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If you are standing in front of a customer with a leaking 18 yr old water heater and don't close the deal right then and there something is wrong. You either didn't make them feel comfortable with your service or your price was way off the mark. Now most likey they have no idea what water heaters costs are these days or they are comparing it to what they paid to have that one installed 18 years ago. Hell, you could have said I'll do it for $50 bucks and still would have gotten the brother in law story. When discussing money with customers look them straight in the eye. Equal eye contact with everyone in the room no matter who is asking all the questions. Sometimes you just can't make a sale no matter how bad off they are. Some people think they can beat any price. Explain the value of your service. If anything goes wrong with it you will be there to take care of it. The BIL may not be.
I had one of those a couple of weeks ago. I spent time with the guy before giving him the price. In many cases, I would have gotten the job. But in this case, he regaled me with stories of how he had plumbed his own house years ago and done the electric and so on. By the time I gave him the price, I was pretty sure that if it wasn't cheap enough to suit him, he would simply do it himself. If it was dirt cheap, he'd take advantage.
You have to go into the job realizing that you don't have it yet, and if you get it, good. But if you don't, you're no worse off than when you started.
I closed a faucet repair deal on Friday with the line, "I know what it takes to run my business." Of course, your mileage may vary.
Many people buy a house, live in it, and sell it without ever hiring a plumber. When they finally do, they have a picture in their head of how it's going to go. But when they're staggered by the price, it's hard to overcome it. At that point, if you're the first plumber, you can expect them to check around. For those who have been hiring plumbers more regularly and more recently, you have a lot better chance.
As to books, well, you can waste a lot of time. You can read a book that really isn't geared to you and learn next to nothing that is useful. But there were a couple of books that I read that did help a bit.
The other book, though not about selling, is Michael Gerber's "The E-Myth Revisited," and should be a must reading for anyone who wants to be in business. I understand there's a contractor's version out now.
One rule that I like is to never quote a price over the phone, site unseen. If you quote a water heater price without even seeing the job, you have no idea what you're getting yourself into. For all you know, it may be a countertop model or a low-boy that's too large to get through the crawlspace hole in the closet. Or it could be a power vent. You can't expect your customer to know what they're talking about. Nor can you trust someone on the phone who's looking for the lowest price to tell you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
And if you tell the customer over the phone that you have to actually look at the job so that you can do it correctly and that you charge to come and look, you'll immediately eliminate the looky-loos who are calling as many plumbers as will answer their phone looking for the lowest price. Let your competition have them. What's more frustrating than winding up at the job only to find three other plumber trucks already there?
I used to have similar problems as you Tyman. I would be great at fixing plumbing, but I would be lost when talking business ($$$). I read books, went to classes, etc, etc, etc.
After all the reading, and all the sales tactics I have tried, at the end of the day the two secrets of sales for me are these:
2)having no fear of rejection.
1) Communication is simple: be honest, ask questions, listen, provide solutions. Talk friendly, get on their good side.
2) The second part is much more difficult. Stop fearing rejection.
I used to joke at my old company that my best sales technique consisted in assuming I would get thrown out of the house and yelled at!
It makes no sense at first, but what happens is that it forces you to stop worrying about rejection. I have been rejected by customers many times, and it still happens. I don't even care any more, YOU CAN'T BE ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE. I provide quality service for people who appreciate it, but the truth is: not all people do! I have my niche of customers and I am growing it, but some people are just not my niche! Thats it, move on, no big deal!
I still get upset sometimes when someone tells me they don't want to do the job like the water heater story you told, but overall I just don't care, because those people (whiny price-shoppers and nit-pickers) are not my customer niche.
.... at the end of the day the two secrets of sales for me are these:
2)having no fear of rejection.
Dude...you my lost twin brother er sumthin'? I mentioned the word "nonchalant" on another post today regarding stating a price...that falls right in with your "fear of rejection" category...state the price, clearly and confidently...don't let them think you're worried.
Originally posted by Tyman
The best I can figure is she was a price shopper. She pretty much knew it needed replaced and was probably shopping. I gave her Duck Butter's phone number.
Ty...STOP sending me your fricken reject customers..gggrrrr.
Seriously though...get used to it...you are experiencing the EXACT reason I get so @#%#$ disgruntled over DIY freebie online advice seekers. I envision the J-ck-ss that told me I should do his water heater for $400 becaus he saw it on sale at Lowes for $350 going online and getting the "advice" he wants from some good guy who's willing to freely offer his blood sweat and tears to impress his peers. I get price chiselled daily on the phone...in fact, I feel like my job title has become "professional price chiseling disuader".
By the way, I love that pissed off Boston. Used to have one.
I'm frequently pissed off...and FROM Boston...that count?
On this note, I suggest a read for anyone who has to deal with customers, Ty & Service guy...a book by a fella "Dale Carnegie", the title of the book is misleading...sounds like a "get rich quick" type book, but it's not...by any far stretch.
The name of the book is "How to win friends and influence people".
There is no self promotional self designed terminology, like Tony Robbins or Zig Ziggler...or any other late night infomercial guru's that prey on the desperate & broke folks unable to sleep at 4am...this book is simple, common sense and down to earth. (and short) You don't have to prescribe to any fanatic notions or rediculous psychological ideals. It was so easy to relate to that I was smirking as I read it...so many things were so easy to relate to that I couldn't help but chuckle as I read and realized I could change to get better results from customers.
It was written in 1939 (if I recall correctly)...since has been added to college curriculum, corporate training, and even police departments used the idea's to help officers to deal with tough arrests and public relations.
If you are in sales weather its plumbing or used cars, I urge you to read Zig Ziglar's book See You At The Top. If you do hae that fear of rejection it will definitely get you over it. It help you set goals and gives you all that you need to succeed in life.