Category Archives: Selling Plumbing

Eloquent Expressive Narrative Conversation

Eloquent Expressive Narrative Conversation

Today is the beginning of new and exciting future for you. Will you choose to take advantage of this golden opportunity? Now is the time to decide the direction of your tomorrow. 2015 is beckoning for a continuation of your growth of 2014. This past year drove many companies to discover a way to deliver extraordinary and over the top customer service and experience. Giving their customers different experiences then they have ever had in the past from any service provider.

This has led many companies to try a different approach delivering better solutions to consumers. In order to facilitate change with their customers companies have to make a decision concerning the direction of their company. This direction has the company moving forward and typically not walking in familiar territory. A change from the normal performance of business to an exchange of ideas increasing the customer’s involvement from diagnostic, covering multiple options, and budget.

The transformation is with the communication, replacing your conservative communication with effective conversation driving your exchange of descriptive phrasing that thrusts a picture of the positive ownership exchange between buyer and seller. The consumer must place them self in a position to understand and to become part of the decision making process of the sale. This is the exciting change that will take place.

Now is the time you should start to give the customer ideas that will assist them decide what is in their best interest and fits into their budget and alleviate any issues preventing her from moving forward. Frequently in the construction service trades the technician will tell the consumer a choice perhaps 2 choices. The consumer realizes neither of the choices is viable and chooses to let you go and try someone else and improve the choices.

The 2 choices frequently given the consumer are to make a repair or to do nothing. What would multiple choices given to the consumer look like to you and your buyer and how would it affect their decisions? What if she knew and understood the ease of something new? What if you are able to convey a message and a product that encouraged and compelled the consumer too purchase a better product that produces superior results than the old existing product.

Will you give yourself the authority to positively move your company in a new direction that brings excitement and renewed joy driving your ability to increase your potential earnings and profits? You do control the ability to make choices. What choice will you make today?

Decide to increase your ability to communicate driving conversation that will change your life and those that are around you. This includes your customers by giving them better solutions that allow them to want to use your products and services. Then it will affect all of the people that surround you personally such as family and friends. In conclusion it will affect your co-workers and employees due to conveying descriptive and graphic concepts that presents ideas that are clear and precise painting a colorful image with their words. Their words will match their actions.
vision and success
Are you ready to make that decision? Will you make decision?

Practice Better Business


Choose the correct training.

images of words
Choose the correct training. I receive 35 emails on training

The conclusion of the New Year is amusing and at times hilarious in my appraisal. I revel in helping others reach a higher potential both as a person and professional increasing their earning potential.
During this time period there is definitely pressure to take the last few days of the year to gain as much business to boost profits for the year ending and to shove all kinds of training to different companies whether they need it or not. Get what you can this year and enjoy the deductions while getting preparing for the next year.

I am all about training and know it is essential. Without proper training you are spinning your tires in the mud. Decide to discover the real obstacles that are keeping you from reaching your potential. Blindly attacking every process within your company will overwhelm you and place you in a position to fail and believe the changes are the reason for failure. There are way too many contractors’ training companies that try to overhaul too many things at one time. You must eat the elephant one bite at a time. It Is essential to find out the portion of the company that requires treatment and fix the cause. Once that is accomplished whatever is next will help grow your company.

My specialty is growing income and increasing your earning potential. If your issue is spending increasing your dollars has not fixed the problem. What it did is add more money to spend on your spending issues. I can prove to any company they need to increase their earning potential and increase profitability. That is easy to prove and gain agreement. I am more interested in a healthy you and your company. Once you start to encounter the same problem you experienced in the past what good was the training I gave you to increase profits? The main illness was not treated. In your mind the training was horrible and wasted your time and effort.

Analyze your company. Hire a professional that can and will find the real issue and address the reason why your business is not where you think it should be positioned. The sales help companies are really good at what they do. They can build frenzy and have you fired up and ready to proceed and push the urgency to get it today. They need you to make that decision today. Why? Emotion sells.

You may discover that you require a complete business overhaul. I am not willing to place your company in a position without investigating a few business practices.I would definitely hire a local business coach to visit your company and then to evaluate from head to toes what is going on from business practices, dispatching, customer relations to how truthful your books are telling you where you stand. For this numbers are required but not the sole way to make a decision as numbers do not always tell the truth. Some areas to research are:

The first is hiring practices. Your work culture will make or break you. Whether you buy into a sales system does not matter when your plumber can not spell or complete a sentence. It is amazing how little training is set aside for this small but extremely important portion of your work culture. Communication and conversations will determine your success within the company and with your customers.

Second is what type of training, Speaking to plumbers and other trade professional’s there is a wide belief that sales are manipulation. This is because we demand a fast return on investment. The training is called persuasion and convincing which is part of manipulation but in a kinder way. However when push comes to shove and we place the spotlight it is good intentions done for the wrong reason is still wrong. But it is the fastest way to bring money into the company and teach people how to sell. Typically this is 2-4 day training. What training only takes 2-4 days to master? Sales are essential to increase profits. Discover the training and investigate what is best for your company.

