All in the Details

Jim Hinshaw
Contributing Writer
Improvement Professional, President & Sales

Stay with me, this is about more than a wedding, but I am using it to share an important concept.  Just attended a superb wedding, a destination wedding down in Destin, FL.  The parents of the bride thought of everything.  Everything.  Since it was out of town, we were all staying at hotels near the venue.   They had shuttles to take you back and forth to the hotels, all waiting at all hours during the parties we were invited to.  The day of the wedding, they had to move into a huge tent, this was a giant wedding party.  After the wedding, we moved to another bigger tent, where they had all kinds of food and drink.

Not only that, the attention to detail was amazing.  Not sure if this happens to you, but apparently when women in high heels start to dance (did I mention there were TWO bands that evening, one was a swing band with Michael Bubley type guy, second was 12 piece band from Atlanta, they rocked!), they sometimes kick off their shoes.  There were slippers available for the ladies.  I guess guys could have put them on as well, not judging.  There was a makeup room where women could go and get their makeup touched up.  Napkins with initials, they went all out.

So it was a excellent wedding, but here is my point.  They paid attention to all the details.  So how does this apply to us?  Just spent a morning with a dealer who had just sold a $20,000+ sale, nice order.  He was not low.  In fact, the customer had been using another company for years, the only reason he got involved was a referral from another happy consumer, told their friends you need to have “our guy” come out.  Let me say, I want to be the “guy”.

He came to the home, showed up on time (what a great idea, on time), stood at the door and put on his booties.  I know, an old concept, but it shows respect.  He then asked them several questions about comfort: rooms too hot/cold, allergies/utility bills, the normal concepts.  He then asked to look in the attic.  Here is where he made a huge difference.  The attic access was in the master bedroom closet.  Never guess what else is in the master bedroom closet.  Lots of clothes.  Some were very expensive, but even the cheaper ones were important, they were in the master bedroom closet!  So Steve got out a large drop cloth (which was cleaned), spread it over the clothes and floor, put up his ladder, climbed into the attic.  Came back down later with photos and install ideas, picked up his drop cloth, cleaned up some small insulation particles that got lose, made it look like he had never been there.

Put together a proposal, they said: got to think about it.  Which means not gonna happen, usually.  Husband was not there, they had used another company for years, he was only there because a friend had referred him.  Gets a call 2 days later.  Let’s get started.  He went back to finalize the job, asked what made them decide to use him.  Probably the equipment, since he was quoting a different brand.  Maybe a better warranty, since his has a lifetime unit replacement warranty.  Turns out he was not low, several percentage points higher.  No, none of the above.  The wife said: you cleaned up!  The guys we used in the past did not.  They left insulation on my master bedroom closet floor and on my clothes.  Did not put on the booties, in fact never have.

So he got a nice order, basically because he had a clean drop cloth and booties.  The interesting thing is that he uses these on each and every call.  So do his team members, just how they do business.  It is funny what people remember about your company, some may remember the things you don’t do, more than what you do.  What makes this a great concept is that you don’t have to know how to install a completely new type of heating/air conditioning system, no, all you need to do is a series of small things that make a huge difference.

The amazing thing that I know is that the competition may have a policy to use booties and drop cloths, but not everyone does it.  Which brings me to the main point, make sure all of your employees know exactly what your company stands for.  And then make sure it happens each and every time.  How do we do that?  One way is to ride with the techs on a regular basis.  Visit the job sites, not each time, but randomly.  Make sure the company protocol is being followed every time.  If not, revisit the duties and requirements privately with the employee, make sure they understand how important it is to do the small things that make a huge difference.

The harsh reality is that the employee is the company when they are in the home.  They may be the only person the customer sees from your business.  So be sure they understand how important it is to do the right thing every time.  I realize it gets tough when it is 5:30 on Friday night in July, already been on 6 calls, still got one to go.  They may not feel as fresh as they did at 7:30 am.  For that reason, carry an extra shirt, deodorant, and baby wipes.  Freshen up before you go into that late afternoon appt.  Two things happen, the customer feels better when you don’t smell like road kill, and you are more confident, and the customer loves confidence.  They hate arrogance, but love confidence.

Final point: got those drop cloths on each truck?  Service and install?  Are they clean?  Every employee got them booties, even the sales team?  Clean ladders, you know when you pull open a ladder in a closet, it needs to be clean.  Do you show up on time, call to be sure still ok to show up?  Do you care enough to freshen up before going into a home?  These small steps can make you extra money, you are being judged at every single customer event, in person or on the phone.  Do your best.  It pays dividends.

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