Welcome to Part 2 of our two-part series, How To Win The Plumbing Sales Game: How to Score on Every Call. Here Richard shares three ways to close 98% of your service calls without using manipulative sales tactics and tricks.
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3 Golden Nuggets
- Always provide options
- Offer a credible discount
- Play the Name-Your-Price game
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Always provide options
We live in an options world. When you go to Walmart to buy a TV, there are lots to choose from. And not only is our world full of options, but it often follows the Good-Better-Best model (car wash services, credit cards, even McDonald’s).
Give your customers a Good, Better, or Best option. If you go to Mrs. Jones’ house to fix her leaking toilet and you discover the flapper is the problem, then the Good option will be exactly that: fix the flapper. Starting with the minimum will gain her trust. Your Better option might then be an upgraded repair of that toilet, or a minor toilet rebuild (a new flapper and fill valve.) Then, your Best option would be a new toilet.
Only offer three options—not two, and not five—and talk about the pros and cons of each. But be sure to stay within the lane, meaning, keep the options relevant to what the initial problem was. If she has a leaking toilet, don’t add the option of replacing her water heater, too. Going outside the lane can make Mrs. Jones feel manipulated, and you’ll lose her trust. It’s like if McDonald’s also sold pizza. If someone wanted pizza, they’d go to a pizza place.
Giving Mrs. Jones options gives her something to say no to—and she wants to say no! It gives her a sense of control. Options also give her price perspective. If Mrs. Jones goes shopping and the price tag has an original price of $100, but that’s crossed out and it now says $60, it helps Mrs. Jones feel better about the $60. You better believe the store left that old price on there on purpose; they know what they’re doing!
Offer a credible discount
Let’s talk about the inevitable pushback: it’s going to happen. Position your techs to expect pushback! If you don’t, it’s like sending them into a boxing ring without telling them they’re going to get hit.
So here’s how it often goes: the tech gives pricing options, and Mrs. Jones pushes back. Now’s the time to offer a credible discount. Credible is the key word. Don’t say, “Well, I can take $20 off that,” because if she can tell you’ve just pulled that number from thin air, again, you’ve lost her trust.
The best reasons for a discount? Mrs. Jones is either a repeat customer or a new customer. “Oh, I see you’re a new customer, so I can give you 10% off”, or “Oh, I see you’re a repeat customer, so I can give you 10% off.” It has to make sense to the customer why you’re taking money off. And only do one discount! If you do more than one, you’re losing price integrity.
Keep in mind: your invoices must show full price, then the discount underneath. If it’s not clear the price has been discounted, then it hasn’t happened (in the customer’s mind).
Business owners: get to a place where you’re happy with customers having 10% off on every call, because if you’ve done your pricing right, you’ve built the price reduction into the costs. You’re not giving money away. This is the best way to deal with customers psychologically—because everyone likes to be given a little something.
Play the Name-Your-Price game
Customers are good with coming up with excuses for why they can’t commit to going through with the job or spending the money. I have to wash my cat, I need to prep for my space flight this afternoon, or the most popular one we see: I need to talk to my spouse first. If the credible discount doesn’t work, we’re going to play the Name-Your-Price game.
Rehearse this line with your techs: “What’s in your budget to get it taken care of today?”
This can feel like a risky game to play, and it can also get a little confrontational, because Mrs. Jones might respond, “I didn’t think it would be any more than $100.”
But what if it’s a $1000 job?
Your techs might be tempted to blurt out, “You crazy, lady?” but then they’re going to play Good Cop/Bad Cop—right in front of Mrs. Jones. The tech, who is now Mrs. Jones’ advocate will say, “I’m not in a position to make that decision, but we love taking care of (new customers/ repeat customers/ seniors/whatever the reason was for her discount), so let me call the office.”
Those in the office: figure out your “drop dead price” for that task: what would cover all of your time? If Mrs. Jones said $100, maybe your drop dead price is $498. Give her that price and say, “I can do it for that, because I have an open slot now.” You’d much rather sell your base time on that call right now. It’s like LastMinute.com—they give discounts on hotel rooms because there’s availability. So should you!
Even if a furious Mr. Jones (who claims he can get it much cheaper at Lowe’s) gets involved in the conversation, most times he’ll see that you’re giving him a deal. Getting the problem taken care of now, at that price, is a win-win for everyone.
Richard’s Call to Action
If you want to learn more about numbers that matter and how to best run your plumbing business, why not schedule a free 30-min strategy call with us? Let’s talk about your goals and where you want to be this time next year, and we’ll help you create a path to make that happen. Schedule your free strategy call here today!