Discover your overhead and why it is where it is. Find a way to bring your over head down. You do this by having the right per hour rate whether you are per hour or flat rate. Surround yourself with brighter people then you. Do not be afraid of hiring great people for fear they may leave you after they get experienced. You are as successful as those people who surround you. Hiring bodies that do not fit your company will kill the company

Choosing the right company is crucial .So many companies are choosing the training for the wrong reason. I received 35 emails from trainers offering me their training. The reason is there training is what will save our company, They never bothered to discover if we needed their type training or what was keeping us up at night. Their crustal ball told them our problem magically fit their solution without gathering information. They have never been off value to our company in the past and doubt that there training is a fit for us.
Behind the 8 ball
How do you determine the right company for you? I am going to point out a friend of mine. He was not a friend until I received emails from his company. The emails were of value and in the form of blogs that helped me with various business decisions. Some of the value material covered successful hiring practices. It showed me how to discover the customer’s real reason to buy and how to give proper options to the customer and in what order. Amazingly the free stuff given to me showed me how to prepare the solutions in a way that made sense to the customer, how to include customers in the decision while learning how to stop buyer’s remorse. I finally decided it was time to get to know this person and we made contact. It was then that he became a friend, his name is Joe Crisara. Joe is not the only guy out there like this, there are many to choose from. He is a fantastic role model with his presentation skills. Others would be Steve Corsica, Ellen Rohr, and Charlie Greer and there are others. Notice that these people are individuals and not huge resources.

You want to hook up with people that provide value to you before they make their sales pitch to you. We have 1 person we call and every time we call we are told to raise our prices without discovering what the issue is. This is of no value to me. I want to know a better way to increase our ability to increase booking of calls. Raising the rates will not provide that information. I will not call this person and the contact is not mine. I had a trainer write me to teach me how to negotiate with customers without giving up dollars. In his email sales pitch he gave me a discount if I were to choose his company. I am not sure this is the trainer to teach me how to negotiate if he is dropping his price on our initial contact.
What is information that is of value? Things that interest you with building your company this information makes you powerful and will increase your thought process making you more aware of your surroundings and where you want to visualize your company in the future. Your future begins today.

Interview this trainer via the phone. Have a set of questions you need to ask. Remember when you are with customers they ask the most bizarre question and make statements that make little to no sense. You need a trainer that will teach you how to react and respond to this customer. The training should help you with 20—25% of your customers the rest should make up their own minds and decide to use you based on trust and respect with likeability. The training should deal with that 20-25% not the 75% that do business with you already.

Now for non-traditional sales training in the trades I am going to say a few things about Practice Better Business. Most of the training is drawn from outside the traditional sales training given by those inside the construction sales training. By this it is drawn by those that have experience and expertise in sales . Cold calling techniques are included because we must learn to talk with customer via the phone that are out of state. We must visualize to the customer why you do what you are going to do. We must hold conversations that build mutual trust and respect. We are in a people business and we must learn to appreciate our customers and understand what they mean.

Choose the right trainer for your company. Choose the right reasons to choose and make the correct choice. Find a business coach that can help you diagnose your company and the areas that need a spoonful of sugar. Apply that medicine and watch your company grow by leaps and bounds.

Practice Better Business wished you a Happy New Year and decide to grow.

Too much time ,to many stupid excuses

clock time wasted

Too much time ,to many stupid excuses

I like talking to people. I enjoy speaking with peer professionals in my industry. I especially love to hold conversations with people in the construction trade industry that can open their mind to a different way of thinking. What I like more than anything is to have someone take an open hand to their face and start to rub their chin with hmmm I see. It almost becomes an “aha” moment with the person listening.

Conversely I cannot stand those in the industry that eagerly participate trashing and complaining their customers and potential customers. They seem to bad mouth quite a few of their customers that seem to change into horrible consumers. Why it seems to happen to these same people is a miracle as far as they are concerned. HOWEVER it is never them; it has to be the consumer.

The consumer decided to do the least expensive repair, the customer decided to play with the plumbers fix and caused the new/old leak. One female plumber in Virginia thinks a 90 year old woman is playing with old shutoffs. The plumber connected lavatory supply lines to the existing shutoff valves instead of installing new shutoffs. How ridiculous is it to think a 90 year old woman is crawling inside a cabinet and sabotaging shutoff valves inn order for her to come back to her home. At some point when will you realize that it is you that is the common denominator with each and every one of your customers? I am not implying that all troubled customers are a result of what you do however when the horse is staring at you, it is time to accept that you may be the problem that needs fixed.

I made a comment that we should discover budget. When those in the construction trades are asked to give quotes it is essential to discover budget.1 plumber stood up and thought he would put me in my place by stating that anytime he asks his customers about a budget they laugh at him and will never tell him. Asking for a budget is a silly time wasting project is what he should have said and given a reason why. Instead he decided to try and be a smart alec that had no reason to back his idea.

I would agree with him, if I asked you to tell me your budget of course you wouldn’t. I would not tell you if you asked me to tell you my budget or how much I am going to spend. Figure a different way to ask the question that allows you to gain an answer. Have a purpose with your questions. At times we must take the hat off our head and use it for something other than a hat rack. You must discover the budget, it is a guide to help you get from Point A to Point B. Sometimes people in the construction trades are way too literal and have a difficult time peering over the top of the proverbial box that contains their ideas. Many more are so stuck in their ways that they refuse to see a different way to ask.

One way to ask about a budget is: Have you given any thought to the plumbing fixtures? What have you chosen? That is great can you tell me why you went that route? Have you seen the new 1 piece Kohler power flush or whatever 1 piece water closet you think is better for that customer? Once you discover where your customer has looked at their fixtures you can discover why which leads to an answer about a budget. Another way is; is there a monetary constraint on your investment? Then ask questions about top end fixtures.

