I love reports from “down in the trenches”. Larry and Elissa Holder own Regency Carpet and Floor Care down in Fayetteville, GA and are two of our sharpest SFS members. My thanks to Larry for sharing this educational story:
I’d like to remind my fellow SFS members about an often overlooked principle: “Always be courteous, thorough and as helpful as possible on the phone regardless of the ‘vibe’ that you get from the caller.”
Let me illustrate the importance of this “do unto others” principle. Last week I was working in the home of a client and was reflecting on how this extremely profitable relationship came to be. It all started a year and a half ago…
The office phone rang and I answered it. The caller immediately began inquiring about our pricing and processes. She said that she was calling for her boss, who had asked her to “call around and gather some information”. Assuming that this meant commercial work I asked, “Is this for a commercial facility or a residence?” She replied that it was for a residence and that she was the personal assistant for the home owner.
Since she was “calling around” I let my mind tell me that she was a “price shopper”. (My heart sank since our pricing is clearly NOT the lowest in our market area.) Even with my overall negative attitude with every piece of information that I gave her I tried to anticipate the next thing that she was going to ask.
During our phone conversation I repeated myself several times on the same points. My wife and partner Elissa is much more gifted on the phone than am I. So I found myself wishing that she had answered this call. However, I must have done OK since later that day the caller called back and booked the job! She told me that they had been looking for someone to use on an ongoing basis. If I could satisfy her boss I would be the guy that they would use.
The house was a very large, very upscale home right here in Fayetteville. From the outside it just looked like a nice home with nothing out of the ordinary. Once inside I noticed that there was an unbelievable amount of security. The master suite even had a thumbprint door lock on it. As I cleaned the home ( I was there all day) I found a weapon under every bed! Throughout the day I kept thinking that one of the women looked familiar. This first visit was a bit tense and awkward.
When I got home Elissa and I started doing some research and discovered that the home owner is a TV and movie star. I have seen her in several TV shows and movies, including a regular TV series. However, due to my privacy agreement I cannot reveal her name.
My subsequent trips to the home have been very relaxed and fun. I have now gotten to know the home owner and most of her household staff. They treat me like a visitor and not just a contractor. Now I go to the home, ring the bell, someone opens the door and I walk right in. They offer me coffee, snacks and several times I have been invited to “sit at the table” for a minute.
Once we got past all of the “newness” and got to know each other this “movie star home owner” has become very friendly and informal. Yesterday I went to clean and her staff had forgotten that I was coming and the homeowner was out of town. Fortunately, there was someone there to let me in, I did the job but I could not get paid.
The home owner herself called me on my cell to apologize for the lack of immediate payment. In fact, this movie star actually offered to personally bring a check to my house the next day. Of course I just told her to put it in the mail.
I have been cleaning this home every couple of months for the last year and a half! Even better- this famous film star has several movie colleagues that live in the Atlanta area. She hasn’t referred me yet but I have no doubt these new clients will be sent my way!
Remember- all this from a “price shopper call”! You never know who is on the phone. I know that it goes without saying, but patience and kindness are always in order even if you are in a hurry!
I love it, Larry! I can see your name in lights: Larry Holder: Carpet Cleaner to the Stars! Larry is right, folks. Assuming you are marketing yourself as an upscale, “prestige cleaner” then the vast majority of your “how much?” callers are NOT price shoppers. They just don’t know what else to ask about! I can’t promise you a movie star client but download our free SFS phone script for a great outline on how to “detour” the caller AND book the job!
NOTE: Remember that the Great Recession has made it “fashionable” to haggle a bit. So even when prospects ask you for a discount, better deal, etc. don’t automatically assume they are low-end price shopping clients. Instead, download my Special Report, Winning Over the “Price Shopper” (without losing your shirt!)
My thanks again to Larry for sharing and remember, we want to hear your “down in the trenches” experiences. Just email me at stoburen@StrategiesForSuccess.com and we’ll take it from there. (We always appreciate photos too.)
Our motto here at SFS.JonDon.com is “We’re all in this together” and so we are…