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waterheaterzone.com
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Being in the plumbing service business, I am a salesman by necessity. I sell my licensed skills, my timely service as well as my quality plumbing parts.
I have always hated selling, and it doesn't come natural to me. The biggest one for service plumber's to overcome is the 'price-objection' of course. Has anyone read any good books or maybe bought some good audio-books about selling?

I am interested in learning more, so I can close more service calls, as well as increase my average service call $$$, with ad-on sales, etc. If anyone has any good books or whatever, please share here.
 

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LeMarr Plumbing, Inc.
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772 Posts
Only thing I can think of right now is, on Up Front Pricing.Com there is a guy some where on there with a video system on tech training. I can't remember.
I run into objections, not very often, but when I do, I reassure them on the quality of product (show it and compare it to customers) and reinstate the fact that it has a 2 year guarantee and if for any reason it should fail I will replace and/or repair at no cost to you. Also may say "Knowing we have a 100% Satisfaction, what kind of work are we going to do for you", then I let them answer. So now I have confirmed, the ho has said to themselves there is no reason why they shouldn't do business with me.
Heres an senerio of a fill valve. I will show them the reason it is failing and explain what the fill valve does and I will say " I'm going to run out and get ours (Wolverine) to show you the quality and how it works (hands on)". As soon as they see it and hold it (heavy) and look at theirs (plastic), they feel it is a good investment to replace theirs and get a 2 year guarantee and a new supply line.
There is many ways to get add on sales but I can't type that much:laughing: Not saying I know them all but I know a few.

There is a confirmation sales line that I was told a month ago that is remarkable. It came from our own 22Rifle. When he told it to me, I was floored, it was awesome but so simple and true.
OK 22 show show us the $$$$. I don't want to steal your glory:)

In Christ,

Song Dog
 

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waterheaterzone.com
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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I have done training classes and I have watched "tec-daddy" dvds from the upfrontprice.com I think I am ok at sales, but I know I could do better, and I tend to forget a lot of the crap I have already learned.
Thats why I am looking for a book, something that I can read over and over to hammer some of these ideas and habits into my brain, so they become second-nature.

I don't get nearly as many price-objections as I used to when I worked for a large franchise. Since my prices are a bit less than theirs. So I am bit out-of-practice. Today, I had a surprise price-objection. I got the job anyway, but the homeowner caught me off guard...and I almost didn't know what to say. It made me realize that I need to brush up a bit on my technique.

What happened was, the husband ok'd the job while the wife was getting a hot water dispenser to replace. When she got back I had cleared the kitchen drain and repaired the downstairs toilet, she saw the invoice with the pricing and she said, "I see you are charging me a lot for this."
Up to this point, they were both very friendly. I was surprised and simply said, "Thats a lot?" She said, "Yes, well I guess I am spoiled from handyman prices."
So I said,"well, I bet your handyman doesn't have a $2000 drain machine to clear the drain, and isn't a licensed professional, moreover, my business overhead is completely different than a handymans's, if I charged so-called 'handyman' wages I would be bankrupt in a few months."
I also showed her my price-book so she could see that she was getting fair prices that all my customer's get.

She respected that and I finished the job, but all afternoon the whole thing has bugged me and I wish I was better prepared to handle this kind of thing.
 

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Master Plumber
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Thanks Song, but it was just an idea. I gave it to you, so now it's yours too!

This is a rough draft of what was a finely polished "blurb". But the concept is still there.

The wealthy hire us because they want the best. The not-so-wealthy hire us because they can't afford to pay for it twice.
 

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When I stop hearing complaints on my prices, I'll know I'm charging too little.

I've had someone complain when I'd already cut $100 off a water heater install, another fella insisting I come out to install his gas stove for $65 with stock.
Left to their own devices, HO's will always see things from convenient eyes.

I constantly get the third degree on prices...usually over the phone.
That might be a benefit to flat rate pricing on the phone, I weed 'em out before I waste my time.
 