Then this plumber decided to attack in a different way, he said I do not want to be a pushy sales person I just want to plumb. No you don’t; if you wanted to plumb you would want to give your customer the best possible solution and if you refuse to sell them the best solution then you cannot possibly want to plumb.

To some this may sound a little angry, it is not. It is meant to get to the core problem of why our industry has dropped in reputation over the years. It is to get to the core point of why more home owners have decided to use non licensed unqualified personnel to do their plumbing work or any type construction service work in their home. I am at an age where I really do not care that some of those people in my profession are offended. It is time they started to realize there is a better way, they must open their mind and eyes and do something other than what they have done for years. A common response is Richard you seem to think there is only 1 way to do things. I take pity on you for saying something that is even more stupid than what you uttered earlier. It has nothing to do with my way as the only way. I have mentioned many other sales trainers that are very good, very progressive, and have systems that are available for you to grow your business with high integrity. Stop trying to discredit by trying to go in a different direction by reducing it to the ridiculous. I’ll call you out on your stupidity and your feelings will get hurt once again. I would rather hurt your feelings if that is the way to motivate you to at least take a look at a different direction to increase your earning potential. However if you refuse that is not my problem, it is yours. What do you have to lose?

But; if I become a sales person I will sell with less integrity and dishonesty. The statement is worded differently but it holds the same meaning. People that sell are crooks or over sell, sell things that do not need to be sold. If that is how you intend to sell you may be correct. However that is you not the sales method. Again stop making stupid statements that sound more like excuses.

Stop being the damaged goods in your company’s presentation. Start being the customer’s hero and go to person for information. Become the trusted advisor. Stop being afraid of the term sales person.

The past 12 months

The past 12 months

Wow a lot has happened in the past 12 months. Some good, some bad, and some of it ok. We scheduled on a routine removal of a 4 centimeter polyp October 29th, 2013. The night before was a typical and predictable night before surgery no food or drink after 12:00 midnight. I was a smoker and I smoked my last cigarette that night. We went to bed thinking that it would be a quick in and out and life would return to normal.

On our way to the hospital for the surgery roughly 5:30 AM Suzy and I chatted. We had no idea what was around the corner. All I can say is Suzy is one of the strongest women I have ever known and will ever know and I am ecstatic that she is in my corner and in my world. After the surgery we discovered that they found cancer in my colon. They removed 22 lymph nodes and 21 of them were cancerous. There was more left inside the colon. However we still had no idea concerning how severe and impacted our lives would become.

The next 5 days in the hospital recovering from colon surgery the surgeon kept on saying; we did not catch it in time? I kept asking what that means. The surgeon would repeat himself saying we did not catch it in time. No one could tell me what that meant. Every time I have an appointment with him, he repeats that phrase and every time I ask what that means. During the hospital stay I did not know if I would be coming home from the hospital and I still do not know today what we did not catch it in time means. All I know is here am I today.

After being released from the hospital we were advised to meet with an oncologist. We were extremely lucky with the person we chose. The choice was random. We met with a local oncologist that we really liked. However every place we visited suggested that we get a second opinion. There is a cancer help facility that has volunteers and they pushed hard for us to visit a cancer institute in Tampa to receive a 2nd opinion. Finally after a few months of this particular place pushing for a 2nd opinion I said ok. Suzy and I set the appointment and sat with an oncologist from this center. This fellow sat in the middle of the room slouched in a chair and asked: what do you know. We told him, he said WRONG. He said you have a 5% chance of survival. He also made it perfectly clear that the oncologist was not doing what she should have been doing. He told us his diagnostics and what he would be doing differently than our present oncologist and if I expected to live I would be with him.

Obviously we had many questions and many more that could not be answered. Tic toc, tic toc, time ticking and slipping away. There was and is so many things that we want to do, know, and now we discovered there is not enough time for us to complete the bucket list. If you get anything out of this forget the bucket list for the future. Start fulfilling your bucket list now your future is now. When your decision is to wait the wait may never mature into the right choice.

We drove home that long lonely Thursday night, the hour and half seemed like an eternity. It was the longest drive I think we have ever made. Both Suzy and I cried most of the way home. We were not sure what we were going to do or how we would break this to our adult children. Then we decided to wait until the following Monday when we would be visiting with our original oncologist. Sometimes the best thing is to sit and relax before making decisions that you believe are life changing .

Friday afternoon while walking I had an epiphany that hit me square in the jaw. I started to analyze the original oncologist statements and this new person we visited on Thursday. When you are in that situation you reach for whatever is available to change the circumstances. However the circumstances did not need changed. My direction and beliefs went back to the original oncologist’s remarks and diagnostics. When I arrived home Suzy had the same idea. How could we possibly allow someone that did not know, understand, or was vested in our wellbeing adjust our thought process.

Finally Monday arrived, our tears were dry by now and emotionally we were spent. Our emotional stance dressed our bodies. I dislike when a customer seeks a second opinion from me. I can only imagine how a Doctor feels. I explained what I had done by getting second opinion. We have a fantastic oncologist. She looked at us and said I work for you. If I missed something I am more than happy to get you in a treatment that is better for you. We love her spirit, her professionalism, and her caring attitude. Her name is Janice Eakles and we trust her explicitly. Better yet we have entrusted her with my life which should explain everything that you may want to know about her ability.

