No, this isn’t a blog post about kids doing show and tell. It’s grown-ups doing it. HVAC technicians, plumbers and electricians.
You see, when you visit a home to fix a problem all the homeowner knows is that they have no heat, no cooling, no hot water or something popped when they plugged an appliance in the wall. They don’t know what caused it and they don’t know how to prevent it in the future.
You’re a smart contractor. You’ve been to enough homes to realize that a significant number of breakdowns happen due to lack of homeowner maintenance. (What? Maintenance on an electrical or plumbing system? Seriously?) Yes. At the very least, homes should have a plumbing or electrical inspection done each year to reduce breakdowns … to prevent the reason why you go to houses in the first place. Furnace and AC? Well that’s a no-brainer, isn’t it? They should be serviced annually … though this rarely happens. (Oddly, though, most people remember to get their cars serviced on a regular basis.)
One way of reinforcing the need for what we here at Home Service Profits like to call “scheduled service” is to conduct a show and tell of the problem once you have diagnosed it. This comes with a warning, though: you need to train your technicians to speak using non-technical terms when explaining what caused a breakdown. Homeowners will fall asleep if you start talking about water column or constant air volume. This takes practice but if it’s done right, it will lead to increased approval for repairs, more replacement opportunities and more service plan sales because you will have helped your customers realize they need to do scheduled service on their equipment.
It all starts with proper process and scripting.
Step 1: Take the client to the source of the problem once your tech as diagnosed it.
Step 2: Technician says, “Well, Bob/Betty … I’ve found the problem today.”
Step 3: Show them the broken component. In this case we’ll use a small puddle of oil underneath a blower motor.
Step 4: Point to the problem or take a picture of it with your smart phone and show them.
Step 5: Say the following words: “Bob/Betty, do you see that?” They will say yes.
Step 6: Say the following words: “What do you think that is?” They will say it looks like some oil.
Step 7: Nod your head and say, “That’s right. You see your blower motor can break down over time and one of the signs is a puddle of oil. Your blower motor is still working but the seals which keep the oil inside the unit have deteriorated and that’s why there is a puddle. We can leave it for today and it will still work but it’s eventually going to break down once and for all. It’s like your car outside. If it’s leaking oil, that’s usually a bad sign. ”
Step 8: This is critically important. Ask the client “What do you think we should do?” Why? Because you are empowering them to make a decision about their equipment based on the evidence they have seen with their own eyes. This reduces the likelihood of objections when you do a price presentation a little later on a the kitchen table. (Never quote a price at the site of the breakdown. Go to the kitchen table and write it all out first. If you’re using upfront pricing, show them the price at that time.) In most cases, after you ask “what do you think we should do” the customer will ask how much it costs to fix. That’s a buying signal. They are now realizing they’ve got to spend some money today.
Step 9: Your tech says, “Let’s go to the kitchen table and I’ll share some options with you.”
It’s just that simple. The trick is to do this every time, every call. You see, consumers will make buying decisions if they are given the right information. It’s not enough to say “well, your blower is toast. It’s going to be $525 for a new one”. You need to involve them in the process, educate them and for crying out loud, SHOW them that with scheduled service on their equipment, you can prevent this kind of thing from happening in the future.