The little things are what matter the most in small and in large businesses. It’s the little nuances that make companies unique and memorable, these are the things that leave lasting impressions.
One of my favorite movies, “Any Given Sunday,” is about a coach, played by legendary actor Al Pacino. The movie goes into great detail about what it takes to make a great team, a championship team. In one particular part of the movie he says “life is a game of inches.” Think about that for a second. It is SO true. Sometimes the smallest of decisions can make or break a business, or relationship. You can’t win in business without being a fierce competitor, and part of being a fierce competitor is being absolutely obsessed with the small things inside your business.
You have to understand that inside your customers’ mind is a mental imprint of your business. They don’t even know it’s there but trust me, it is. This imprint is what causes your customers to either feel a little sick when you quote them a high price or, feel pleasantly surprised when you quote them that same high price. You have to learn how to make sure your company’s imprint is bad to the bone, in a good way of course! This starts with understanding that you have TOTAL control over your customers’ perception.
(From now on we will refer to the imprint as the value your business has to them. Got it? Imprint = VALUE)
This fascinating truth is displayed really well in Apple computers. Love them or hate them, they have done an AMAZING job of creating a gigantic amount of perceived value for their products. I’m not kidding when I say, if you have ever bought an Apple product even the packaging feels expensive. People often can’t bring themselves to even throw away the boxes, because it feels like you’re throwing away something valuable.
Your business needs to operate under the exact same principle. Your business cards should be better than anyone in your region. Your website should be better. Your uniforms, your estimate sheets, your phone etiquette, and every single tiny minute detail in between, should be better. Actually, not only should these things be better, they should be WAY better, they should be the best. You must win in the details of your business.
In the long run, people who focus on little things over and over typically win. Most people will run out of gas, they will get content or lazy, but not you. You need to “smell the blood in the water” of your local market and jump on the opportunities all around you. New business is “ripe for the picking” because when you run a tip-top organization, front to back and top to bottom, you will absolutely catch your competition off guard.
I think sports and business have so many similarities because of the tremendous amount of focus, dedication, and endurance needed to succeed. The top athletes
in the world train when nobody’s looking, and they train in ways that regular athletes can’t even understand. The best athletes understand that inches are what make the difference. Like Al says in the movie, “The inches we need are everywhere around us.”
Let’s take a quick look inside some of the “inches” my company uses to separate ourselves from the others.
Here Are Some “Inches” For The Estimate Phase
- Be so prompt it scares people. You should be calling people who submitted an information request on your website while they are still at their computer! We regularly schedule jobs before the 2nd company even returns their initial phone call. I am not kidding in any way about this.
- Be very systematic in your estimate process, use a solid introduction, a walk-around to gather prices, and finish with a very conversational pitch. Be consultative and not pushy.
- Your estimate sheet should be glossy and broken into packages because people make positive buying decisions when presented with 2-3 choices.
- Arrive well dressed and in the nicest vehicle you can find.
- Always try and make a pre-set appointment with every estimate. So far this year, my sales manager closes about 56 percent of estimates where he does not meet the customer but nearly 78 percent of estimates where they meet in-person and talk. Not to mention that our average job jumps over $100 when meeting in person.
- Your phone etiquette should be well thought out, consistent, and WAY better than anyone else in the area. Do NOT use a “Verizon” voicemail greeting for your business phone number.
Using these simple concepts will give you a nice edge over your local competitors. Create your own and use your own personality. Just make sure it is getting done.
In our type of business, the real work begins after you make the sale. Now you need to schedule the job, actually go and service the customer, and make sure you exceed their expectations.
While scheduling, make sure you use some kind of specific script or process so that nothing slips through the cracks. Make sure you try to up-sell and ask for referrals but most importantly, make sure you set the right expectation with your new customer. The biggest reason people become disappointed with their service provider is a miscommunication of expectations.
A LOT of small business people are obsessed with being “technically perfect” at their job or profession.
This is admirable and nice, but completely unnecessary to grow most businesses. The real trick is to provide quality work with proper expectations to the customer. Instead of being over-the-top insane about every speck on the glass or every millimeter of dirt on the customers’ window tracks, try using your phone scheduling as an opportunity to set proper expectations.
For example with what my company calls “Deep Track Cleaning” our office manager uses the following script with the customer after picking a day for the appointment. “OK Mary, just so you know how we handle deep track cleaning,we typically scrub your window tracks with soapy water and then use a clean dry towel to finish. They will look really nice when we are done, but they will not be perfect. We don’t use Q-Tips and magnifying glasses but our process gets them looking 90 percent better.”
When cleaning, do the job in a specific way every time, always be uniformed, always be friendly, and always FOLLOW UP after the job is done. Most of your competition is too tired to follow through with these types of activities, so you will be a step up right away if you implement and stick to them. Creating a really nice imprint inside your customer’s mind is what ultimately leads to a flood of referrals coming through your front door. Yes, it takes time. No, it is not fun to wait. However, when you get on the other side of these types of activities, your mind will be blown. The number one method of growth inside my company year in and year out is referrals. It does not matter how many thousands of dollars I spend on marketing, it’s always referrals holding the #1 spot for new customers.
We regularly get hired to do jobs even though we are a higher price because of the “inches” inside of our business. We feel more expensive than other companies, but it also feels like we’re worth it, because we are. I had to decide early on what type of business I wanted to build, and I chose to build a high-end, more expensive style of business. Considering that I live in Genesee County, Michigan and we are as busy as we are, I would say it is working just fine. If it will work here, it will work where you are too.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. For more information on Send Jim visit the website www.sendjim.com
Take care and may God Bless the work of your hands.
Answer the phone amd emails. It can be scary to potential customers when you respond right away. Give detailed estimates and create packages.