A lot of contracting “gurus” will tell you about how you need to do more marketing or sell more effectively to people when they call your office. They aren’t wrong; those are great opportunities to generate business.
However, if you want to quickly and easily generate more business, then you’ll love this: there’s a massively overlooked opportunity to create far more business. That overlooked opportunity is: the last few minutes as you’re leaving a customer’s home and getting ready to head out to the next job.
Here’s the scenario: You’ve finished working with a customer. The project is wrapped up. The customer pays you and you are getting ready to leave. The things you do in the next 15 minutes could turn into far more business if you do it right.
I call it the “7 S’s of Opportunity”—7 steps you need to take as you leave the customer’s home…
7 S’s of opportunity
#1. Scan your paperwork. Make sure you’ve checked every box on the checklist of things you need to do with the customer. This ensures you get more business by positioning yourself as a competent expert (instead of someone who has to come back to the customer because you forgot to make sure they put the right date on the check, or you forgot to get an important signature on a piece of paper).
#2. Say goodbye and ask for a referral. Let the customer know that if they are happy with your work, you welcome referrals. If you have a referral incentive program, share it with the customer and let them know that they receive a reward for any referral who becomes a customer. Then smile and shake the customer’s hand and leave.
#3. Scan your van. When you get into your truck or van, take a quick look to make sure everything is in place. Of course you already checked your work area, right? Well, check your van to make sure that you didn’t leave a screwdriver on your customer’s kitchen counter or that there isn’t a piece of equipment sitting on the back bumper of your van. Leaving this stuff behind makes you seem unprofessional and will also use up valuable time to go back and get it.
Get an automated survey company to call your customer and ask them to rate how satisfied they were with the service.
#4. Spread the word. With your customer’s permission, place a sign in their lawn to indicate they just had work done by your company. If you can’t place a sign or if the customer doesn’t want a sign, go to each neighbor’s mailbox and place a coupon with a quick letter saying: “Someone on your street received service from XYZ Company. Here’s a coupon if you’d like to receive service from us too!”
#5. Share your success. Take two minutes while sitting in the driver’s seat to record a video and upload it to YouTube and Facebook. For example, say something like, “We just finished an HVAC install at a customer’s house. I’m just leaving now to head to another project but I’m happy to report that the customer is happy and their air conditioner is running to keep their home cool all summer.” That way, you can celebrate your successes. (If the customer recorded a testimonial, upload it at this time too.)
#6. Survey. Get an automated survey company to call your customer and ask them to rate how satisfied they were with the service they received. (It’s better to survey your customer with an automated system instead of a person because people are more likely going to be honest with a computer; they’re more likely going to say they were satisfied to a human, even if they weren’t, because they want to avoid confrontation. But you want the most honest answer possible, so use an automated system.) If they aren’t totally satisfied (8 or better on a 10-point scale) then have one of your managers follow up.
#7. Sign a card. Sign a Thank You card and thank the customer for the privilege of working on their home. (Although it might seem faster to do it later, it’s a nice way to wrap up the paperwork and include it with the invoice so you can drop it at the office for the office team to mail to the customer with a package of cookies.
If you want more business, of course you should be marketing more and selling when you interact with the customer. But there are hidden moments of opportunity, like when you leave the customer’s home and are getting ready to hit the road to the next customer, when you can take it to the next level. These are “golden moments” that transform unprofitable time into significantly profitable time with these 7 quick, small actions that will help you get more business in the future.
Mike Agugliaro is a Business Warrior on a mission to change the lives and businesses of service business owners. Mike and his business partner started and grew a struggling home service company into a multi-million dollar empire before selling the company in 2017. Today Mike is an author, speaker, and mentor; and he’s the co-founder of CEO Warrior, a high level coaching and training organization for home service businesses. Learn more about Mike and CEO Warrior at www.CEOWARRIOR.com.