Always quote more than the bare minimum

SOME PEOPLE ARE afraid that recommending and quoting " add-on tasks" will either make the price seem too high or make you seem like you're just trying to sell something extra to make a buck. Others feel that, when people already spent money on repairs, they will be unwilling to spend any more. You sell add-ons based on the savings! Neither is true. The easiest time to sell people additional products

SOME PEOPLE ARE afraid that recommending and quoting " add-on tasks" will either make the price seem too high or make you seem like you're just trying to sell something extra to make a buck. Others feel that, when people already spent money on repairs, they will be unwilling to spend any more.

You sell add-ons
based on the
savings!

Neither is true. The easiest time to sell people additional products or services is while their wallet is still open. That's right after they bought something from you.

There are seven really cool things about finding additional tasks (" addon sales"):

1. Chances are, you'll sell more work on one job. For a service tech who's paid on what is commonly referred to as " billable efficiency," getting the add-on tasks is the only way to go beyond an hourly wage and get it up to the bonus level.

2. They make the primary repair seem "cheap." This is the answer to the age-old question, "How to you make $879 for a water heater sound cheap?" The answer: Come up with about $1,600 worth of legitimate recommendations! The best-case scenario is that they buy all of them. A worst-case scenario is that the customer says something like, "Sixteen hundred dollars? No way! Just replace the water heater!" They'll feel they got off cheap. You'll make the sale and keep the customer.

3. They give the customer something to say "no" to, as illustrated above, and still allow you to conduct business with them.

4. They differentiate your bid. (I hate that word; it's actually an acronym for "beat the idiot's deal.") When you don't break the price down between tasks, you make it difficult for the prospective customer to comparisonshop you with the bottom feeders and big boxes. This is especially effective in remodel jobs.

5. Quoting add-ons establishes you as someone who is more interested in doing what's in the customer's best interest than in shooting a low-ball price, because when you show options and additional products or services, you're further educating them by default.

6. Add-ons don't "cost extra money," they save people money. Normally, flat-rate price books have two prices or more. One price for non-service agreement customers ("standard rate"), another for service agreement customers ("value rate") and two more prices, which are the standard and value rate for add-on tasks.

The add-on rate for each task is lower than the same task done as a single task or separate trip. Since we save the cost of non-billable travel time by doing additional tasks while we're already on the job, we pass the savings on to the consumer. The add-on rate causes people with legitimate needs who are short on cash, or may even be downright cheap, to buy add-on tasks — because they save them money.

Here's where we get into the whole concept of making them feel that you're charging them the least amount of money possible and that you're doing everything in your power to give

them a good deal, a concept on which I place an important emphasis.

You'll find that when you explain to the customer that the more you do while you're there, the cheaper everything gets, they will at a bare minimum appreciate your taking the extra steps to try to save them money, even if they don't go for any add-ons.

You don't sell add-ons based on how much "extra" they cost. You sell addons based on the savings!

7. If you're allowed any flexibility in your pricing, you can also use the addon sale as a point of negotiation, which could result in an even larger sale.

I'm often asked, "What if they have no need for any add-on tasks?" Really? Doesn't just about everyone have a slow tub or shower drain that needs to be cleared and, consequently, need a little biological drain conditioner? How about their emergency stops and main water shut off?

Are you taking water pressure readingson every call? If you're replacing a fixture and they have high water pressure, shouldn't you show them the manufacturer's warranty, stating that excessive water pressure voids the warranty? Does that not make them a great candidate for a PRV to reduce the likelihood of additional problems and expenses with the rest of their fixtures?

How do their washing machine hoses look? Are your customers aware that 70% of all homeowner's insurance claims for flooding are due to burst washing machine hoses? Doesn't just about every house have at least one outside hydrant in need of attention?

Lastly, let's not forget about water purification. An under-sink reverse osmosis water purification system is cheaper than buying bottled water. It actually does provide clean water and provides you, the contractor, with a recurring source of revenue in future service.

Quote these products and services more often and you'll definitely sell more of them. If you never quote them, you'll never sell them.

If you don't tell your customers what you sell and what is available to them, they may end up buying some of your products and services from one of your competitors.

Charlie Greer is a plumbing service technician and the creator of " Tec Daddy's Service Technician Survival School on DVD." He can be reached online at www.plumbingprofitboosters.com or by calling 800/963-4822.