Here is what we found: The second oncologist from Tampa was making a diagnostic on 3 month old data. Second he recommended a treatment that destroyed cells that were rebuilding the area of my colon that had undergone surgery. His prescribed treatment would have destroyed my colon and not allowed it to heal. Who knows what he meant by a 5% chance of living? This man tried to convince us that our world had stopped spinning and it was time for me to step off.

We have consumed a full year brawling all the way with aggressive treatments. Having a year under our belts is huge especially when I did not know if I would be coming home from the hospital. I did not know if I would be there for my granddaughter’s birthday in February, or Valentine’s Day, our kid’s birthday. It has been an extremely tough year for Suzy and me. You know what, we made it and now are looking forward to next year. We forgot a major force in our lives and that is God. When it is our time it is our time decided by God and no man has control over our destination and will not determine time. Through faith our strength and resolve became so strong and has led us to where we stand today. We are now so much better prepared for the future. We have discovered that we and more specifically myself am ready and ok with the end. However at this time I am not ready and have more to do.

Over the past 12 months I have noticed my tolerance of people and their stupid remarks has dropped considerably. I cannot believe how many people try to reduce things to the ridiculous which helps no one and is of no value. What each person requires are people that surround them that add value and are valuable to the growth and wisdom that is necessary to live each day. I am no longer interested in how a person reacts when they should sit back and respond. I no longer am tolerant of people who see the same results yet they continue to repeat the same activates then deny that another idea or concept will not work in their circumstance. Stop being afraid to accept change especially when change is the exact answer to your circumstances. The problem is whether you change or not is your choice and it is amazing how badly some people choose.

What is amazing is we do not know when the end is near. We can speculate but then again why would you want to know? There is too much to share especially the events that have happened in everyone’s life to date is more exciting than discussing the things you may or may not have the ability to experience. Decide to live each day as if it were your last. Express gratitude by professing your faith in God, articulating how valuable and important your family is to you and the unconditional love that surrounds the family. Then lastly to have continued gratefulness for the people that encircle you. It is extremely important to remove all obstacles and negative people from immediate environment. There is absolutely no reason or rhyme why you should endure people that are not happy or joyful.

Richard Hilliard
Practice Better Business


What you think may not be what the customer thinks.

past  futureWhat you think may not be what the customer thinks.

Every Wednesday morning we hold ongoing training. I try to have theme based training. As any of you who have kept up reading the blogs I post a lot of the blogs pertain to communication. I believe the reason sales fail is due to a communication breakdown. Some will debate that you can do everything perfect and still the sale will fall through the cracks. That is a true statement. However let us look at who the sale was perfect too. It was perfect in the eyes of the wrong person and that is the sales person. It must be perfect in the eyes of the customer. They are the ones who hold the key to the door that you want to enter.

I was asking plumbers an area of difficulty when they are trying to renew service agreements? Their response is not surprising. A few of their co-workers have been to the home and there to do list suggesting preventive measures do not standup to the number of issues they found. The customer will make a statement that the other plumbers/guys have not said anything in the past.

Before I answer anything that a customer asks I must dig deeper to find out more information. There is a core belief that people make decisions based on what they have seen, heard, or done. The case describe in the last paragraph needs more information to give a good material back to the plumbers. The simple question of what did you say to the customer when they made that statement. As I made my way around the table discussion discovering each person’s reply many things stood out.
1. Preparation
When you are prepared you can answer the customer’s questions and concern’s without trying to defend your position.
2. Communication
Making the right statements to the customer is essential

The reply’s went like this or similar and remember they say these things to customers. I do it this way with all of my clients. This gives each client the same treatment. On the outside looking in this appears as a good thing to say to a client. However it also implies that no one else is doing what they should be doing and you have quietly just burned your co-workers and company. The customer hears no one else is doing what they should so why should I purchase this service agreement again. I did not get the correct service the last few times, what makes me think I will on the next few visits? You may be lucky to get anything out of this service call.

Another response was: this is what I do on every visit I make. This also seems like a good answer and is exactly on the same lines as above. You have just burned everyone in your company. There is no need to use you or your company there is no consistency. The company does not train their staff or they just do not care. Employees can do whatever they want and broken promises are the norm.
A sole proprietor made the statement that it depended on how busy he was. Wow really you are going to tell a customer that the care they receive is determined by how much time you think you have to spend with him or her? You are lucky they do not ask you to leave right now.

Another tells his customers I am not sure why they did not do it this way I was not here. This implies that the other people on staff are not as careful or as good as you. When I call and if I do not get you I will not get what was promised. Why should I purchase this as you have already informed me others are not doing their job properly? The biggest problem is you have told the customer that no one is supervising the others and everyone flies from the seat of their pants. This is no set procedure to follow up on your promise.

How can you be prepared? If you noticed we said renewal of a service agreement. This means your office should have history. Get that history and know what has been completed at this customer’s home and how much he or she has saved by having this service agreement. I have a customer that one of our plumbers visited her. He suggested to her that she should replace the garbage disposal. She became extremely angry at him and wondered why I who had visited her the past few years never informed her of the disposal problem.

He had history and knew ahead of time that I have already spoken with her about the disposal not once but three times in the past. Each time there was a notice on the paperwork the disposal with the reason it should be replaced. It was extremely rusted and the blades were not turning freely. Meaning the food is not being chopped up properly. He was there for a kitchen sink stoppage. Once she saw on her invoices the three notices, she turned to him and said perhaps we should listen more to you; told us what would happen 3 years ago and it happened. This is why we use you.

