Do you know what the difference between an active need and a passive need is? It’s really simple: active needs are the reasons why homeowners called your company in the first place. (I’ve got no heat. I’ve got no hot water. I’ve got no AC. My toilet won’t stop running.) You go out to these calls, spend about twenty minutes in the house, fix the problem and walk out of there with a very low average invoice because you just fixed the thing that got the homeowner to pick up the phone in the first place.

I’ve talked at length about the difference between the top 5% of your competitors and you. You’re part of the 95%. You’re going to fix the active need and leaving money on the table or throwing cash into the fireplace like crazy old Granny, here.

That top 5% knows there is more money to be made in EVERY home because home plumbing, heating, AC and electrical systems wear down and break down eventually. Nothing lasts forever and if you get called to a house that is 35 years old for a plugged toilet, there is going to be 35 year old plumbing equipment in that home. Some might be leaking, some might just be brittle with age. The only way you can find it is to offer a FREE plumbing inspection as part of your visit and have a look. (One instant way to increase your average plumbing invoice by $200 or spike up the number of water heater installs you do is to check the anode rod. One company I worked with, I taught one plumber to check anode rods every single call and the spiff he got from putting more anodes in people’s homes bought him a new boat. Just saying.)

See, the anode is a passive need and passive needs are those things about to break down the homeowner is not aware of. Now before you get all up in arms about “up selling” consider this: if you went to a doctor for a sprained ankle and he saw that you were displaying symptoms of someone near to having a heart attack, please tell me you would want the doctor to inform you. The same principle applies in home service visits. There are some things about to break down the homeowner is not aware of, you are not doing your job if you don’t inform them of the problem and offer to fix it.

And that’s where the top 5% are kicking your butt. They have mastered the art of passive needs. They train for ways to show those people the problem. I’ve trained companies to use what I like to call, “THE THREE GOOD QUESTIONS”.  These questions are to be asked whenever you find something not related to the reason for the call but that in your opinion, is “going to go”. These questions are as follows:

1) Bob/Betty, do you see that? (Show them the problem)

2) What do you think that is? (Often they won’t know and what a great time for your technician to explain what it is and what’s going to happen if it’s not taken care of.)

3) What do you think we should do? (You are throwing it onto them. If they say “fix it” or “replace it” after you have asked them these three questions, how POSSIBLY can you be up selling?)

This is the POWER of not wearing blinders during service calls. This is important as well because if you don’t tell them about the passive need problems in their home, they will ALWAYS call you back when that component eventually breaks down and they will BLAME you for not having fixed it when you were visiting their house six months ago! It happens all the time and you know I’m right because it happens in your company. If you offer to solve the problem during the service visit and they say “no”, then you can inform the customer that an offer to repair the problem was made during your most recent visit but they declined.

Very simply, if you don’t follow a system of informing about passive needs, then you are burning money that could be going toward growing your business. It’s quite easy to implement these kinds of small changes but you need to know the right systems and processes to do it. And you need training.

So, do you want to leave money on the table or grow your business. It’s up to you.