This is a true story. My wife and I (Doug) had a down-sized home built in a small adult/retirement community in the town where our kids and grandkids live about a year and a half ago. We like it, but if you’ve ever dealt with a builder you know the term “builder’s grade.” That’s code for cheap and only including the basics. We soon discovered from the water pouring off our roof onto the patio, making ruts and killing the grass around the screen porch as it soaks our patio furniture, that gutters aren’t a “builder’s grade” item.
After a bit of research, I called a company to get some information and an estimate on having gutters installed. I reached the voicemail of a fellow named Elton and left him a message, and my call was returned in just a few minutes. He professionally explained that he would need to stop by and measure the linear footage of gutter required, along with the number of corners and downspouts. He assured it wouldn’t take but about 10 minutes and there would be no charge or obligation for the assessment and estimate. I liked what I heard from him and gave him the address and set an appointment time for the next morning. I asked if he needed directions, and he quickly said, “No sir”, the girl in my phone will know exactly how to get to your house.”
Elton was on time and very polite and competent. His gray hair and wrinkles told me he was probably in his 50’s, and this wasn’t his first rodeo. I liked that too. Just like he said and without a sales pitch or bloviating, ten minutes later he handed me the estimate, which frankly was a couple hundred dollars less than I expected. All he said was, “if you want us to do this, it will be two weeks before we can come,” and I told him that wasn’t a problem. I mentally decided at that point that I wasn’t going to call any other vendors, so I asked if he needed a deposit. He responded in the negative, only saying I could pay when they completed the job. I asked for an installation date and time and he looked at his calendar and gave me two choices. I picked one and scribbled it across the top of my estimate. This fellow was truly a man of few words.
I paid special attention to the weather report the day before install day, and of course a thunderstorm front had an 80% chance of visiting our area. About an hour later Elton called to give me that information (that the weather lady had already shared) and told me it didn’t look good for the next morning. He said he would call me at 6:30 am (since I was first on his docket at 8am) to make the final determination. Of course, it was already raining when he called the next morning, so we postponed, this time to the following week, due to a pre-planned out-of-state trip we were already committed to make.
Just like clockwork, the evening before that revised install date, Elton’s voice came across the cell phone, confirming the installation. I got the shock of my life when he and his crew rolled up at EXACTLY 8am the following morning, and busily went to work under Elton’s watchful eye. They worked quickly and quietly, actually finishing 30 minutes sooner than he had estimated to me. They picked up their scraps of material from my property and loaded their tools and ladders so that afterward you couldn’t tell they had been there. I handed Elton a check, reminding him that was the amount we agreed upon (preparing for a battle if he tried to pad the estimate), and he said I was correct. I awkwardly stood there a minute, and then asked him if he wanted me to use my estimate as a receipt, to which he said, “Sure.”
Elton had been a really good vendor, although very reticent, and his guys appeared to have done a competent job of installing the gutters. As a matter of fact, one of my neighbors rolled up on his golf cart about three minutes after Elton left and commented on how professional they had done a particular procedure, lamenting that the company he used didn’t do it that way. He then asked how in the world they got done so fast, to which I responded that they arrived on time.
Back to Elton. Although he had communicated and quarterbacked a very customer service oriented installation, the wheels fell off when he shook my hand and jumped back into the truck, because He DIDN’T do any of the following:
-He didn’t ask if I was satisfied
-He didn’t ask for a referral
-He didn’t ask me to provide a written or a video testimonial
-He didn’t ask me to introduce him to a few of my neighbors
-He didn’t ask me to go to his website and complete a survey
-He didn’t say he would come back by or call me to check in and make sure I was happy after a few thunderstorms
-He didn’t give me a “friend mind-jogger” list to complete and send to him or hold for pickup
-He didn’t ask me to go online and submit a Google review
He only said one thing: “We’ve still got 5 more jobs to do today, so I really can’t stay and talk, although I’d like to. We are sooooo busy.”
Maybe Elton’s company doesn’t have to prospect for customers. Maybe all they have to do is respond to inbound phone calls and website contacts…but I doubt it. I’m going to reach out to Elton soon and tell him what I’m going to tell you right now.
———–Are You like Elton?——–
I teach all those strategies listed above that Elton didn’t do, to help you ensure you always have prospects, even when the phone’s not ringing or the website’s not lighting up. You can learn them from me whether you get a copy of my book, or join one of my online training groups. It might be a good idea to go HERE and see what I’m talking about.
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