I’m currently planning my trip to the town made famous by the Rat Pack. That’s right — I’m going to Las Vegas for the Service World Expo… and you should go, too. 

Anyway, more about that later.

In its heyday, the Rat Pack’s world seemed like it was all black and white images displayed on grainy televisions with details blurred by so much cigarette smoke it actually emanated from the screen.

The Rat Pack consisted of real men, real drinkers, and real womanizers who drove outlandish cars and were handsomely paid. Not a bad gig if you can get it.

Las Vegas had a rather seedy nature then. It wasn’t just the gambling, the we-never-close aspect, or the organized crime connection. (Please note: This has never been proven, and I didn’t say it first. I’m sure there’s no proof, and basically, I don’t know anything about anything.)

Yet, Las Vegas has somehow transformed from the darkness. Not only does it have enough light bulbs to be seen from Neptune, it has made a significant effort to clean up its image. The older gambling-themed casinos that had flaunted their risky glitziness have been elegantly imploded and replaced.

Since they must’ve wagered and lost on coming up with anything uniquely American, they decided to purchase blocks of European towns and put them on the Strip. No need to reinvent the roulette wheel — just rebuild Paris, Venice, and any other cities we like and use them again.

If Europe had stolen Denver, someone would be sued.

But, all in all, the transformation is exceptional. Nice restaurants, beautiful street scenes, incredible shows (I mean real shows, not merely Transvestites on Ice or whatever they used to feature here). And, get this, actual families. Yes, the smiling happy ones that come already in the picture frames at Kohl’s. Those people.

It ain’t Disney World, but it’s a long way from its seedy past. So, if a town that deep in a murky image with a rather unshakably shaky side can rebuild its image, what’s stopping the rest of us? And by “us,” I mean contractors. Before you reel back at the characterization, there is very positive news about a negative image: “Anything you can do is likely an improvement.” For example:

• Actually focusing on image improvement of any caliber is likely to stand out like the only rose in a sea of thorns; and

• Once you take the higher road of image, it is very difficult for a customer to go back. This service elevation model has been practiced since retail began, yet sadly — or empoweringly, your choice — contractor image has changed at a glacial pace.

That last sentence means that when your service image is upped, it offers you a competitive advantage customers are unlikely to leave. This is good news for the customer-retention, referral, and long-term loyalty world.


Ask any female what grosses her out, makes her mad, or caused her to “quit and never call back,” and she’ll likely answer “a contractor.” Once you have 4,000 pages of information (from your first respondent), you’ll have enough information to transform your service department. And I’m not kidding. Most practically applied service image enhancers include:

1. Customer Service Rep. — He/she is the first line of contact. Nowhere is an image more likely built or replaced than right here. A dollar spent on customer service rep. (CSR) training will likely pay you five back. I’d take that return any day. Professionals also refine the appointment by phone, email, or text. Amateurs? They just send somebody whenever they can. They may or may not call.

2. Vehicle Presentation — Yes, I just said that. My wife scans whoever is pulling up and if the vehicle looks like an escapee from Cash for Clunkers, the relationship starts off in arrears. Cleanliness counts.

3. Technician Presentation — True story: My very elegant former (and then expectant) neighbor, who is an in-demand interior designer, was renovating her home. She got a referral for an electrician who was “as good as the high-end electrical contractor in town,” but about half the price. She thought she’d made a discovery. He showed up wearing an Alice in Chains T-shirt, holey jeans, with a cigarette hanging from his month. He never made it inside to see the $30,000 job he didn’t get. Or all her well-heeled friends’ systems. Sorry folks, looks matter. They either befit a professional or they don’t.

4. Job Presentation — Real paperwork with decipherable forms instead of the Office Depot version makes a difference. Forms must include your company logo with clear copies for customers and a link to their proposal online, which can only make your life and image better.

5. Follow Up — This is the real failing. So much effort goes into the lead, appointment, presentation, and, finally, the sale, but very little for real customer retention efforts. At minimum, consider a thank-you note for every call and a twice-a-year newsletter. And from there, it becomes customer-only offers, sales, two holiday cards, and a follow-up happy call or survey. To help you, a positive review accumulator for a strong online rating on Google pages boosts business and referrals.

Doing the little things matters. It’s easier than rebuilding a town. Make these part of your culture and the payoff will be strong.

One last thing before I go…

In case you haven’t heard about the Service World Expo mentioned earlier (sponsored by The NEWS), it is the first trade show of its kind. Sixteen incredible, world-class speakers and trainers will offer attendees the exact methods to get their businesses booming. I’m super honored to even be speaking at all. If you do decide to join us for the greatest trade show yet, I’m speaking on the main stage Oct. 26. I’ve crafted an exclusive “Maximum Velocity Marketing” plan for you that will delve even deeper into this topic that offers the fastest way to generate leads. I’ll also identify the surprise media that is crushing response rates now. It’s going to be incredible, and you don’t want to miss it. Register now by visiting www.serviceworldexpo.com or calling 1-844-742-3970. Spots are going fast. Register today!

Publication date: 8/29/2016

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