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waterheaterzone.com
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2,043 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Good point, grumpy. But I try my best to make them happy. Some people though, all they care about is the lowest price. Screw those customers, if they want low-ball prices, they can go back to their inept 'handyman' who works for beer-money.:tt2:

Until I report him to the local inspector.:w00t:
 

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residential service
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I have done training classes and I have watched "tec-daddy" dvds from the upfrontprice.com I think I am ok at sales, but I know I could do better, and I tend to forget a lot of the crap I have already learned.
Thats why I am looking for a book, something that I can read over and over to hammer some of these ideas and habits into my brain, so they become second-nature.

I don't get nearly as many price-objections as I used to when I worked for a large franchise. Since my prices are a bit less than theirs. So I am bit out-of-practice. Today, I had a surprise price-objection. I got the job anyway, but the homeowner caught me off guard...and I almost didn't know what to say. It made me realize that I need to brush up a bit on my technique.

What happened was, the husband ok'd the job while the wife was getting a hot water dispenser to replace. When she got back I had cleared the kitchen drain and repaired the downstairs toilet, she saw the invoice with the pricing and she said, "I see you are charging me a lot for this."
Up to this point, they were both very friendly. I was surprised and simply said, "Thats a lot?" She said, "Yes, well I guess I am spoiled from handyman prices."
So I said,"well, I bet your handyman doesn't have a $2000 drain machine to clear the drain, and isn't a licensed professional, moreover, my business overhead is completely different than a handymans's, if I charged so-called 'handyman' wages I would be bankrupt in a few months."
I also showed her my price-book so she could see that she was getting fair prices that all my customer's get.

She respected that and I finished the job, but all afternoon the whole thing has bugged me and I wish I was better prepared to handle this kind of thing.
I don't believe you could have crafted a better response had you seen a transcript of her statement before she said it. Best of all, you helped her see the light and you got paid!

Now as for me, I'd have probably blubbered and mumbled while I was picking up my tools and thought of that very same response at precisely 3:00 a.m. the next morning.
 

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LeMarr Plumbing, Inc.
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772 Posts
I don't believe you could have crafted a better response had you seen a transcript of her statement before she said it. Best of all, you helped her see the light and you got paid.
Smells is right. I thought that was a very good responce especially without a script. Hats off to you, way to be on your toes.:thumbsup:

BTW- If you seen the Tec Daddy Videos, what did you think of them?

In Christ,

Song Dog
 

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waterheaterzone.com
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2,043 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Smells is right. I thought that was a very good responce especially without a script. Hats off to you, way to be on your toes.:thumbsup:

BTW- If you seen the Tec Daddy Videos, what did you think of them?

In Christ,

Song Dog
They are definitely good quality information. Although a bit overpriced and overly lengthy and repetitive. I wouldn't buy them as a one-man shop. They would be a useful investment for a larger company looking to train sales/service techs. 20 techs watching the videos and each learning something could potentialliy increase overall profit margin by quite a bit. For a one-man shop, I would think a simple sales book would be better, I'm still looking of one.

If there weren't so many DVDs and they weren't so expensive, I would buy them.
 

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LeMarr Plumbing, Inc.
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772 Posts
I agree. I wouldn't buy them now.
Alot of the training I went to as a franchise was the same thing over and over. Just with a different topic. But one thing is, that when heard enough it will become instinct.

In Christ,

Song Dog
 

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waterheaterzone.com
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2,043 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
SG, I just ran into this. I didn't look it over good but found it and here is the link.

http://profitableplumbing.com/_wsn/page4.html

In Christ,

Song Dog
I ordered and read the book. It was OK, but very basic. Honestly I read every page and I already knew 99% of what was in here. It didn't have enough about sales in my opinion. It was a lot of simple basics like how to set up a plumbing van and make invoices....stuff I already know.:rolleyes:
 

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I ordered the book and have to say that there really wasn't much in there that we aren't already getting online. In fact, there were a few things I'd probably disagree with.

However, the trade magazines often have some good articles. I was just reading one in the July issue of Phc News titled: "Keeping the door open when callers seek the cheapest plumber in town." It gave me ideas about what to say to the price hunters. There's also an article on charging for estimates that bears perusal.