When you are prepared you can make sense of things and help the customer understand. It will also help you prepare a different way to present the solution that makes more sense to him or her to move forward today. Be ready for anything that a customer may say try to get you to say.
Communication is key when others in your company are not following the procedures outlined by company policy. Creating conversation as a peer versus keeping stations set where one is set in a higher capacity is always a dividing feature.By following the procedures in place you can help start developing the company culture that can and will enhance your abilities to reach success at prenominal heights.

Mrs. Client I can make sure to put a note on our computer that will inform any of our staff that visits you to follow protocol. I will also make sure there is a note to give me a call before they visit you. I wish I was as perfect as I sometimes think I am. However I am only human and am prone to making mistakes. It is good to have someone follow me to pick me up when I am not feeling exactly up to snuff.

Mr. Client each person is different. This faucet when new worked with a single finger being able to open and close the valve. I believe the valve should work with the exact same ease as when it was new. Another plumber may feel as if you can have your whole hand wrapped around the faucet and pull it on. The best thing is our service agreement is designed to give you information that is preventive in nature and gives you the opportunity to act proactively. It is your choice and you know what to look forward to and budget for in the future. Sound good to you?

Neither of these ways burns you or your company and informs the customer that from now on out the right thing will be done. You are going to make sure that it happens. Whenever I ran into this problem I made sure my office would write special instructions for the next plumber. Those instruction are treat the customer as I would or they will call me.

Start communicating with your customer and watch what you say. Even the best if intentions can give off bad vibes to a customer. Your words should carry your actions and define who you are. Watch your words as they define your character.

Crossroads Yesterday Tomorrow dreamstime_16469710

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

Why the Indifference? Customer is standing their ground.

Don't fear change,change fear
Why the Indifference? Customer is standing their ground.

Start taking more upfront time. You’re experiencing buyer’s remorse. The reason the customer is feeling indifference. You arrived, looked at the job, priced it up, started work and collected and left. Badda bing customer has no reason to trust you and wants to call around and check your prices.

Up front time is the time you take to discover stuff out about your customer. It does not necessarily have to be about the plumbing issue, it can be personal stuff. If you’re unwilling to do this be sure you are able to talk to them about their home. Give them tips on how to prevent certain things from happening over and over.

Not everybody can discuss personal stuff. I would propose that you discover how to do this and then become comfortable doing this. My customers know they can tell me anything and frequently do. I can then also talk to them about what is going on in their life or what has gone on in their home in the past. This way I become knowledgeable with their home. They are MY customer and I am their faithful advisor. I understand and know what they want with repairs or replacements, I know what they will spend and how they will respond and react.

Very rarely should you have customer’s that price shop you after the job. Why: there is no reason to do that even though you may be in the top 5% of service providers. What the client receives is overwhelmingly worth more than the dollars he or she has spent in the past with others. Giving excellent service with solving their problems, better than that become fantastic at having people feel great after you leave. Customers do not care that you are a genius. Most of the service providers are and that explains exactly why a lot of plumbers/service providers lose jobs to home centers, handymen and unqualified unlicensed people. That is exactly why people question the prices a lot of plumbers give them before and after the job is complete. That is why people question the amount of time it takes instead of congratulating you on the skill and knowledge you possess. By the way when you lose jobs it is generally due to: things we do, don’t do, things we say, and don’t say. You do not lose the jobs to those other places and people, they do not take the jobs from us, and the job is lost by you. It is much easier to blame other than take responsibility.

Another reason why customers have issues with their service providers is the service provider did not listen or comprehend what they have read or heard. Then they refuse to confirm what they have read or heard. The other day I posted a picture of illegal work from an unqualified person that installed a water heater improperly. In the very first sentence I stated that code required an electrical upgrade that by law requires a qualified licensed Electrical Contractor. In the post was a shameless plug for the electricians company.

A plumber thought it was his business to post I would have at least installed an electrical piece on the water heater. Trying to pound his chest saying you did not do it correctly either. If this is done in a conversation with peers then it certainly happens when speaking to a customer. Here are the problems with the post. The piece was not enough to bring the connection to code, 2nd it as not about that plumber the article was on illegal and unqualified people doing illegal work. 3rd the first post said an electrical contractor was hired to bring it up to code and pull a permit why would a plumber do something with the electric when a licensed qualified electrician would be there to complete the work? Understand what you have heard or read and then make serious suggestions for the solution to the customer. A customer knows when you are not sincere or trying to aimlessly pursue conversation to try and convince him or her to move forward.

I enjoy real life and real world stories that illustrates precisely why our words affect and engage a customer to buy or to send you away. During a recent conversation concerning water heaters a plumber made a statement that she repaired water leaks above an older water heater. As soon as the customer started to write the check to pay for the job the she decided to replace the water heater. This plumber was bragging that she collected the repair and a brand new install of a water heater. In this conversation it was brought up that the water lines would have been included in the water heater install. The replacement heater had to be scheduled for a different day.

My question was simple, precise and concise. Why didn’t you present the replacement heater and repair at the same time and do they both that day? Next thing I knew this person responded by saying they do not use trickery and will not push a customer into making a decision. Nowhere in my question is an accusation of trickery or pushing anyone into a purchase. Nowhere in her response is acknowledgement that both the repair and replacement was given to the home owner.

