How to do a ‘pre-inspection’ by video chat

eternal debate slideIn SFS Training I call it the ‘The Eternal (and emotionally charged) Pricing-Over-the-Phone Debate’! I’ve even incorporated this ongoing feud into my Powerpoint slides!

Around half of my SFS students try to make a separate ‘pre-inspection’ on most (not all) first time prospects. Meanwhile, the other 50% of my class screams back, “We can’t afford to drive across Chicago for a 200.00 job… that we might not even get!”

GREAT NEWS! I’m here to make peace! Yep, thanks to the ‘tectonic shift’ of COVID-19 your customers view it as normal (and even desirable) to conduct business by video chat instead of face-to-face. Now you can easily meet with almost every first time prospect… without even leaving your office!

Properly implemented, this ‘Contact free’ pre-inspection concept can transform your business with a…

Step-by-step pre-inspection of your first-time customer’s home!

CLICK HERE for the Phone Format to transform a “How much do you charge for…?” caller into an interested prospect delighted to give you a tour of their home!

NOTE: Selling and profitably pricing most commercial accounts will still require an in-person ‘walk-through’ of the premises using your Commercial Carpet Analysis Form. And water losses obviously can’t be done over the phone!

tablet preinspectionAfter you’ve tactfully explained to your caller why you need to do a ‘video walk-through’ of their home 1) find out what video chat app your prospect uses and then 2) call them back using this app. (For example, all Apple phones have Facetime pre-loaded.)

HINT: Even savvy video chat people may need some coaching on how to ‘reverse their camera’ on their cell phone, etc. This will let you easily see the work (and potential problems) involved while still helping the customer feel good about you. (Which is the real reason for this whole ‘dog and pony show’!)

Start out your video pre-inspection by explaining the ‘tour process’… (Our video chat dialogue will be in italics.)

You: Mrs. Jones, as we go be sure to verbally tell me your family’s name for each space (for example, ‘living room’) as we step into it. Plus be sure to point out any special areas of concern with your camera. This way I can log them in to your tech’s work order. Then he’ll ask you to insect each area to make sure you are delighted with the results.

Client: That sounds great. But you may have to remind me in each room to tell you what we call it… (Both chuckle.)

You: No worries. I might need to ask you to open the drapes or turn on lighting to get a more accurate view of the work. And I may also ask you to get in closer and (with your permission) I sometimes might take a close-up screen shot so we can pre-orient your tech on what to load for your work and what to focus on. 

NOTE: This ‘asking permission’ both during the video pre-inspection and while doing the job helps give your customer the all-important SFS ‘Illusion of Control’!

Client: Sure. That makes sense.

You: Well, let’s get started. Please move your camera slowly across the floor of our first room and by the way, what do you call this area?

Client: This is our living room and I am concerned about this spot over here…

You: Hmmmmm…. Is there a window or two you could open so I can see the spot better? Hmmmm… do you know what the original spill was? Have you tried putting anything on it?

NOTE: This is where the famous SFS principle of ‘displaying an attitude of care and concern’ comes in. For example, you can ask the customer to wait for a second explaining, “Let me get all this into your job notes”. (This request also makes a great ‘assumptive close’ as in you NEVER say, IF we get the job”! Instead, it is ‘assumed’ your company WILL be doing the work!)

Other good Valid Business Questions (VBQ’s) questions to ask during your tour include:

  1. Do you know how old the carpet and/or fabric is?
  2. Have there been any pets on the carpet?
  3. Are you aware of any installation concerns such as rippled carpets, bad seams or loose stairs?

Be sure to obviously type in their answers to these questions. All of these VBQ’s above let you display your sincere attitude of care and concern!

WARNING: Especially with a ‘no contact’ video tour (versus an in-person meeting) it is better to focus on the upcoming work. Especially on valuable ‘portable’ belongings avoid gratuitous comments like, “Wow, that’s quite the gold coin collection you have framed on the wall there!”

Now that you’ve collected all the data along with their concerns on the work in their home it is time to present your pricing AND close the sale! Let’s talk about this real soon!

Meanwhile, you can get personal help 24-7 from thousands of cleaning and restoration contractors! Where? In our Strategies for Success: Growing Your Business Facebook Group. You don’t have to be a SFS Training graduate to join us so please sign up HERE!

Let’s ‘git ‘er done!



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