Editors Blog


Let's Profit From People's Pain

December 4, 2008
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©iStockphoto.com/Renee Lee


Now that Thanksgiving is over, we have a few weeks before the Christmas spirit peaks and we have to be nice to people. Now is the perfect time to take advantage of people and make some easy money for your company.

Here’s how to do it:

“The secret to closing sales is to identify a person’s pain and offer a solution,” the sales guru said during the only sales course I ever took.

According to this guru, once you get people to admit their area of pain, their defenses crumble. Your goal is to keep them talking, opening up and sharing their pain. Before long, you’ve got a new sucker-er, I mean, client.

OK, I am being facetious.

In defense of the sales guru, the pain he referenced was supposedly along the lines of lousy phone service, slow computers or overpriced office supplies. But it could just as easily be roofing, plumbing, HVAC, flooring, granite, water delivery, cleaning, excavation, or any architectural, engineering or maintenance services.

When the sales guru said we should identify a person’s pain in order to sell them a product, I felt conflicted. It felt wrong. But upon reflection, this is nothing more than helping a person get to the point of telling you specifically what he or she needs and offering your services to meet those needs.

The A/E/C and maintenance industries do this every day. You provide services that reduce the work pain that a person or company is enduring. And you do it extremely well.

But what about closing a sale based on someone’s personal pain, such as the destruction of his or her home via fire, flood or storm? These are perilous times. Many people are unemployed, uninsured or out of savings.

Is it OK to profit from their pain? If not, why not?

Shouldn’t construction pros seek this disaster-related work, maybe even specialize in it? With construction suffering, such disaster work might just save your company.

This topic came to mind as the California wildfires raged, displacing thousands, destroying nearly 1,000 residences, and severely damaging hundreds more homes. These fires are both personal disaster and business opportunity rolled into one.

Add to fires the litany of similar disasters like hurricanes, floods, tornados, sewage backups and water intrusion/mold and you have the makings of a full-time business.

I don’t know anyone who specializes in disaster reconstruction. But clearly this type of work provides the opportunity to help people in their time of need. Rather than the greedy charlatans I described in the opener of this blog, I suspect these specialists often become heroes to those they serve.

I work for BNP Media, which recently launched a magazine called Restoration & Remediation for construction pros specializing in such work. Did we discover an under-served market, or are we blood-sucking opportunists? I’m trusting it’s not the latter.

If you’d like more information on the disaster services field, go to www.randrmagonline.com. You should also visit www.ndrexpo.com, a conference and trade show designed for the disaster repair, reconstruction, remediation and restoration fields, scheduled for June 16-17 in New Orleans.
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R&R

Rick D
December 5, 2008
One of my several duties is managing a little under a million square feet of distribution center & office space. I have "been there and done that" with several restoration projects. The guys who perform this work, at least the ones we use, are real pros and they get paid very well. They fill a very unique niche and there are more than a few nuances to doing this kind of work (well) that many contractors will not get right out of the box. Guess I am agreeing that it is a good thing you are offering contractors a venue to meet R&R suppliers and other contractors for some good education. As a facilitiers manager I went ahead and signed up for the publication and newsletter. I am not anxious to launch an R&R project (they usually follow floods or fire or worse for me), but it is good to be prepared. I want my contractor to be prepared as well, so sending him a link to this.

feeling the pain

rich
December 14, 2008
Feeling the pain I comprehend what you are explaining. First, let me say that clients do need to know the consequence of not moving forward on your proposal. Bring the pain to the client's attention however do not make this pain the focus of the presentation. I recently attended a presentation of the sales process where the client's pain became the answer to all objections or concerns. The person attempting to close the client never answered the concerns. The answer was always do you want to wait for that to happen or take care of it now. They painted a picture of horrible catastrophe that may happen if they did not take action now. Using the pain as the major reason why they must take action today. Your price is too high; this could flood your home destroying your new wood floor and cause you major problems trying to collect from the insurance company. Do you want to wait until that happens or take care of it now? Using fear is never a good way to communicate to your clients. It is a one-time ownership exchange. This is not aggressive sales this is called fear-based sales. Using the pain and turning it into a fear to force the client to take action. Again, I have never said you do not let the client have knowledge of the consequences of not taking action. It never is what is said but how it is said. Mr. Prospect do you understand the consequences of you not taking action today? Is there a reason you are not moving forward to my proposal today? Find out the reason then answer that reason. Price is too high, find out why the price is too high. If they must speak to their spouse, find out why they must speak to their spouse. Fear-based sales techniques become an easy way to get technicians out the door and into a truck. This allows the company to make profits quickly, greed of the company. However, it does not ask your technician to learn techniques that are a wonderful experience for your client base. It does not ask the technician to put forward more effort to become a better person, employee, and friend. It does not ask the owner or manager to put more effort into learning and teaching techniques to answer objections or concerns. I understand your piece involves companies who wish to start or are in the field of restoration. However, it is my concern of the use of the term making sure the client feels their pain. Making the client understand their pain is a totally different way of expressing your concerns for the client. Our goal, give the client a pleasurable owning experience.

Before and after the flood ...

Robert Beverly
December 14, 2008
Funny you should mention this. We just ran our first-ever feature on how to avoid and, if need be, recover from water damage to your boiler-related equipment. The author's firm does appear to do a fair amount of disaster-related work. It was on my mind following the floods in the Midwest earlier this year. Here's the link ("Before And After The Flood" by John Puskar). http://www.esmagazine.com/Articles/Feature_Article/BNP_GUID_9-5-2006_A_10000000000000478690

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