Your car’s engine sputters and dies while you’re driving and you’re able to coast into the first garage that you see. The mechanic looks under the hood then asks, “What seems to be the problem?” And then, “What would you like me to fix?”
Well, unless you yourself are a mechanic, you don’t really know what the problem is so you can’t answer the mechanic’s first question. The car isn’t working! That’s the problem. And since you don’t know what the problem is, you don’t know what needs to be fixed, so you can’t really answer the mechanic’s second question either.
If a mechanic asked you these questions you’d question his or her ability to repair your car and you’d wonder if there was a mechanic who could quickly and accurately diagnose the problem and help get you on your way sooner.
There’s a problem with today’s
approach to customers
There’s a movement today among business owners that they need to serve their customers by asking questions and fact-finding. Although those are important factors in serving and selling, too many contractors misunderstand what it means and they end up letting the customer take control of the entire relationship.
· The customer directs what will be bought, when, and how much they want to pay
· The customer directs the line of questioning by answering questions about what they think the problem is
· The customer makes the decisions about what they need to solve the problem
People think that’s what the customer wants — to be in control. And whole books are written around the customer being in control, and the customer is always right, and the customer is the boss.
But that’s simply not true. Customers don’t want to be in control. What they want is an expert to be in control, and for that expert to empower them to make better decisions.
There’s a massive difference in that approach compared to what most contractors are doing.
Most contractors are showing up at a customer’s house and letting the customer take charge of the interaction.
But what should happen is: the contractor shows up at the customer’s house, and they’re the expert, and they take charge of the interaction and walk the customer (ethically) through the decision-making process.
Customers don’t want to be in control. What they want is an expert to be in control, and for that expert to empower them to make better decisions.
Customers don’t really know what they need. I mean, they have a general idea of what is wrong and how they think it needs to be fixed (and that’s what led them to call you in the first place) but they don’t really know in detail.
That’s where you come in. You should show up to their house as the expert with the answers and a command of the situation, full of confidence in your solutions and the tools to get the job done. Don’t be cocky, and always be ethical, but the bottom line is: you need to show up as the expert.
Qualities of an expert
that customers want
Knowledge. Customers are looking for a contractor with knowledge. Your ability to understand the situation because you know exactly what’s going on will give you credibility in the customer’s eyes. However, don’t try to wow the customer with words they don’t understand. Instead, use your specialized knowledge but interpret it in a way that shows the customer you know what’s going on but you can make it understandable to them.
Experience. Customers don’t just want a contractor with theoretical knowledge about their problem. They want someone who has experience fixing exactly this problem in the past. So, tell customers that. Use words like, “Oh, yes, I’ve solved this before for more than a dozen customers this month,” or “I’ve worked on several houses in this neighborhood with exactly the same problem.” Customers love that.
In Control. Customers want someone who will take charge of the problem and lead them through to the solution. This doesn’t mean you bulldoze them at every decision-point; rather it means that you show you have a full command of the situation and are ready to jump into a solution for them as soon as they make the decision to hire you.
Confidence. Customers are looking for a contractor who has confidence. They don’t want a contractor who isn’t confident because customers will wonder if an unconfident contractor knows what needs to be done. Your confidence doesn’t have to be cocky. It just has to show that you feel that you can solve the problem.
Assurance. Customers want assurance that the problem can be solved. Many contractors don’t assure the customer that the problem can be solved so customers are left wondering if they have hired the wrong person, or wondering about guarantees and warranties because they aren’t confident that the contractor can provide a solution. So, assure your customers that you have a solution that fits their needs.
Customers come to you because they have a problem. But too many contractors put control of the solution back in the hands of the customer. The customer will need to make the final decision about whether or not to hire you but you will get more customers hiring you if you show up as the expert and take charge of the problem and solution, then expertly help the customer make the best decision for them.
Mike Agugliaro, is the “Business Warrior” and founder of CEO Warrior, a business consulting and mentoring firm, providing tested and proven methods to defeat the roadblocks that prevent small to mid-sized businesses from achieving their ultimate success. He has played a key role in building Gold Medal Services’ success, as co-owner of the company. For more information about CEO Warrior, visit www.CEOWARRIOR.com.