A prospective client contacts you for a quote. You show up to his or her house in a relatively clean truck, shake the individual’s hand, and discuss his or her needs before handing over a quote. Seems like you’ve done everything you can in this situation, right?
You might be surprised to learn that you’re leaving a lot of money on the table, and, if the prospective client is gathering quotes from several contractors, you might even risk losing the project to another contractor because you’re more forgettable than you realize.
THE SURPRISING REASON WHY
Many professionals strive to provide good service. They want clients to be satisfied with their interactions, so contracting professionals follow fairly standard protocols, similar to what other contractors are doing in order to provide good service and create satisfied clients.
The problem is, good service is forgettable because everyone is working at that level. Good service is not special; it’s the baseline that clients expect.
Instead, you need to be better than everyone else. You need to shock and wow your client.
You cannot over-serve. When you strive for ‘wow’ levels of service, you create clients who become immune to prices, which allows you to charge what you’re worth instead of undercutting to remain competitive in a multiple-bid situation. As a result, you win more clients because you simply stick out in their minds.
CREATE ‘WOW’ LEVELS OF SERVICE
Think about your process from the time prospective clients first contact you all the way through to when you leave the house after giving them a quote. What’s your process? Do you even have a process written down? Chances are, you follow a fairly standard sequence of steps, which you’ve never written down.
If you want to elevate your business in the minds of your prospective clients, start by creating what I call a “Framework for Service” — a step-by-step formula that helps you serve your clients at the highest levels.
Step 1: Write down your current steps — Think through the entire process, from the time the prospective client contacts you to you driving to their house, walking to their door, talking about the project, leaving them with the quote, and then driving away. Write it out in a step-by-step list like this:
1. Prospective client calls the office: We pick up the phone and give our standard greeting. Client tells us what they need. We schedule a time for one of our staff to visit and look at the job.
2. On the scheduled day: The work order is handed to one of our contractors who drives to the prospective client’s house.
3. At the client’s house: The contractor parks the truck, confirms the address and name on the work order, and then goes to the door and knocks… And so on.
Step 2: Get creative to serve at a higher level — For each step in your developing Framework for Service, identify ways you can serve customers, add value, and surprise them. The key is to do far more than anyone else in the industry is doing.
For example, consider some of the following (some of these are in my own Framework for Service):
• When the prospective client calls, ask if they have any pets you should be aware of, just to keep them from escaping from the yard if they are fenced in. Then, if they have a dog or cat, bring a small treat for the animal;
• On the way to the house, call the client and let him or her know you’re coming. Offer to stop by a coffee shop and pick up a coffee for them;
• At their house, bring in their garbage can if it’s empty at the curb;
• During the visit, ask plenty of respectful questions to find out the client’s needs and problems;
• Explain that you will outline a few options for the client and they can choose which one works for them; and
• After the visit, when the contractor is back at the office, record a quick video thanking them for their time. Share how excited you are to start working on their project.
Of course there are many other actions you can take, but these are some ideas to get you started.
Step 3: Detail the information in your Framework for Service — It’s important to build service into your Framework for Service, but it’s essential that you write it down. Once you do, you can perfect it and systematize it so it becomes automatic in your business. Once you create a service system, you can get all of your contractors serving your clients at a higher level, and that’s when the real magic happens.
When you visit clients, it can be tempting to strive for good service. But that’s the norm, not the exception, and you end up getting lost in the shuffle of multiple quotes. When you shock your clients with your higher-level Framework for Service, you’ll get more clients calling you, and you can charge more for your service.
Publication date: 6/13/2016