This is an indication that service providers react versus thinking about a response. Then becoming defensive with their customer and over reacting. If a service provider becomes defensive like this with peers they become defensive with their customer and over reacting is normal. How you react is your history and what you practice, you are in real life. It is that simple.

What this service provider did was not wrong, the majority of service providers provide this kind of service to the majority of customers. It is what many of them were taught and have passed from 1 company to another. You learned from Joe who learned from Charlie who learned from Jim who learned from so and so. It is the way business is run and has run for many years.

Decide today to start a different process with your clients. Give them the best that you can give and start servicing your customers. You should be the best servant possible while giving the gifts that you have to the customer. These gifts are communication, smile, happy to be there with him or her. Start giving the customer real deserving solutions to their problems that prevent possible problems in the future. It is within your power to provide this to your clients


Practice Better Business

You made me change my schedule and then canceled?

You made me change my schedule and then canceled?

Many of you in the blogosphere have read previous posts of Practice Better Business and understand that several of the blogs are written on communication. I must admit there are some people that none of us will ever reach and in my case there are some who will never quite get it or see where they can improve. This is not because they are not experiencing a problem it is because they believe they can do no wrong. It is what it is and until they can accept their weak points as being weak and then stop blaming outside forces such as consumers then it will remain a weak point.

There is a plumber that posts weekly in a social media site concerning consumers that call into his plumbing company that are time wasters. These short social media posts will point out how a person wastes the precious time this plumber has available. This plumber does not realize it is a complaint about consumers and a lot of whining. Customers are noticing the complaints and most likely hesitating to call. One complaint a week is not bad until we understand he is a one man shop and may do 10 calls a week if that many. But he is not hurting financially and that must mean he is not complaining or practicing terrible business practices. (Sarcasm) Add to this this fellow and others like him have posted it on social media however it is not a complaint nor does this consumer bother them. Then why did you post it if it holds no meaning and why would you call this customer names and cheap.

I do get the biggest kick out of follower plumbers who think the way this was handled is cool. They have this core belief that consumers are bad and should be told off. There are some customers that are not your customer however the sheer number of mishaps from this group is comical to say the least. These followers are telling these few plumbers they are doing great by telling them off or not working for him or her. Stupid is as stupid does. This thread is not about helping them it is geared to helping those plumbers or service providers who want to increase their ability to service more consumers and satisfy them while delivering over the top experience and service. Some plumbers will claim victory however they will always be a butt crack plumber.

A couple of weeks ago the complaint was a customer with a water heater that was leaking. In the post it was made perfectly clear to the readers that he had other work scheduled and did not need the work. He also made it perfectly clear that he made special arrangements to “fit” this customer into his very busy schedule. He also said what a pain it was to fit this customer in. Then how dare that customer call and cancel the call as he was finally on his way. Why do people do this?

There are plenty of reasons why people do this. One reason is they found someone else; another reason could be price, another reason and in this case is what happened they paid attention to the plumber and did what they were asked to do. If it was so difficult to fit them into his busy schedule they should help him and made it easy for him. The customer located someone that wanted their work and was more than happy to accommodate. The assumption by everyone is the consumer had the job done cheaper however no one has a clue if that is right or wrong. It sure is easier to blame the customer than to take responsibility.

From the description given by this particular plumber it is fairly obvious the plumber made it sound like a huge favor he was doing for this first time caller. While at the same time not realizing that he was putting the caller off by inferring how much of a burden he or she is to get into the schedule. We as service providers never think this way until we are placed in the situation of a buyer and have been in the exact situation where we feel like a burden. How dare our buyers treat us this way? Sometimes as a know it all plumber we need to place ourselves in the shoes of our customer or perhaps place your spouse in their place and understand your spouse may not talk to you for the rest of the day if you treated her like you treat some customers.

It is time to train you with phone manners and to treat customers with respect. There are many that talk on the phone and do not realize how they sound or how they come across as condescending to their customers. Record yourself and listen to the tape. What an eye opener. It seems that some issues come across as non-verbal communication over the phone. I do know we all have an idea when we are angry how that comes across on the phone, frustration too. When you are less than enthusiastic to perform or schedule a service job for a customer that emotion comes across loud and clear to consumers. They hear your loud statement and will follow up and do what you have made known to them. That is to call your competition and blow you off. You should start realizing and understanding the nonverbal communication that you are giving off to your customers.

A rock solid way of discovering and holding a conversation with a consumer and your day is full is to ask questions. The first few questions are spent asking for the contact information and how they found you. Once I know how they found me I ask what they were told, read, or heard that they liked. Asking if the leak is contained is a valid question. Ask how long it has been leaking. Personally I like to ask if a certain day and time is ok with him or her. I have never found it necessary to say I have no openings or I am booked up. If it is Monday, perhaps ask if Tuesday between 9- and 11 is fine and I also repeat what they told me about why they chose me. If the consumer states that is not good ask what is best for him or her. If today then do what you can to fit him or her into the schedule without broadcasting how difficult it is to fit them into the schedule.

The concept is to make them feel like part of the family not how unreasonable or difficult they are being. Remember they are in a situation that most people have not face often. However you the plumber have faced leaky water heaters many times and typically they are not devastation for you. Add to the leaky heater, having kids that need to get to school, the homeowner needing to get to work.

