A simple piece of advice from a customer helped rescue Joe Crisara’s trade business: Give your customers options. Now the owner/business coach at Contractor Selling, he’s confident he can teach others to get past the painful lessons he learned in the trenches.
Crisara talks about giving clients levels of service options, staying focused on your company, and going above and beyond by connecting with customers.
Here are Joe Crisara’s top tips for excellence in running any home services company:
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Key TakeawaysTeach clients/customers to make the right choice.Customers value good service over cost of service.Be more concerned with your own business than your competition. Stay focused on what you do. When you give customers choices, take the time to write them down. Top-down selling always works best. Don’t focus on the sale, focus on the service.Look beyond the job you were hired to do. Recommended research and reading
Teach clients/customers to make the right choice.
As a consultant to the service trades industry, Crisara gives his clients options for his services. This practice mirrors the advice he gives his clients: Give customers options.
“The famous words I live by are, ‘What should we do?’” he says. “Here’s the way that fails, here’s the way that succeeds. What should we do? I don’t make that choice for anybody. I teach my clients how to make the right choices.”
Customers value good service over the cost of service.
In 1991, Crisara was in major debt with his trade business. He says one customer gave him advice that turned his company around in two years.
“This client said, ‘You always think people want to do the cheap thing and save money,’” Crisara says. “He said, ‘Joe people don’t want to save money. They want to get the best service.”
It worked. Crisara got out of debt and in two years had expanded to 15 trucks.
Be more concerned with your own business than your competition.
Staying on track with your company has nothing to do with comparing yourself to competitors, Crisara says.
“You run the race looking forward, not sideways at your competition. Worrying about competitors is a self-inflicted wound. Instead, spend time learning how to develop your company and your services.”
Stay focused on what you do.
Take a cue from professional athletes when it comes to maintaining focus, Crisara says.
“When the media asks Tom Brady about the other team’s defense, what does he say?” Crisara asks. “He says, ‘I don’t know about their defense, but I do know what we’re going to do on offense.’ He’s confident that if the team focuses on their jobs, they will be successful.”
When you give customers choices, take the time to write them down.
Don’t just verbally run through the options, Crisara says.
“Create a template—and customize it if you can,” he says. “That way, the whole team is on board with what options you can offer. Plus, customers may feel the ‘law of obligation’ to buy when they see you’ve taken the time and energy to write something down for them.”
Top-down selling always works best.
Instead of good-better-best, your sales program order should be premium-mid-range-economy,” Crisara says. He adds that the percentages usually work out this way: Start at the low end and 60 percent of customers will stay with it. Begin at the top end and 80 percent will pick the premium or mid-range option.
Don’t focus on the sale, focus on the service.
Instead of going directly for the sale, make an investment into what the needs of the customer are, Crisara says.
“Connect with a person—learn how it is they use their air conditioning,” he says. “Connect the dots between what people do and figure out what’s important to them and what isn’t. Then you can let them make the choice between your premium, mid-range, and economy options.”
Look beyond the job you were hired to do.
A painter who’s hired to paint a wall shouldn’t just come in and get right to work, Crisara says.
“Instead, a painter should say, ‘Let’s go through all the rooms and see if all the colors throughout the house collaborate,’” he says. “That’s what gets you to the premium option.”
Recommended research and reading
Books and tapes by Michael Gerber