WANT AN HONEST way to make more sales and get fewer “turn-downs?”
Some service techs are trained to walk into the call, price book in hand, do a cursory diagnosis, whip out the price book, point to the price and try to close the deal. Then they wonder why they’re getting the “price objection.”
The quicker the price comes out, the quicker the price objection comes out. Don’t present the price until you’ve earned the right to their business!
When I first arrive on the scene, I leave all sales materials in the truck and only carry in a few light hand tools. I go to the problem that prompted the service call, check it out and, as soon as I’m certain that I have the ability to remedy the situation, I say, “OK, I can fix that. That won’t be a problem,” thereby putting the customer’s mind at ease as soon as possible.
Don’t bring up additional products or services until you’ve put their mind at ease regarding the immediate reason for their calling you.
I then say, “You know, Mrs. Customer, whenever I come out to someone’s house, I always do a quick, courtesy inspection of all their fixtures and drains, just to see if there are any little free adjustments I can do.”
As you can see, I’m using the magic word, “free,” early on in the call. At that point I do exactly what I said I’d do. These adjustments could include:
- Attempt to tighten loose toilet seats or loose toilet bowls;
- Clean, and possibly replace, aerators at no additional charge;
- Tighten loose packing on valves;
- Tighten handles on faucets;
- Tighten plastic drains; and
- Anything that I can do that I wouldn’t want to warranty anyway.
I flush all the toilets and lift the tank cover to see how its insides look. I run water in all the drains to see how they’re running.
Here are eight things that a courtesy inspection does for you:
- It builds value.
- You earn their business.
- It “obligates” them to you, especially if you find a few little free things to do for them right away.
- It provides time to establish your own personal credibility.
- It provides time to build rapport.
- You will sell yourself on the job, which is important. The selling process works from the inside out. People can see right through you, and when you’re sold on the necessity of the work yourself, they’ll see that as well.
- When you do a complete inspection, you suddenly change in the customer’s eyes from someone who’s trying to sell them something, to a true professional who’s looking out for their best interests.
- You’ll see more add-on tasks and, consequently, sell more add-on tasks.
If you’re concerned about efficiency, don’t try to make it up by cutting the inspection short. The more thorough the inspection, the more credibility and rapport you’ll have.
Another concern techs have is that they will be accused of breaking something that was either already broken or was due to break. I can see how that could happen if you look and act shady, like you’re grubbing around to get extra work or don’t make eye contact, but so far it has not been a problem for me. If I touch something and it crumbles in my hand, I’ll say, “Good thing that happened when I was here.”
Here’s a list of “Do’s and Don’ts” for the courtesy inspection:
- Be very matter-of-fact regarding the inspection.
- Ask the customer to accompany you.
- Ask for permission to move from room-to-room or open cabinets.
- Don’t humbly beg for permission to do the inspection. This is a courtesy on your part, it’s free and there should be some appreciation on the part of the customer.
- Don’t go into detail on what you’re going to do or look for, or they’ll tell you they don’t need it.
- Don’t ask them if they’ve got any other problems they want you to look at. Most of the time, they’ll say “no,” despite having an average of three other things that require attention.
- Don’t talk too much.
- Don’t talk to their plumbing, your tools or yourself.
- Don’t force your opinions on the customer. Instead, when you see something wrong, ask, “Are you happy with the way this operates?”
- Don’t appear anxious to find problems and glad when you do.
- Don’t bring up “code violations” that have been there for years, haven’t hurt a thing and pose no danger. There’s nothing wrong with bringing up code violations; in fact, there’s everything right about it. People buy benefits; so bring up the benefits of fixing the code violation.
- Don’t take all day about it, but don’t worry about time either. The entire inspection on a two-bath home should take about 10 minutes. If it takes longer, it’s because you’ve discovered something that really needs attention. This is where you establish credibility and rapport.
- Don’t quote prices as you go along or even bring up the topic of money.
Occasionally it can be a challenge to gain permission to do the courtesy inspection or the customer will want you to stop your courtesy inspection before completing it. I believe that’s caused by one or more of the following:
- They didn’t see the value in the inspection.
- You gave too many mini-sales pitches as you were going along.
- You were intrusive.
- The customer had something to hide, such as a mess.
Charlie Greer is a plumbing technician and the creator of Tec Daddy’s Service Technician Survival School on DVD. He can be reached through www.plumbingprofitboosters.com or call 800/963-4822.