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Sunday, April 26, 2009

SALES AND MARKETING: It's The Experience, Stupid!

Sales and Marketing with Bill Doerr

Bill's section is brought to you by qAlias

15 Second Speed Read

Sticks and stones may break your bones but names will never hurt you . . . is an old childhood response to being called some name you don't like. It's true, names can't hurt you (unless you let them). And words, in marketing, don't necessarily help you either. What does? Creating an experience that makes people say, "Wow!"

The Repairman
Recently, our washing machine broke down. Not the end of the world. Just the clean clothes! Needless to say, it quickly became a high priority to address.

Not having any regular need for someone who could fix our washer, I went online and starting searching on Google. Put in 'appliance repair' and my geographic location. Voila! I had a bunch of potential candidates to help us get our washing machine working again.

I found a firm that was close by. I called them. "We can't get someone there until Thursday . . . and we need a credit card approved before we commit to send them". Now, y'know how 'beggars can't be choosers'? Yeah. Well, that was us! So I agreed. Gave them the credit card and waited for Thursday. Late on Wednesday we got a call. "We can't get a guy over there until Monday . . .". Not overly happy to learn that (on Wednesday afternoon no less!) we planned to see them on Monday.

On Monday. The technician shows up. Then he asked, "Where's the refrigerator that's not working?" I explained it was the washer, not the refrigerator. "Nope" he says, "It's your refrigerator . . . says so right here on the work order!" He was actually proud of his 'evidence' of what was wrong. I was shocked that the customer's input (mine!) was being ignored! "Uh, no . . . it's the washing machine". "OK, show me where it is . . ."

Within moments it became painfully obvious that this allegedly skilled technician didn't know much about washing machines. "Uh, do you have an owner's manual for this?" I did. I had already gone through it a lot in the days preceding this service call. "Sure thing . . . here you go". He proceed to pore over it like a teenage boy with a new copy of Playboy. "Oh . . . THAT'S what that is . . . " and similar comments were being made by the repairman with a disquieting frequency. With all the control I could muster I asked, "Look, can you fix this washing machine or, not?".

With a look that reminded me of how I looked upon learning that my calculus professor was springing an unexpected quiz on the class he said, "Uh, well . . . no. I'm not trained for this brand (a HUGE name brand!) and I don't want to mess it up".

Now I've got really mixed emotions. On the one hand, I want the washer fixed. On the other hand, I want to kill someone (or, at least have some clean clothes for a change!) and yet I had to admire (weakly, I'll admit) the guy's candor and honesty. What didn't make matters worse is that the 'service call' cost me $174.50 . . . just to learn "I can't fix your washer". Sheesh!

So it's back to the Google Search. This time, I lucked out!

I made another appointment. The man showed up precisely when we were told to expect him. He even called us about 15 minutes before to confirm our address and to assure us he'd be at our home shortly. (Man, I was starting to get hopeful!)

Upon entering our home, he put on cloth 'booties' -- like the surgeons wear. "You don't have to do that", I said. "Sir, it's our company policy . . . because it's your home". OK, I'm alright with that.

He assessed the underlying cause of the malfunction almost as soon as he walked in the laundry room. Made the repair. Cleaned up the entire area after making the repair, in fact. But it was what happened next that really sold me.

As he's leaving, he asked, "While I'm here, is there anything else . . . we cover up to three appliances on any service call . . . same flat rate . . ." OMG. While the refrigerator wasn't broken, the ice machine part had stopped making ice about a week before. He fixed it. "No extra charge. You have one more appliance . . . anything else?" I didn't. Then the very best part of the call.

"Before I go, may I take a moment to go over something with you folks?" (Sure!) He then proceeded to do the following:
  1. he gave his business card -- with his photo AND direct cell number
  2. he expressed his PLEASURE to be of service to us (and meant it!)
  3. gave a packet of information including "10 major brands and key services we offer"
  4. he gave a list of "10 advantages to doing business with (his firm)" (felt like Dave letterman was doing their marketing!)
  5. he gave us our 'Preferred Customer" club card -- and referral program
  6. he reviewed his company's 'Code of Values and Conduct'
  7. he reminded us to call him if anything "Doesn't stay fixed"
The next day we got two phone calls. One was a follow-up call from our new 'friend' in the appliance repair business. "Just checking in to make sure the washer is running as you expect . . . " WOW! Of course it was. But the follow-up call? Man, that almost brought tears to my eyes. The second call was from a friend of my wife. "Joyce, do you know anyone who could fix our stove?" Now who do you think we recommended?

The Lesson:
My Google search revealed WHO we could use for the repairs we needed. But my EXPERIENCE is what convicted us of who the real 'preferred provider' was. In the end, it's a cliche to say it, but "It IS The Experience, Stupid".

Talk is cheap. But ACTION . . . aligned with your values and focused on your customer or client or patient . . . is priceless! It's the best and most controllable way to differentiate yourself and your company in the mind of your prospects, clients and centers-of-influence. Use it!

Bill Doerr, CCO of SellMore Marketing, LLC is the creator of The Preferral Prospecting System™,
 The Expert Directory™, The Client Machine™ and The Ultimate Client Development System™. He is an Authorized Duct Tape Marketing Coach and a licensed facilitator of the Get Clients NOW! program. Bill uses these resources to 
help service providers generate more awareness in their marketing area, interest in their services, and revenues in their bank. You can reach Bill by phone at: 860-798-6964, online: by email: or through the TNNW Blog:

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1 comment:

Christine Sotmary, TNNW author said...

I've experienced both types of service and certainly prefer the second experience. We small business folks know these things but do we do them? On Sat. I was at a Health and Fitness Day at the Mall with my table, my cards, my brochures, my DVD of an interview running all day and sample acupuncture sessions. I met wonderful people both in front of the booths and behind. Today is followup day! Actions do speak louder...... Will she followup or will she let it all collapse after such a fun day? Stay tuned.....

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