When It’s OK To Fire The Customer
Can you fire customers? You definitely can! Sam Wakefield shows us how to do this by sorting, figuring out their interest level, and identifying if they want to buy what you are selling. Disqualifying a client and moving on can be done when you have successfully judged your customer’s level of interest. By asking the right questions, you will know if you are not wasting your time. Through some examples, learn some tips on how to identify if a customer is worth firing and whether to let go or not.
We are going to have a lot of fun. We are all out here in the field, saving the world, one heatstroke at a time, saving the world, one frostbite at a time. I know you are with me because I get comments in the Facebook group. If you haven’t joined the Facebook group, make sure you find it. Go to CloseItNow.com and it will link you directly to join our Facebook group. We get comments all the time about Drivetime University and how much fun it is that we’re all out here doing the same thing.
We’ve got a special topic. It’s a little bit about how to sort people, how to figure out if somebody is open, interested, and wants to buy what you’re selling. Do they want to buy what you’re selling? Are they even interested in what you are selling? Are they open to even hearing about it? If they’re not, don’t waste your time. It is important. When you’re doing sales for heating and air or electrical or plumbing or anything else for that matter, your time is valuable. We don’t charge for estimates, generally speaking. I know some of you do and that’s great. That’s fantastic if that’s your model. Even if you do charge, it’s not much. It’s not enough to pay your bills. We’re working for free until somebody signs their name on the dotted line. That is the nature of the sales industry. It’s what we do.
Disqualifying A Client And Moving On
With that context, do not be scared to disqualify a client and move on. Raise your hand and I’ll raise mine and I solemnly swear that I give you permission to disqualify a client if the project is not something that is a good fit for your company. I’m going to talk you through a scenario that happened to me, but we’re going to go through another way to handle it as well. I was at an appointment. The notes for the appointment where the guy wanted to replace his ductwork and look at adding insulation to his house. I get there. He found us through our local energy supplier, which has a rebate program for upgrading energy improvements on your home. He found us from their websites. Mentally, I’m envisioning that type of appointment. It turns out that the guy was an engineer. He thinks that he’s done all the math on what his ROI is going to be for different levels of investment.
We sit down to go over my intro and agenda and he says, “I don’t want any type of a sales pitch.” I asked him, “This is a sales appointment and I am a salesperson. There’s going to be some degree of that by the nature of this visit. Are you okay with continuing this conversation?” He said, “I expect some of that.” I was like, “That’s great. The questions I have for you are so I know what I’m looking at. If we don’t cover some of the problems that you’re experiencing and why you want to have someone out, I can’t offer you any improvements to fix it.” He’s like, “Yeah.” Right off the bat, it was an odd start to the appointment and something I didn’t expect, but I was able to save it well by letting him know. I said, “If you don’t answer my questions, I don’t know what I’m even looking to offer you.” We got into temperatures in the house and allergens and that kind of thing.
What happened was we went up, and he told me instantly, “I’m not here and have no intention to spend $5,000 or $10,000 on this project.” I looked at him and I said, “You don’t want to make a lot of improvements in your house, then you do not want to make major changes.” He said, “Not really.” I was like, “You’re an engineer. You get house use and lose energy. You do understand that if you don’t make a lot of changes, you’re not going to get a lot of improvement.” He’s like, “I get that.” I said, “With that context, let’s talk about the issues you’re having.” It turns out the house is almost 40 years old with original ductwork to the house. In our part of the world, it’s not a hardened metal pipe. It is flexible and the ductwork from the era of this house was built. I know a huge portion of you around the world are going to know what I’m talking about. It was the gray plastic line, flex duct. It is horrible quality material and over time in the attic, if you’ve dealt with it, it gets horribly brittle it will start to fall apart.
He follows me into the attic. We’re standing in the attic and we look at this ductwork. I’m going through the history of this type of ductwork with him. I reached down and barely touched it and my finger went right through the plastic liner. Instantly, it starts to break. I’m glad that happened. I instantly pulled my hand back. I said, “You saw how easy that broke apart. I barely touched it.” We went on to explain to him that anytime we come across this type of ductwork, we always recommend replacement because it is an awful shape. There’s almost no insulation factor. You’re losing a massive amount of efficiency through the heat rise and heat loss in the attic, all that kind of stuff. We get back down to the kitchen table. We’re sitting down and he says, “I don’t want to spend the money to replace the ductwork.” I was like, “Why am I here?” He said, “There were a couple of spots that need to be sealed up. I would like to get a look at a complete whole-house ductwork sealant. I was going through and sealing up all the connections.” I was like, “You saw how brittle that was. That is something, as a company, we won’t do for you.”
