The best case scenario for Contractors is to work with a customer, close them on a job, deliver that job and get paid, and then have them call you back for more work in the future.
Unfortunately, the best case scenario doesn’t always happen, does it? Sometimes customers can’t be closed; sometimes customers are closed but resist paying; and sometimes customers even pay but complain about it.
So, how can you as a Contractor create happier customers while also selling more and serving your customers at the highest level? Here are seven strategies that you can use while sitting with your customer face-to-face to help.
#1. Stop Calling It An Estimate
It’s standard industry practice to show up at a customer’s house and give them an estimate, right? But the very word “estimate” sets up expectations in the customer’s mind that the price is vague, negotiable, open to interpretation, and not definite.
Start on a stronger foot by calling it a “Consultation.” That’s a completely different frame of mind for the customer and for you. A consultation holds more credibility and less room for negotiation than an estimate.
#2. Be the Expert
This builds on the above concept of a consultation (instead of an estimate). It’s the approach you should take when you review the potential job and then sit down with the customer to discuss what to do. Don’t do what every other Contractor does and approach the conversation like the customer knows best. They don’t! You are the expert; step up and BE the expert!
Think of the last time you went to a doctor. A doctor didn’t ask you what you thought. The doctor is an expert and he or she reviewed your health and then gave you a recommendation. Experts recommend. You should recommend a course of action for your customer.
#3. Give Your Customer Options
Even though you are recommending a course of action, it doesn’t mean that you are being pushing or telling the customer they only have one option. The customer will value it if you give your expert’s recommendation with two-to-four options.
Start with, “Here’s what I recommend,” and then outline a few options that the customer may choose from. They may vary in price or timeline or approach. Explain each option to the customer clearly, and why you (the expert) are recommending it.
#4. Reinforce Value
Value is what the customer gets from the options. There’s a famous saying that goes: “people don’t buy a drill… they buy the holes that a drill can make.” The holes are a value of a drill. In your options, don’t just emphasize the features of the products or services, explain why they’ll provide value to the customers.
Explain the beneficial value of choice to the customer. After all, a customer won’t be able to make a decision between two types of highly technical options but they will be able to make a decision between the choices that are explained in terms of beneficial values they understand.
#5. Help the Customer Make a Decision
There’s another saying that goes, “A confused mind says ‘no.’” Your job as the expert Contractor who gives recommendations and options is to make sure there is absolute clarity on all the options. That way, the customer is not confused by any of them.
But decision-making goes beyond that. A customer is weighing a number of factors—from the beneficial value to the price to the timeline to other benefits they get. Your job as an expert is to make recommendations and give options AND allow the customer to make their own decisions but to also help the customer make a decision. Ask the customer what is important to them, and why, and who them how to weigh the costs versus rewards of each choice.
#6. Price Drop Carefully
Some customers will agree to your price without question but Contractors get the most frustrated by customers who say, “Can you give a better price than that?” Problem is, Contractors should NOT just drop the price when asked because it incorrectly positions your services as being too-high-priced before.
Instead, have some options up your sleeve that you can trade with the customer. Never just price drop without asking for something in return. It might be a social media review or the referral of a friend or family member, or even the added purchase of another product or service (i.e., “Well if you buy 3 of these then you get an additional 10% discount”).
#7. Add Surprise Value
During the decision-making process, and during the job itself, continually surprise the customer with added value. Maybe it includes bringing coffee and donuts to the job, or maybe you wrote a book that you leave with the customer.
Whatever it is, deliver multiple value items (a thing or an extra service) now and then to show the customer that you go the extra mile. When you’re up against another Contractor for a future job, the customer will remember all the extras they got from you and that will tip the scales in your favor.
Ideally, you go to a customer’s home and give them a price on a job… and then you get the job, do the work, get paid, and get a happy customer. But many Contractors learn from experience that it could go wrong each step of the way—from losing jobs to chargebacks to unhappy customers (even though you delivered what they wanted).
The best way to sell more, serve more, AND end up with happy customers is to deploy these seven strategies in your interactions with customers. You’ll find that you close more jobs (and higher paying jobs) and end up with happier customers. That’s the best case scenario and it can happen more often in your business!
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.