Ahh the customer is being unreasonable because they have to get to work. Imagine how upset you gte when your truck breaks down, or you’re sick and the work load is building up. Quite possibly bills are adding up and you need to get t that job in order to pay that bill. YET we think our customers are being unreasonable and a pain in the rear because they must be at work. How dare they not accommodate you?

We then make statements that rub the customer the wrong way. What is the worst thing about the statements is we are not understanding why the customer is feeling the way they are feeling. In our minds the customer is unreasonable, hard case, illiterate, and quite often plumbers are thinking the customer is plotting against them to cheat them out of hard earned income. It is time to start to think as a home owner in trouble before you open your mouth and say something not relevant and disengaging. It will make your life much easier and less stressful.

There is more than 1 way to handle any and all situations. It is our job to discover the best way to work with our customers and engage them in conversation and a call to action. Find it and start helping more customers.

Are you Reasonable?

Are you Reasonable?

Behind the 8 ball

A consumer inquired of a trade’s person before hiring his services asking this question, are you reasonable. This insulted the trade’s person. Frequently those in the trades have a wild imagination and ponders that this consumer is scheming and maneuvering against them or only wants cheap. In this illustration this is the trade’s person’s reply: I’ve learned instead of trying to change them. To just not do business with those types of people. It usually does not end well.

Revolutionize your mindset! It doesn’t end well because you have branded and pigeon-holed the consumer and have set your expectation to anticipate difficulty. When you expect trouble your answers to questions, facial expressions and nonverbal language is off setting to the customer. It cannot be avoided you have set the tone. Any question that may sound out there, whacked, or attacking, you become defensive in your response.

Here the trade’s person has labeled them as “those people”. What do “Those People” look like? What are the habits of “those people”? That statement belongs in the category of” are you reasonable” as a question that is labeled as out there and meaningless. How can you label a person by 1 statement that holds no value and when you have no experience with this person?

Revolutionize your mindset!

Are you reasonable is an invitation asking you to tell them why they should hire and pay you what you want? This particular trade’s person also made this statement: quote” I just had a guy ask me if I was “reasonable”. I told him “I feel like I’m worth it and you get what you pay for” lol, never understand people that only care about price”. Please explain to me anywhere in this reply that would inform any person to use you? There is no reason to use you. I think or I feel I am worth it. I do not want you to think or feel you are worth I want to know that you are worth it. If you don’t know for sure how in the world will I know that you are worth it at the end of the day? It is time to get out of the land of I’ve always done it this way and I am not going to change for any person place or things.

Are you worth it? (Me) Tell me more Mr. or Mrs. Consumer? Have you had work in the past performed by other service providers? If so what was your experience? In a very whiney voice (from trade’s people) this sounds like a used car sales person. Who cares? I want to know why they are asking if I am worth it. Obviously they have had people in the past that were not worth it to them or people they have known. Throw “those” people to the competition. Someone must do their work why not you? Frequently this customer will become the person that gives your name out to everyone they know. And is your prime customer. You just need to answer their original question of tell me why I should use you.

Know this trade’s people, a customer will spend 6-7 thousand dollars over the life of the relationship with a service provider such as a plumber/HVAC professional. Learn how to hold a conversation with them before you think they should be thrown to the wayside. By the way, stop thinking and start knowing the facts.

Are you reasonable? (Me)Please tell me what is reasonable? Then I will listen to the customer until they are done talking. Then I can answer him or her if in fact it is a question. Are you reasonable is not and never has been a statement. It is a question. Treat it as a question and then answer it in a positive way. When you answer it positively you get positive reactions and responses. Answer it defensively or as if you were attacked and you will get a defensive response. I am not sure why work should be different then the way life is and how people interact.

Are you reasonable? How do you know that your price does not fit into their category of reasonable? You assume that you are too high and that places this customer out of your random thought of I only work for people who can afford me. If I heard this from a customer my thoughts are: that is exactly why you need me to finally make this a thing of the past for you. I am now your plumber and would you like to know why? Then I would list many items customers have told me why they have chosen me for this very job in the past.

I definitely would stay away from utilities are expensive, gas is expensive, vehicles are expensive, tools are expensive. Those are your problems stop passing them onto your customer as a problem. Too often we complain to the customer that the cost of doing business is tough. If it is that tough stop working for yourself and start working for someone else. Your cost of doing business is your fault not the fault of the customer.

Finally; change Are you reasonable to why you are reasonable. These are viable reasons why you are reasonable. My list would be: I started in plumbing in 1972 and have experience that will deliver you a permanent solution to any and all of your plumbing issues. Due to the experience no job is too large or small and will take very little time at all to complete. We will deliver on our promises to you and get to the cause of the issues that will allow you to get rid of the problem.

You will receive all information to make the right choice both for and against any product or service. This will give you the opportunity to make an informed decisions based on your budget, wants and lifestyle. By having this information you can choose any number of options that will enhance and make a difference in your experience with the product and service.

The customer service you will receive will give you a new experience to start expecting more from us and any other service provider that you call into your home. With information will come a new found ability to understand how your plumbing system works in your home and an understanding of why things happen and then how to prevent them from happening again in the future? By understanding these things you can prevent me from visiting you as often as other service providers have visited in the past. The information you receive from us is more information than any other service provider has given you in the past.