He started to get angry and I was like, “I can predict what would happen. My guys would get up there trying to paint the new sealant onto the ductwork. Every square they touch it, it’s going to keep falling apart. The beginning of a losing battle is where your ductwork comes apart, then you would be angry at us for tearing up your ductwork when we weren’t supposed to be sealing it up to start with. It’s not something that is doable. The ductwork at this point is in bad shape. We will replace it, but we won’t do anything else for it.” It took him a minute. He finally got and said, “What can we do?” I said, “You don’t want to spend anywhere near that kind of money. There’s not much we can do. Some insulation maybe, but it is hard to know what you want to do. We’ve got the champagne ideas with a dollar store budget. There’s not much of a fit for us here.” We thanked each other, thanked for coming out. That’s washing my hands with that.
At the end of the day, he didn’t want to make any improvements. He wanted to make the improvements that you can buy for pocket change at Home Depot, not hiring a professional to come out and improve his home. Moral of the story. I’m giving you permission. It’s okay in cases like this and those circumstances, when they’re dead set on they do not want to spend money on the project, it’s okay to say, “We’re not a good fit for each other. You are not a good fit for our company. We’re not a good fit for you.” We do professional work. We do quality work. If you want something done right, it’s not going to be cheap. It’s not going to be the cheap fix. Until you’re ready for something like that, that is when you need to call us back. We shook hands and parted ways as friends and agreed that when he is ready to look at a bigger project, he will give us a callback.
When To Fire Customers: When you ask questions and people give you an answer, you must qualify what they’re answering to know if they are interested.
Asking Initial Questions
Another way to handle this is through a couple of different questions. One of the ways that I like to handle it the best. For context, I know not everybody has attics that have ductwork in them. A lot of you around the world, you have a crawl space where everything is under the house. A lot of times, you’ve got a flat roof of everything that is on top of the building to start with. I know a lot of the world that reads this blog, there’s no ductwork at all. You deal in a lot of mini-splits and wall mount systems, ductless systems and that’s awesome too. The point is when you’re asking questions in your initial process when you’re asking questions like, “Who in the house has allergies or asthma?” You’re asking questions like, “When some rooms in the house are cooler, are there others that are too hot? When some rooms in the house are warm, are there rooms that are too cold?”
When you ask those questions and people give you an answer, you have to qualify what they’re answering to know if it’s something they’re even interested in. How do we do that? One easy way to do it is to follow that question up with. For example, we’re going to use room temperature. In the summer when some rooms are cool, are there other rooms that are too hot or warm? If they come back with an answer, “The bedroom in the corner has always been a little warmer,” but it doesn’t sound like they’re crazy excited about making a change there or even if it does, follow the question up with, “If we could do something about fixing that, is that something you would like to take a look at?”
Another great question is, “Is that merely an observation or is it a concern that you would like to take a look at fixing? Would you like to take a look at solutions or you’re only making an observation here?” A lot of times they’ll say, “It’s an observation. Nobody even lives in that room and we don’t care. Maybe people stay in it once a year. It’s a guest room.” “No big deal. We’ll move on.” That way, you don’t waste time in your conversation driving down the road, and then waste your time in your evaluation process trying to figure out all of the issues that are causing this room to be too hot or too cold or whatever it is. That’s a waste anyway. That’s something they weren’t concerned about to start with. You’ve got to judge their level of concern.
Another great way to do this and we’ll use this example with maybe allergens and asthma allergies, and indoor air quality issues. You ask them, “Who in the house has asthma or allergies?” It doesn’t matter what they say unless they go off and say, “So-and-so’s got such horrible allergies,” they give you a laundry list, but the rest of the time they mention it or don’t mention it, you can always follow the indoor air quality question up with. It’s called the thermometer close or the thermometer, “On the one scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the worst and 10 being the best, how important is indoor air quality to you?” Let them answer. If they’re like, “It’s fine. Maybe a five,” we’re neutral on it and don’t waste your time. That’s the whole point of this show if somebody is in no way interested in spending money to improve their house for a certain thing, don’t waste your time going through the presentation for it. This is how you can be efficient in your visits. If we’re there for new equipment, that’s awesome. That’s why we’re there. The other stuff, people buy what they want, not what they need. Even if somebody needs something, we know it’s the solution to what their concerns are, what their issues are. Even if they need it, we know they need it. In the back of their mind, they probably know they need it, but if they don’t want it, if you haven’t been able to take them through enough conversation so they see that it’s something that they want to buy to fix their problems, don’t waste your time with it.
