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
Are you Reasonable?
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.
Customer: why are you so unsure?
Customer; I can’t believe that your prices are like they are. How in the world can you be so different than anyone else? How in the world can you charge me to come out to give me an outrageous price? I had someone come out for free and their price is way less than you and I have contracted for them to come out. They were supposed to come out Monday. (it is now Wednesday and they still have not showed up) These other guys (this is how the customer described the other company) explained much better than your plumber explained.
Granted many plumbers have a very difficult time with descriptions that paint a rosy picture of ownership. Even less know and understand the ins and outs describing why a product and service is better than the competitions offer. Frequently it is the difference between presenting a product and service and recommending a product and service.
There is more than producing a price, picture, and saying pick one. There is more than giving 1 option. In this case the competition did not spend time on product and service due to knowing and understanding they cannot compete on product and service. Instead they decided to put the main attraction and focus on the plumbing company and the customer’s emotional being that was in search of cheap price at affordable rates. What they did was bad mouth the competition with lies and how high priced the company is. They cannot compete on quality, products, or service and the only way they can do is keep the badgering on price. These companies will always be the dirty, smelly, and never show up and difficult to find company’s and will try to satisfy on price that can never be matched.
How can you prevent this from going that far?
I am glad you asked that question. What are you willing to learn in order to prevent this from happening in your sales process? How much are you willing to invest in yourself in order to learn a different strategy and implement this new strategy?
I have met many plumbers and Hvac technicians that will try to debate the merits of doing something different when it is clear that the strategy they have employed is not working. They will argue until their last breath that there is no need to change what they are doing to try something different. It is working just fine. Then why are you complaining that this happened and happens a lot? Quit it. Accept that something is broken and fix the problem, quit dreaming that something will change. The miracle pill is to admit that you can change and try something different. What if you get the same results? Try something else that is different. Pretty simple solution.
So many people in the construction trades think there is a difference between a face to face conversations or through a phone conversation with a customer as in a landlord tenant situation. Truth be told whatever you feel it is. However it does not have to be that way. When you are comfortable it will not matter if it is face to face or via a phone conversation. You must do what you do in both situations. Your phone conversations should be exactly the same as your face to face conversations. I am not so sure why anyone would change what they do.
What can you do to prevent this from happening to you? The first thing you must decide is this service call is worth my time and effort and I will do the best that I can do to deliver my product and services to the customer.
Ask all kinds of questions of this customer especially if they are a first time customer. The more questions that are designed to give you information to give the customer the best possible choices. In this case the problems were : leaking disposal, water closets not flushing and bolts rusting which made the tank loose, lavatory drains all missing the stopper ,no volume and pressure in the shower head, and a smell at the kitchen sink due to a AAV not sealed by someone else and washing machine leak.
You can ask the same questions of each issue the customer is experiencing. Has this happened in the past? What did you do last time? Do you remember why you chose that decision? What are your expectations for today? Would you like to a have different result than you have today?
The reason you ask these questions is to discover where you and your customer sit. Are you both on the same page or will you have to give more information in order for the customer to make the best choices? I will take the time to explain the difference between my product and the products that are being offered by others. That difference is what separates me from the competition. This information must be understood and be clear and concise to the customer. If they have any doubts then I must be clearer and give them more information explained differently than before.
I must explain the benefits to the customer and then how that directly affects him or her. Whenever you tell a benefit add this “which means” then give information to the customer describing what the benefit means to him or her. The larger flapper on this water closet allows a greater volume of water for a better flush which means it creates more force to flush the bowl in a scouring motion. Which means it cleans the bowl due to the force and circular motion of the water being flushed through the water closet, which means more paper and waste can eb flushed at 1 time which means less stoppages occur inside the toilet which means a savings for you by not having to call me out so often which means you can spend more time and money on the super vacation you have talked to me about in the past. I could keep this going on for as long as the customer needs information.
Start giving your customer more formation than any other person or company. Remember you are the best person and company to take care of that particular customer. I know my competition cannot help my customer better than me. Getting work, product and service completed at cut rate pricing will never equate or be equal to getting it done better. This is what we must start to understand. There are always cheaper companies. Don’t be that company. Be the company that gives consumers over the top customer service and exceptional customer experience that they can never forget and will not want to forget. Become the exception and what the market is compared to as being the expert.
Stop having the customer state I can’t believe you were so high and start having them say I am glad I called you thank you so much for taking care of me. Give them a reason to want to say thank you for the great service and tell their friends and neighbors.