I get so many mags every month that it's hard to keep up with them, considering all my internet time and book-reading. But they can sometimes be valuable.

Currently, I'm getting Reeves Journal, Phc News, The Successful Contractor, Plumbing & Mechanical, and I'm not sure whether I still get Jobsite, but I used to. I also get MyTana catalogs, American Van catalogs and a host of others.
 

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IHowever, the trade magazines often have some good articles. I was just reading one in the July issue of Phc News titled: "Keeping the door open when callers seek the cheapest plumber in town." It gave me ideas about what to say to the price hunters. There's also an article on charging for estimates that bears perusal.

Herk - I read the same article. It was disappointing that he didn't include the verbage to use. I've come up with my own verbage and cannot wait to try it out. It goes something like this: Are you looking for a range to see if it is in your budget or are you just looking for the cheapest price? If they are honestly seeking a range, we capture the customer. If they want the cheapest price, "we are not the company for you." Anticipating the shock/silence, I expect the next response to be why not? Our customers expect high quality and excellent service. The cheapest plumber in town offers neither. Our customers aren't willing to take on unnecessary risk.
Do you have his number? No. Is he in the phone book? Nope, I don't think he can afford to be in the book.

On charging for estimates - we have started to handle this differently. We give free estimates over the phone, they are just ballpark figures for budgeting purposes. True estimates, which are actually Proposals, are being billed to the customer. We call it consulting as the homeowner usually picks our brain for ideas. If they want the work done, we credit this consulting fee back. Sometimes, I follow with humor depending on the response. Estimates / proposals aren't free. We pay to send a plumber, truck etc. and if you don't pay, then that means you expect me to pay for your estimate. I hardly see where that is fair to me.
 

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waterheaterzone.com
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Herk - I read the same article. It was disappointing that he didn't include the verbage to use. I've come up with my own verbage and cannot wait to try it out. It goes something like this: Are you looking for a range to see if it is in your budget or are you just looking for the cheapest price? If they are honestly seeking a range, we capture the customer. If they want the cheapest price, "we are not the company for you." Anticipating the shock/silence, I expect the next response to be why not? Our customers expect high quality and excellent service. The cheapest plumber in town offers neither. Our customers aren't willing to take on unnecessary risk.
Do you have his number? No. Is he in the phone book? Nope, I don't think he can afford to be in the book.

On charging for estimates - we have started to handle this differently. We give free estimates over the phone, they are just ballpark figures for budgeting purposes. True estimates, which are actually Proposals, are being billed to the customer. We call it consulting as the homeowner usually picks our brain for ideas. If they want the work done, we credit this consulting fee back. Sometimes, I follow with humor depending on the response. Estimates / proposals aren't free. We pay to send a plumber, truck etc. and if you don't pay, then that means you expect me to pay for your estimate. I hardly see where that is fair to me.
Nice! You are handling the situation very well. I am the same way, I turned a guy away on the phone who wanted a free estimate on a water service, I could tell right away that price was all he cared about...he offered to dig his own trench. I threw a rough number at him, he never called back.:rolleyes:
 

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Thanks Carl! Just trying to get my posts up! (Teehee).

I know you will have a baby to feed soon - no wasted trips to make zero dollars.
 

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To the OP, don't defend your prices. There is nothing that sets off alarms like someone defending their position rather than explaining the reality of the situation.

I found it much easier just to agree with what was being said and then say something like, "Yes, its expensive, but taking your work to your client is expensive. We realize that and try to offer the most value for the dollar. Now we could offer less by way of satisfaction or service hours, or even insist you meet us only when its convenient for us. But that's not a good value. We realize that good service from a trust worthy company is what we shop for, and so, that is what we offer to you, our client. We've tried it the other way, being cheaper, but our clients complained. We've learned our lesson."
 

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Rifle22 Quote

We have used your quote in our newsletter.

We have three types of customers:

The very wealthy . . .
The not so wealth . . .
Everyone in between because they understand you get what you pay for.
 
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