Sale Me The Pen Thing
It’s important. One of the classic examples is the, “Sell me the pen,” thing. If you’ve ever seen The Wolf of Wall Street or the Jordan Belfort story, I read the book and there’s a funny story in there about a new sales guy and he says, “Sell me this pen.” The guy grabs the pen and starts looking at it. It’s like, “This is an amazing pen. It is written upside down. It is written on a wall. It does this and it does that. It’s the nicest thing you’ve ever seen. It’s only $15.” He handed it back to him and he was like, “Here, try it out for yourself. Take it for a test drive.” He looks at it and he’s like, “This looks like a dumb, stupid pen to me. It is a basic pen. Why in the world should I buy it from you?” Right about that time, the top salesperson comes in and he says, “Sell me this pen.” He grabs the pen and looks at it for a second. Instantly he goes, “Mr. Belfort, how long have you been in the market for a pen?” He says, “I’m not in the market for a pen.” He said, “Fine. Keep your pen. I don’t need to sell it to you anyway.”
The new guy says, “I don’t sell things to people if they don’t want to buy. I only sell things to people who want to buy. I sell things to people who are willing and able and ready to make a purchase, not somebody who is not interested. We don’t try to force a close. We don’t try to force a sale.” That totally applies to us. We’re not out there to convince. We’re out there letting people buy what is best for them. That doesn’t mean that through proper education and explanation that we can’t increase our ticket price or increase our close rate. We can increase and influence maybe the level of equipment that somebody purchases through education, through talking to their emotions, through that type of conversation, but in no way will we ever convince somebody. We will never get it in a lie, cheat, steal, anything like that. We have to be in the utmost integrity and honesty. If you are out there to make a sale and you’re only worried about your commission, you’ve got commissioned breath. People can smell it from a mile away. They can smell commission breath before you ever knock on the door.
Just like your energy introduces you before you knock on the door, if you’re having a bad day, drive around the block and sit in your car or your truck and find your happy place before you ever knock on the door, or it’s going to be a waste of time for the client, for you and for the company. You’ve got to be in the right energy. We’ve got to be happy. That’s why they say the best time to make a sale is right after you make a sale because you’re already in that vibration. You’re in those vibes. You’ve got the right energy going. You expect the next sale. You’ve got to make sure that you’re in the right place and that is not through manipulating and taking advantage of people. At the same time, that’s why we don’t convince. We sell things to people who want to buy it. We don’t try to convince the rest of the world if they don’t do it, their whole house is going to fall down. That’s silly. Stop it. That’s my message. It is okay if something is not the right fit for you, for your project, for your company. It’s okay to tell the client that. People would respect your honesty rather than trying to either sell them something they don’t need or try to do a project that your company is not suited for. Something that is not going to turn out well.
Lawyers only take on cases they’re going to win. It’s the same thing here. Take on projects that are going to be successful. If you know that this project could turn into disaster, don’t take it on. Don’t take on a disaster project. When you have it, raise your hand. I know you’ve done it in the past, I have too. You take on that project and in the back of your mind you’re thinking, “This could go south easy. This could go bad,” then it does. It’s even worse than you thought it was going to be. We’ve all done it, but if you listen to the intuition that says, “I am going to have to pass on this one.” There’s a function from an abundance mindset. You don’t need every single job that walks through the door. You need to focus on finding the best jobs because if we can work less, sell more, and earn more by doing it on higher-margin jobs and higher-dollar jobs, that’s what this is all about. It is not doing every job that walks through the door, especially those ones that are lowballed or there are many issues. It’s only going to be a bad situation.
When To Fire Customers: Don’t take projects that you know will be disastrous.
The Right To Say No
That’s my message. It’s a little bit different than what I normally talk about, but it’s important. You’ve got to understand that you have the right to say no. You have the right to refuse service if you want to. It’s up to you. You don’t have to do all the projects. If you haven’t, go to the website CloseItNow.com and join our Facebook group. It’s a massively growing community of people like you who are out there, got our Drivetime University going. We’re working on improving ourselves. In order for something that you have to become somebody worth buying from to sell to a higher level of a person, you have to become a higher level of the person to sell to them. It’s the way society works. Call it good or bad, it is what it is. For things to get better, we have to get better. For things to improve, we have to improve. I know you’re doing that because you’re reading this blog.
On the website, check out the spaces that talk about coaching. We’ve got an awesome group coaching program that’s going nuts. These guys are crushing it. We’ve got some private coaching as well, which is a ton of fun and changes. It’s a game-changer. It will change everything for you. There’s that group coaching or private coaching, reach out to me about that. Otherwise, everyone stays safe out there and drop me a line at Sam@closeitnow.net. Let me know what part of the world you’re in. Let me know what your favorite part of the episode that you’ve learned or any of the episodes. Be on the lookout, the YouTube channel is about to get rolling. I’m going to be doing a lot of live video demonstrations. We also do that in the Facebook group with some Facebook Lives. Make sure to check it out. Go save the world one heatstroke at a time. Go save the world one frostbite at a time. I’ll talk to you soon.