucet occurs and it is necessary to re-install a new faucet?

Each Plumbing owner tried to change the events and then compare it to a home owner that purchased a faucet from a home center such as Home depot or Lowes. Please would someone logically or emotionally show me how these two jobs are similar? Why would anyone choose to enforce the same rules to both types of jobs when clearly they are separate instances and demand different responses that give different results? 1 is just a faucet and the other involves multiple tasks completed by the plumber. Neither is similar in any shape or form.

Why do they feel the need to change the circumstances and then try to defend a way to get the customer? Here is a thought? They have problems with quite a few customers and believe the customer is out to get them. If this is the case the customer is not the problem.

It seemed that the owners were far removed from dealing with customers and the employees had the right idea with the customer service and experience. The owners thought they should stick it to the customer by charging more money to reinstall a new faucet. Many of the employees thought they should replace it at no charge. My concept is to replace the faucet and while there negotiate a different job that should be completed that did not get completed on the first trip. This is a fantastic opportunity to sell a service agreement at the very least. Here is the problem many owners do not feel the need to have a service agreement to offer their customers. Another fantastic approach is to ask the home owner for referrals and then ask the home to call these referrals.

What I discovered with many of the owners argument is they did not charge the proper amount to begin with and find it necessary to charge again in order not to lose money. Many of those that argued have very little experience in the business with between 5 and 10 years in business. This is not the customers fault nor is it the employees fault. Many owners did not know they should be charging for warranties or the loss of revenue from customer supplied materials. This is part of your costs of doing business. Growth, lifestyle, buying new vehicles, insurances, taxes, and future income is also included into the cost of doing business. Not including these factors into the cost of doing business explains why many businesses close their doors on a regular basis. It should be mandatory for any business owner before they open their doors they must find it essential to take business and accounting courses to help offset businesses from closing their doors due to inadequacies with their decisions and decision making process.

This would help give customers fantastic service and an even higher level of customer experience. When a business has many horrible experiences with customers it is time to take a look at the way the business is run. Any person that runs a business will have a few horrible experiences, they should not happen with regularity. If and when they happen they should not be the exact same situation. If they do it is time to change the way you act and react to this situation. Find a better way before you do the job versus responding and reacting after the fact.

With these owners in question it is one way. Either the customer wins or the company wins. The proper way is both the customer and company win. It should never be one way however once in a blue moon it will sway one way or another. The goal should be that both win.

Learn to communicate with your customer and leave no ambiguity to the desired result. It is time to decide to follow your guidelines with each customer. When steps are missed, forgotten, or bypassed you allow a door to open that is sure to slam on your fingers. However as the sales person, plumber, owner you must stop trying to blame others when you short change your steps and take responsibility. What to do when situations do occur is obvious however you must leave the what ifs and past experiences and deal with each instance on its own merits as they come.

It is time to take a different look at your customers. They are not your enemy and they are not plotting to destroy you. Start holding conversations with your customer and pass information that is black and white with little to no gray area. The words used must paint a vivid picture detailing what is about to take place. You must cover in detail the how, why, and when followed by the desired outcome. Have enjoyable ownership exchanges that drive the customer to want to do more business with you now and in the future.

Become a Moment Maker


Become a Moment Maker

Something that amazes me beyond belief is the distaste, discourse, and disfavor many construction service trades owners have for their customers. They distrust the customer and have this belief that the consumer is out to get them and make them lose money. It appears an overwhelming number of contractors believe the customer has little to no loyalty and there is no way they will give loyalty to their customer. There is a belief the customer is spending their time waiting for them, devising a plan to screw the service provider.

These contractors hold an overpowering animosity towards their customer’s due sick sense of thinking the customer is cheap. They must want a cheap fix to a problem where a cheap fix is not available. What this means is the contractor must be at bare bones to sell the job. There is resentment that the customer will not allow the contractor to make the proper amount of money to be happy because the customer cannot make the right choice.

I have never met a customer that has the power to set standards in pricing for any type business. I have never met a customer that controls a business’s overhead. I have never met a customer that dictates what employees should earn. I have never met a customer that knew what I was going to suggest. I have never met a customer that expected a person like me at their doorstep. The exception to that are the customers I have served in the past and know what to expect. I have never met a customer that controls my happiness.