You have experienced our office staff and how personable they are with you and the ease of setting up a service call. There are ways to set up a service call in the future easier than you experienced. Being Tech savvy you can use our web site to schedule a service call or ask any question, you can sue our email, Facebook, Blog, or twitter account as well as old faithful the phone call. We also provide a 24/7 emergency service specifically set in mind for you and any service you may require after hours. Our focus is to have any service you require as easy as possible for you.

We must accept the consequences of our words

images of words
We must accept the consequences of our words

Have you ever experienced something that just pulled at you until you finally gave into it? This past week I have experienced just that thing. All week there has been something that has been pulling at me and screaming until I finally paid attention to the screams. Finally the deafening screams became loud and caught my awareness to put an action with the screams.

The original concept came to me when I heard a “you tube” video go viral on Victoria Osteen. She was explaining joy and you. I do believe her worlds got caught up in the frenzy. My interpretation of what she was expressing is God is joyful when we are joyful. God loves it when we are joyful; when you are joyful you can do amazing things. However it came out do it for you and not for God. Come to church for yourself and not God. My thought is if you go to church God is present and will find you. Any reason you go to church is fine with me as God should be present in a God based church.However some people are going off on her words and they should know better. I also know that we must take responsibility for our words. We must also be ready to accept the consequences of our words.

After I observed the video and then started to see the reaction towards Mrs. Osteen there was a natural obsession to want to know and learn more. I posted on Face Book and then I posted on LinkedIn. Amazingly on LinkedIn a poster told me I was not being professional for posting this on that site and that it could blow up and it did not belong on LinkedIn. It belonged on Facebook. As if LinkedIn is above reproach. There is far more drama and garbage on LinkedIn than a question asked about your thoughts on Victoria Osteen’s statement.

During the week a plumber asked a question concerning buyers’ remorse. Every plumber that responded with expectation of one and that 1 is me thought it was the customer that was off their rocker. More than 1 plumber has a belief that people are evil and conniving. Some of the plumbers believe that consumers plan this stuff out and are all about cheating the plumber. Not 1 of the other plumbers think it could have been what they had said or what they did not say that caused the buyer’s remorse. Anyone that has ever dealt with buyer’s remorse with customers will know that it is typically words that are spoken both verbally and non-verbally by the sales person/service provider.

Sunday the sermon spoke on how the tongue is powerful for such a small thing. It has the power to tear down, the power to start wars, the power to destroy reputations, the power to influence, start arguments, separate families, and hurt people emotionally. Amazing how words used can turn destructive without anyone knowing why or understanding words are the cause.

Every wonder why?

My beliefs are words are small, the tongue should not be taken so seriously but sadly it is. However it is not believed by people to be that powerful until it is researched and found to be the cause. I am amazed at how many people fear the spoken word from people. Many are afraid to speak out against other people’s words for fear of repercussions that can be hurled their way. These words can damage and destroy and most people do not want anything to do with the end result right or wrong. Words casn tear people down. It is extremely difficult to control a tongue given free reign.

The next thing that screamed at me to write something: faith with works. I can have silent faith and how will that witness to others that I have faith that works and performs those works? By letting it go and just sitting on the sidelines without getting in the game will not show my faith with works. Sitting on the sidelines, what does that project about me? How can I feel the way I do versus when I am in active and my works align with my words?

Your words have power. It can move people, motivate them to do things that they normally do not do. Your words can change minds. It may open a person’s mind to different possibilities. It may motivate some to think outside of their comfort zone and change direction. Words create your character. Words will back up your actions. Words can change the first impressions. Words can build people up.

Our words create followers that will become leaders of other people due to their words. I am positive that I do not want people to lead others that use their words to beat down and defeat another person. I want leaders that can say: the words spoken have meaning however the way it came out may not be the way that is exactly what is right and good. Give the benefit of the doubt when there is wiggle room for the benefit of doubt due to works in the past. At 58 years old I have experienced a few different decades that definitely showcased different ways to express behaviors that are were not acceptable behavior patterns. I used to say you are wrong and that would not hurt feelings but the way society babies people you must watch what you say and how you say it. He meaning of what you are saying is not caught but what you are doing and how it is done for some reason becomes the focal point versus what someone has done.

Words of Condemnation are harsh especially when it is over words having been: misspeak or a mistake. Become a builder instead of a destroyer. Explain and give the right information in order that a learning experience is now possible to lead to a better life and decision. Choose to change a life for better.

As easy as it is to have words change direction on a daily occurrence with any person at any time why is it so far off that this will happen during a sale with a consumer? As often as this happens I amazed that it does not happen more often in the service industry. Oh wait it does happen however most sales people will not recognize it as an occurrence and that qualifies customers as idiots. Imagine this you become a customer at some point and time and must be qualified as the same. It is time to start treating your customer as an intelligent honest trustworthy consumer that deserves your respect and start having a conversation and share information. It is time to start listening to the customer and hearing intent, content, and in the proper context.

It is time to open your mind and eyes and start to take notice that the majority of times that a sale does not go forward, buyer’s remorse, or any other excuse that we give for a consumer not to move forward. Is it possible that communication may be at the core of the resistance? Everything is ok until it’s not is a lyric from Michael Stanley and it is time to recognize that it is perhaps you that prevents the sale and the customer is waiting for you to tell them why you are correct.

Words are the cure. When you are searching for the truth, do not look inside yourself. Remember you are the one that is confused.power-of-words1


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