It is not your client’s fault that you are not making the proper amount of money. It is not your customers fault they are choosing the cheap fix over a recommended product. It is not your customer’s fault that your expectations and standards are low. It is not your customer’s fault that you do not charge enough to make a good living. It is not your customer’s fault that you do not respect the customer. It is not your customer’s fault that you do not trust the customer. It is not your customer’s fault that you live a life of sorrow and regret. It is not your customer’s fault that you have a screwed up attitude.

Today is the day that you will change your attitude and perception of your customers. Start liking your customers and receive amazing results. Start looking at your customer from a different point of view and you will seem astonishing affirmations. Start trusting your customers that they will make the right decision and choices because you gave them better choices. Start respecting your customers and allow them to help with the solution and diagnostics.

Take a simplistic view to facilitate astronomical changes that make a difference. Stop giving your customer the bare minimum choice and stop trying to convince the customer that the bare minimum selection will take care of the problem. The bare minimum has and will never be a long term fix for the problem. You give it because you have so little faith in your customer. You give it because you fear the chance to hear no. You fear success and refuse to provide and contribute good rock-solid reasons why the better fix is superior for the customer tomorrow.

It is time to stop fearing the word no and to start ask why. You are the expert. You are the professional and when you give a bare bones fix the customer believes that it will take care of their problem. If it is going to take care of my problem why would I pick the higher price fix? The key to success is the phrase to take care of my problem. When I am informed that this fix will only get me by and or for a short period of time and will cost me more money in the near future it then is your duty and responsibility to give me a permanent fix.

When I am a customer I am not a scary person. I want what is best for me and my family. Your customer is exactly the same way. They want a good fix. You must have the fortitude to present the better fix and explain why it is better. Start taking responsibility for your customer’s reaction to your lousy attitude and presentation. The customer is not broken, you are broken and in dire need of repair. The fix is easy however implementation is extremely difficult.

Man all I want of my customers is to take a long car ride with me. The visit is what you make it. Decide today to make it a pleasurable car ride. Play games, have fun, and enjoy the ride. You do this by looking at the service call a little bit differently than you have in the past. It is an opportunity. The plumbers, electricians and HVAC technicians that will say; see this is about how much you can get from your customer are also the same people who complain about the customer. They are also the ones who have no idea what opportunities are available to them with each and every customer.

When I am with a customer I feel a good time coming on. The reason for the good time is the human experience. The opportunity is helping, serving, enhancing, and making a difference in people’s lives. To solve a customer’s problem and in the mean time you get the chance to increase the opportunity to meet fascinating people and share their stories. How can anyone top this amazing journey? The ability to take people with you on this journey is immense and unforgettable. This is my life and I am lucky to live it.

You have a fantastic opportunity to think of your customers as friends. You have the opportunity to introduce heroes to other heroes. A customer facing difficulties in their life, you have the ability to help them and put them in touch with other people who have lived through the same difficulties and become a difference maker. You have the opportunity to help your customers business grow by giving those people that need their services to them. You have the opportunity to become the customers go to person for any referral or number 1 problem solver.

In the construction service trades we get the chance to meet all types of people from all walks of life. From World War II heroes to the everyday heroes that were put into extraordinary situations. You get to meet exceptional moms and dads that give their children everything they have. You get to meet CEO’s of large corporations to the welder at the auto mechanics shop to the door to door sales person. You get to see people at their happiest moments and conversely you get to see people at their saddest moments. The point is you get to take part in hundreds if not thousands of people’s moments and change history. There are moments in a lifetime and a lifetime of moments waiting there for you.

It is your choice. You can be a moment maker or you can be a closed door chaser that has a miserable life with miserable people paying you. You decide. Your attitude determines your outlook. Will you decide to have fun and enjoy your customers or will you decide to look at the negative aspects that drive your process. Is your emotion homeless or will your emotion be lost in a mansion of life and living. Live and love a little harder to drive your ambition to help, serve, and make a difference in your customer’s life. Let those that wish to take those magical moments and have explosive joyfulness during your work day and for those who do not par take say have a good day.
Start today and Practice Better Business
Richard Hilliard

America's Service Sales Coach

How to sell plumbing,heating and air conditioning,electrical construction service industry trade and retail sales. Sales help and sales tips


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